In the year 2049, all the water on Earth has been depleted. The nearest source of the good stuff is our friendly neighborhood Mars. So... let's go get it, shall we? Mars Commando is a defense game that emphasizes unit placement and strategy over swarms of soldiers, allowing you to earn the satisfaction of eradicating thousands of aliens with half a dozen of your own troops.
Wave, recruit, wave, recruit. That's the pattern you'll fall into once Mars Commando begins. Each stage features a dozen or so waves of aliens, marching in from the right like there's a sale on gigantic contact lenses. The only thing between your home base and them are a few rocks, your soldiers, and some barricades, the latter two of which you have to pay for and deploy yourself. Click one of the four units, then click "recruit" to pay and add them to your roster. Drag them on the map to set them in the best position, watching where their line of fire sits so you can get maximum coverage. Repeat until your team is full (or until you're out of cash), then head over to purchase barricades, explosives, or add-ons that offer temporary boosts. Afterwards, let the wave begin!
While the aliens are marching, you get to control the little roving droid that can do two things: heal friendly units and shoot enemies. You can switch modes between waves, pumping up the healing or damaging capabilities by sacrificing the other. You can also use one of several special abilities like the beam shot that heavily damages a small group of aliens or the health pack that restores your team's hit points.
Analysis: Mars Commando is thick with strategy, but it's the kind of strategy casual players will easily wrap their heads around. Peruse the manual before you begin to get a feel for the menus, it helps to orient you before jumping into the fray. Then, learn how and where to place units to maximize their effectiveness, concentrating weapons fire according to where aliens clump together in each respective wave. There's little room for error, but if you survive, you'll likely thrive.
Aside from its moderately steep learning curve and higher than normal difficulty, there's very little not to like about Mars Commando. There's not a huge variety of units or items to play around with, which is good or bad depending on your preferences (we think it's good). The progression is also a little slow, doling out new items only after you survive groups of a dozen or so waves. It adds a nice sense of accomplishment, but it also makes later waves in some stages a bit dull if you've got a smart set-up going.
Simple but challenging and with a strong focus on building basic strategies. Mars Commando is a smart defense game that will quietly invite your inner general to come out and kick some native alien tail!