The glitch that shut down Curiosity in July was thankfully a temporary issue, else NASA would have mourned its loss rather than celebrating the rover’s fourth year on Mars by releasing a game. It’s simply called Mars Rover, and it’s probably your only chance to pilot Curiosity. Mars Rover has a pretty straightforward gameplay — you just have to press arrow keys to drive the vehicle and find underground pockets of water — but it’s harder than it seems. The virtual rover’s wheels crack and break if they slam hard against rocks or heels, and when they do, it’s game over.
NASA derived these mechanics from Curiosity’s actual mission and experiences on Mars. The rover has been looking for water and signs of life, and the planet’s rocks have been chipping away at its wheels. Unlike its game counterpart, though, the real rover has missions other than finding water: its current task is drilling into a rock called “Marimba” to obtain samples for analysis. If you want a shot at driving a space vehicle, you can either load the game right on your desktop or download the Gamee app on iOS or Android.