The Ninjabot

Waking Mars Review

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm by Justin Cavender

Waking Mars is an action adventure that straps players to a jet pack and sends them on a journey through mysterious caves on Mars. The year is 2097 and a robotic explorer has found life on Mars. Our mission is to make first contact with the alien life and find out what happened to the robotic explorer. The mission is compromised when a cave collapses and we must find a way out before we run out of oxygen. Diving deeper into the red planet we discover a host of alien lifeforms, and forever alter the planet’s ecosystem. Did I mention there is gardening involved? Don’t worry, it’s awesome!

Waking Mars 3There are several elements that add to the fun factor in Waking Mars. The jet pack is definitely at the top of my list. It’s something I’ve always wanted and in 2012 I thought for sure we would all have them by now. Our little astronaut gets around pretty quickly and navigation has never been easier. Just remember to cool your jets fly boy, there are hazardous environments all around you. One moment you could be dodging acid that drips from stalactites, or fireballs erupting from lava pools. Constant vigilance is the key to survival when cave diving, especially whilst using a jet pack to move about.

I mentioned gardening earlier and I don’t want that to scare you. Waking Mars has been described by the developers as an “action gardening game” and that is 100% true. As you journey through subterranean Mars you will encounter various types of lifeforms, most of which are plants. You will find barriers preventing further exploration until a certain biomass level has been reached. Simply plant seeds in the fertile ground and watch the ecosystem take shape all around you. It starts off fairly simple with no real hurdles in your way. Eventually, creatures play a part in the ecosystem and a player’s fate can be decided on which seeds you plant. A few creatures give off some serious hungry hippo vibes. Basically, players are cultivating one species to feed another. There are times when your decisions will betray you and those ungrateful plants will eat you alive. Bastards.

Waking Mars 4You are not alone in this adventure. There are a couple of characters that interact with you on a regular basis. Amani is stationed with you on Mars and keeps an open line of communication while you find your way out of the caves. The other member of your team is ART, he’s a computer AI that’s probably powered by Google. ART identifies all life you discover on your journey. He is also quite helpful in identifying hazardous elements and behavior changes within the caves. The voice acting was fine and I was never annoyed by the characters. There are some fun moments of back-and-forth between Liang (you) and ART which are cute and appreciated.

My experience with Waking Mars was a pleasant one. I would certainly recommend you strap a jet pack on and dive right in. The PC version has full controller support which makes movement super easy to master. The game also features amazing sound which totally transported me into this sci-fi adventure. I had a blast exploring the mysteries of Mars and leaving a trail of new life behind me.

Originally released for iOS back in March, Waking Mars made its way onto Steam via Greenlight on December 13th. This review is based on the PC version downloaded and played through on Steam.

Presentation: 8

Gameplay: 8

Replay Value: 8

LEGACY SCORE: 8

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You can follow Justin on Twitter @Edgyarmo.

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