A view of Mars from a spaceship cockpit, in Deliver Us Mars.

Deliver Us Mars Reviews

Deliver Us Mars Reviews

need to know

what is it? The follow-up to the sci-fi interactive series that sent us to the moon.

Expect to pay: £24.99 / $29.99

Developer: KeokeN Interactive

Publisher: Frontier Foundry

commented on: i7 9700K, RTX 2080 TI, 16GB RAM, Windows 10

multiplayer game? No

Association: Official Website(opens in a new tab)

To paraphrase Philip Larkin: They messed you up, your mom and dad. Deliver Us Mars protagonist Casey exemplifies this cliché more than most, watching her father disappear into space to save a rapidly fading planet without her, only to never actually get around to saving the dying planet. Trapped in an overheated home full of panicked residents, Casey turns her childhood passion for space into an obsession with becoming an astronaut. The goal, you suspect, is to one day be reunited with your dad and finally ask him, “What the hell is going on, buddy?”

It’s these two parallel stories that form the beating heart of KeokeN’s 2018 sequel to Send Us to the Moon. A galaxy-sized sci-fi story where an entire planet faces imminent doom, and the tensions of a dysfunctional family are amplified. It might not always be amazing on a technical level. In fact, even if you’ve only recently thawed out after going into cryo-sleep in 2017, you’ll see Unreal Engine produce jazzier visuals than this. But like an indie stage production that makes clever use of small prop cabinets, The Martian always moves forward at such a pace that you rarely notice all the strings of lights and prayers tying it together.

(Image credit: KeokeN Interactive)(opens in a new tab)

While this is a direct sequel, this time the narrative stands on its own and takes on a different voice. You’re experiencing it all through Casey, a relatively subdued protagonist voiced brilliantly by Ellis Chapelle. She’s not wagging eyebrows and chewing scenery in every cutscene, but she’s not the silent first-person no-one you occupied in the last game, either. Unlike most of the central characters I’ve played, she always downplays big moments, internalizes trauma, and leaks emotion in tiny micro-movements instead of rants.

So is her father Isaac, played in convincingly repressive fashion by Neil Newborn. Maybe that’s why family dramas work so well here – no one just comes out and tells each other how they feel. They lie that everything is fine so as not to hurt each other, because they don’t want to make a scene, even if the fate of the planet is at stake. For a Dutch studio, it’s definitely British.

But when you watch the show, you do get a lot of the subtleties of the actors’ performances as they play out on slightly sluggish character models. It tells a grand story on a limited budget, and the unbelievable faces seem to be one of the consequences.

(Image source: KeokeN Interactive)

growing pains

In the prologue to Kathy’s childhood, some of her most poignant memories and idyllic moments turn to tragedy as time passes and you all grow up. As a qualified astronaut who passed all the exams, you finally have the opportunity to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and find the Ark colony ship that your father and his fellow Outward scientist rebels piloted years ago. Together with sister Claire and a group of intrepid spacemen, you escape the familiar and eventually find yourself on the barren surface of the Red Planet.

For the first few hours there, I was completely hooked. Not only does it largely avoid clichés — not an easy task when you’re telling a sci-fi story about a mad scientist playing God and an Earth-apocalyptic scenario — it keeps changing the format to fit the story. best form. Now you’re in third person, platforming around a massive facility in Cape Canaveral. You’ll then operate the controls of the space shuttle as it lifts off the surface of Earth from a first-person perspective. Oh, and now there’s an ice ax climbing area, isn’t it? Well done, I still have some muscle memory from Tomb Raider.

It’s pretty much the same as Quantic Dream’s brand of interactive storytelling, with one key difference: it’s never just a QTE standing between you and the next instruction. The interactions may not be very deep or particularly well-polished, but they do always feel contextual and tailored to the game’s premise. Even if that means two hours, you’re still not sure what game you’re playing.

(Image source: KeokeN Interactive)

It turns out that, in mechanical terms, Save Us Mars ultimately boils down to third-person platforming, bizarre ice ax climbs, energy beam puzzles, driving robots through tight spaces, and — my personal favorite — Laser break down combinations of things in first person. Once you understand each of these concepts, subsequent chapters find new ways to combine them into large fixtures and scale them up. Early on, you’re laser-clearing some debris in Cape Canaveral that’s blocking the energy beam’s path. An hour later, you’re outside a spaceship repairing it by removing debris that pierced one of its thrusters. Going deeper, you’re opening the shell of an energy beam emitter in a giant multi-beam puzzle that takes half an hour of head-scratching and prism refraction to figure out.

That’s a lot of variety for a game focused on storytelling, and all of these modes do a good job of giving the story a theme – Casey acts like an astronaut on a spaceship and an alien planet behaves the same. About halfway through the nine chapters though, I found myself with a definite mechanical preference, and whenever I was asked to choose my way along another climbing wall or to aim more beams into place, I felt something level of boredom.

Neither are well implemented. In fact, it’s Assetto Corsa Competizione compared to how you climb in Tomb Raider. When you’re on the wall, you have full mobility and the ability to smash your ice ax into any inch of the climbable surface. For Kathy, there is no switching from one fixed animation to another.

(Image source: KeokeN Interactive)

good projector

Energy beam aiming isn’t particularly flawed either. The complexity of the puzzles increases at a precisely measured pace, and aside from a few refracting prisms and wobbly feet, everything feels solid and physically believable. It’s just that the benefits don’t scale with complexity. Whether you’re moving two beams into place in a simple arrangement, or drawing a giant wireframe of electricity, you’re almost always just opening a door to the next area or starting an elevator.

Laser cutting doesn’t add to the payoff either, but that’s fine because I find laser cutting inherently very satisfying. Honestly, this game could be nine hours long, channeling white-hot energy through soft metal, and I’m already appeased. Your travel expenses may change.

But recalling the Quantic comparison, you don’t like Detroit because of how precisely it makes you press X. It’s all about the context of your actions, and the broader context here is what keeps me engaged even after less enjoyable mechanics start to appear more often and the limits of production value are articulated in a definite way Know.

(Image source: KeokeN Interactive)

If we’re talking about pure plot, a lot happens in a relatively short period of time. You grow up with Kathy and watch her fascination with underwater diving evolve into a different kind of otherworldly exploration. You live through the same life events over and over again, like flashbacks, each time painting a different picture based on what you know about what happened. Then there’s the actual quest to track down the Outwards, learn about their quests and explore their work, guiding yourself closer to where you hope to be reunited with your father. A developing sibling relationship with sister Claire, a mixture of tense rivalry and tender affection, creates a different kind of tension between you and your older, more experienced mission partner. A whole bunch of plot points, many of which land in emotional ways.

The battle for your attention and enjoyment, then, is between a good story full of subtle and poignant moments, and technical standards that sometimes do threaten to pull you out of the experience. It’s not just the dead faces that are awkward, sometimes the environment is too.There are moments of visual spectacle when camera angles, texture work, and lighting all line up exactly For a few seconds, there are places that feel like cardboard cutout movie sets, with no life happening beyond the horizon. Early on, when you follow your sister into a government facility on Earth, you find yourself approaching a strange little building from a surprisingly quiet courtyard surrounded by only one or two stationary NPCs. No matter how much you want to invest in eavesdropping on your sister’s thoughts, it’s hard to shake off the “it’s a game” message your brain is receiving from the scene.

(Image source: KeokeN Interactive)

Still, I have no doubt that these production blunders are just a by-product of telling a far-reaching story on a modest budget, though, and I’m interested to see what kind of story KeokeN can tell in a better way (and with fewer resources ice ax climbing). It won’t be the 15th beam puzzle, or even the laser cutting I remember from The Martian, but its brilliantly understated protagonist and the unusual human family drama she finds herself in. At the end of the day, this is a game about home. A home planet that Cassie longed to leave, a new home built by her distant father on the extremely desolate Mars, a home she could never go back to – childhood memories constantly sting and torment her. For anyone who cares about a story-driven single-player game, it’s a journey worth taking despite the technical introduction.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.