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Deliver Us Mars Review (PS4, PS 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S & PC)

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Deliver Us Mars review

Fresh out of the oven, Deliver Us Mars is finally here. This is the sequel to Deliver Us The Moon, an adventure-puzzler that took the gaming community by storm. If you played the predecessor, you'd remember how the astronauts with the moon's Earth-saving energy beam technology had a last-minute change of heart and flew off to some God-knows-where planet. 

Ten years later, the Earth is faring much worse, with climate change and global warming more prominent than ever. So, when you receive a stress signal from the giant red planet Mars, you cannot help but respond by sending yet another space crew to try out the saving-Earth-from-dying mission one more time. Does it go as planned? Will Mars come to our rescue? Or should humans put their best efforts into saving Earth right from where we stand? Kick back with a cosmic drink and get ready for an out-of-this world (pun intended) adventure in our Deliver Us Mars review!

A Space Adventure, But None Like You’ve Seen Before

Deliver Us Mars Review

We’re all familiar with how humans have been exploring the idea of living on Mars. Just when the Earth is rendered inhabitable thanks to the effects of climate change and global warming, perhaps Mars will become the safe haven we’ll start to call our new home. It’s this very intrigue in space exploration that has spawned an impressive number of space-themed games like the recent Dead Space remake, The Callisto Protocol, and more. 

Despite the influx of space games, Deliver Us Mars dares to stand out from the crowd. So, instead of combat sequences, Deliver Us Mars puts its best foot forward via narration, exploration, and discovery. You won’t find any enemies or weapons for fighting here. Rather, a series of puzzles will be thrown at you, some pretty easy to solve, others quite obtuse, but more on that later.

When Saving Humanity Meets Interpersonal Drama

The story is the glue that holds Deliver Us Mars together. Its intrigue largely comes from how the developer cleverly merges an important mission like saving humanity with the quite engaging interpersonal drama between the characters. 

In Deliver Us Mars, players follow the story of Kathy Johanson, the daughter of one of the rogue astronauts. When the stress signal comes through, a once-in-a-lifetime chance presents itself to retrieve the vital technology that would save the Earth from dying while also finally confronting her father, ten years after they last saw one another.

The Chase Begins

Deliver Us Mars Review

But before she kills two birds with one stone, she runs into a series of puzzles, searches for various collectibles she needs, and encounters more rat chase scenarios that encourage exploration and discovery.

The collectibles refer to holograms, text messages, and notes she finds on planet Mars. These belong to the colonists that occupied this land before her and represent little bits of information she needs to piece together to complete her mission.

It gets more interesting when the clues she finds start to affect her moral judgment. At some point, Kathy even starts to wonder whether her mission is morally “right” or “wrong.” The more she follows that breadcrumb trail, the more she uncovers secrets she wishes she hadn’t. It’s at these points that the mission starts to seem like it’s not going nearly according to plan.

The Humane Side

Unlike Deliver Us The Moon, Deliver Us Mars cleverly leaned on the more vulnerable side of the young, inexperienced astronaut, trying to balance her emotional attachment to the mission with the more logical side of things. 

She wishes she could break free of the more seasoned astronauts with her and go find her missing father. But she constantly fights off the urge, sticking to the mission until the two motives naturally collide. 

Above all, Kathy’s strong voice acting and performance steal the show. And when she finally meets her father, evidently beaten down by mania and desperation, the game hits a home run. 

Puzzles, Away 

deliver us mars

A pretty major part of Deliver Us Mars’ gameplay is puzzle-solving. Don’t worry. These aren’t too tough a nut to crack. Some are actually pretty easy to solve, while others are just too obtuse. 

One of the ways you’ll use the laser attached to your space suit to cut away debris or open locked doors is to solve puzzles. Or, you may need to decrypt others by exploring the area using a flying robot companion called Ayla. 

While the laser-equipped suit starts to fall a little flat onward through the game, switching from Kathy to Ayla is pretty cool because it transitions you from a third-person to a first-person perspective. It’s also a neat way to explore smaller spaces, like hidden vents, or simply scout out different areas.

To make it more engaging, Deliver Us Mars designs its puzzles in such a way that they grow more complex as you proceed. At first, they’ll seem way too easy to solve. With time, they start to become unintuitive and, sometimes, unnecessarily obtuse.

Platforming, Too

deliver us mars review

Kathy spends a good amount of time platforming. Most noteworthy are her climbing axes, which is a pretty rare concept that Deliver Us Mars executes with grace. By positioning her left and right arms correctly and anchoring the pickaxes into place, Kathy is able to scale up rock surfaces, spaceship walls, and cliff faces with ease. It takes some getting used to, and you might fall and die in the first few tries. With time, though, the tactile hook, sink and shuffle soon start to catch on.

Must I Play the First?

Deliver Us Mars is a beautifully executed narrative that doesn’t require you to play its predecessor to catch on. Sure. It’s set 10 years after the events of Deliver Us The Moon. However, this sci-fi adventure is purely grounded in reality, which is enough to grab just about anyone’s attention from the start. I say “anyone” because even players coming in with high expectations from the first game will leave fully satisfied in ways they may not have seen coming. 

Unlike Deliver Us The Moon, Deliver Us Mars takes a more personal, gripping turn that intertwines tight-knit family woes and possible global consequences. Perhaps it’s the all-too-familiar save-the-Earth mission that makes you gravitate more toward the interpersonal drama between the characters. Either way, the interpersonal drama is what will keep you glued to the screen from start to finish. 

So, if you have an understanding of the story from Deliver Us The Moon, you’ll likely understand the crew’s motives in the sequel much better. However, you’ll be happy to know that playing the first game isn’t a completely necessary prerequisite to fully appreciating Deliver Us Mars.

Flaws?

It’s a pretty risky move the way Deliver Us Mars puts all its eggs in one “storytelling” basket. The game has a lot riding on its story, which means it needed to be completely flawless, albeit the ending feels a little lackluster. The puzzles also start to feel alike. Besides the climbing mechanic, all else regarding gameplay falls a little short. 

The visuals are gorgeous, though. They’re bleak for the most part, but that’s the general idea of a dying Earth and an empty red planet. Character models could have used a little more love. For one, the characters’ mouths don’t move while they talk or have any interesting facial expressions, for that matter.

Verdict

It’s no secret that the writing and voice acting exuded by Deliver Us Mars’ characters are exceptional. These truly cement the personal and emotional moments you come across, like the constantly touched-upon themes of past regrets and what “doing the right thing” actually means. 

Additionally, the relatively new “hook, sink and shuffle” tactical platforming concept just steals the show in terms of innovative gameplay. Even Tomb Raider doesn’t do that much when scaling up walls.

The letdown might just be that laser-equipped suit that really doesn’t evolve much. It’s pretty bland compared to the grand-looking space engineering around you. Even the sight lines are drawn out for you. Not to mention Ayla, whose gameplay feels very similar to Ace's in Deliver Us The Moon

Overall, Deliver Us Mars is nothing like the many action space adventures out there. Instead, it offers a gripping narrative that intertwines interpersonal drama with saving the Earth. Even though the “Mars” story is one we’ve heard plenty of times before, Deliver Us Mars feels original in every way. For that reason alone, Deliver Us Mars is a game worth exploring. 

 

Deliver Us Mars Review (PS4, PS 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S & PC)

A Gripping Space Adventure with Interpersonal Drama 

Deliver Us Mars is the sequel to the well-performing sci-fi thriller Deliver Us The Moon. You won’t find weapons, enemies, or any of the action combat sequences in most space-themed games these days. Rather, you’ll find that Deliver Us Mars focuses on storytelling, exploration, and discovery. Escape into the life of young Kathy as she embarks on a mission to save the Earth from dying and find her missing dad, too. Face tough choices as you start to question your intentions and what it means to do the right thing. Solve some way-too-easy puzzles and more difficult ones, climbing rock surfaces, spaceships, and icy cliffs on a mission to save the future. Make sure to grab your copy of Deliver Us Mars for the PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC platforms today.

 

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.