If you haven’t heard about the game before, Unearthing Mars places you in the role of one of three astronauts who is visiting Mars on an exploratory mission. You get to co-pilot a ship, drive a Mars buggy, and interact with the team’s captain as you explore the terrain with her. The plot quickly unfolds from a simple recon mission to retrieve the fragments a satellite called Phobos to the discovery that Mars was once inhabited.
Check out the trailer below:
Unearthing Mars? More Like Skimming the Surface
The PSVR version of Unearthing Mars was a good, but ultimately superficial experience. It had some really promising elements, like puzzles and great combat scenes, but there just wasn’t enough to the storyline or the gameplay to make it a truly good game. It left me wanting to unearth much more (pun intended), but there wasn’t more to see.
Unearthing Mars has ten levels, some of which are short and don’t involve much interaction from your side, while others are at least 20 minutes long and have you doing some rudimentary puzzles or fighting some aliens. Which were fine things to experience in themselves, but the gameplay felt somewhat confining. The game uses fixed location teleportation with black screens in between – something that I personally dislike because it breaks immersion. The immersion is further broken by the fact that you can’t fully explore the environment as you’d like. Even riding the Mars buggy (which is done in 3rd person) felt like it could have been a lot better.
Another thing I absolutely have to mention is the voice acting. While it wasn’t necessarily that bad, it was poorly done – which is sad for a game that focuses on providing a narrative experience above gameplay. Pair that with relatively low quality in the graphics department, and you’ve got a game that could have been great but ended up being a letdown. However, WinkingVR has said that they have worked on optimizing the visuals for PC as well as adding more to the storyline, so the whole experience might be better for those playing it on Rift or Vive. Unearthing Mars took around 2 hours to complete, but since the studio said that they have added some more content, it might be a smidge longer than the PSVR version.
Since the game went for $14.99 on the PlayStation Store, Unearthing Mars will probably go for the same amount on Steam, with a launch discount during its first week.
Is it worth the buy? Some might say no. But if you’re into VR more for the experience, then you could find Unearthing Mars quite the enjoyable experience. Just strap in and go along for the ride.
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