Unearthing Mars from Winking Skywalker Entertainment is a VR adventure game set on the mysterious Red Planet where as a co-pilot of the retrieval team, you undertake various task including navigating a landing craft through a sandstorm, driving a mars rover, solving puzzles and battle against cryptic alien beings.
Unearthing Mars is a great idea for VR that unfortunately falls short due to some design flaws. The biggest of the flaws is the control. Being a game that uses the move controller, Unearthing Mars will require you to select various dialog options and control settings of the ship. While the premise is great, the execution, on the other hand, is abysmal. For one when you are moving your “hands” around in VR there is noticeable lag at times causing a ghosting effect when you move them around. While this in itself isn’t the main issue with the control, it is something that will take the player out of the experience thus killing the intended immersion of VR. While moving your hands around you will at times be prompted to select dialog options to respond to other characters or scenarios that occur during the course of the game. Again the idea is fine in fact it’s something that is more common with games today but, the execution again falls short of expectations. When trying to select an option that appears on-screen the controls will often pick something different than what you had intended. This issue can pose as a major issue as the game progress because you may have to repeat sections of the game due to dying. Even after adjusting the Playstation camera and changing position I still ran into these issues. Like I said earlier the issues also happen when trying to operate various controls on the ship as well. These glaring issues, unfortunately, make this game borderline unplayable. It can be incredibly frustrating to have to repeat sections of the game because the controls don’t work as they were intended. Before you even get to the gameplay, the game introduces you to the supporting cast by using a long, dull, and emotionless cutscene. The cutscene is almost like a warning for what is to come.
The graphics of this game are not bad but I have seen better. For the most part, the character models and particle effects do capture the player’s attention. They’re realistic and have vibrant colors and the textures are decent too. Playstation VR can give you better, though, for instance, the game Resident Evil 7 which came out not long ago, has far superior graphics. The game does do its job though in keeping the player engaged at what is on-screen.
The sound design isn’t bad, it all fits with what you’re doing perfectly. The music, on the other hand, is often forgettable. Not a single track is memorable. Thankfully though the sound effects of the different tech is more than enough to make up for it. The voice acting is a different story, unfortunately. Everyone involved seemed to be bored with their job, they all deliver their lines with zero emotion. This is most apparent at the start of the game when you are introduced to the ship’s crew. What is arguably the most important and best part of any game, the introduction, is of little use here. It is so vital for a game to capture a player’s attention early on, it is at that point that many gamers will often decide if the game is worth their time or not. To have such a lifeless introduction is almost a shame.
The story is forgettable. During the introduction, you will be tasked with finding a lost satellite. While that is fine, it’s the delivery of how they tell the story that makes it so forgettable. The lack of emotion the characters display make the players feel like there is no real reason to even care about what is happening. Even when things go wrong for the player you never are truly invested in what is happening or who maybe in danger.
If you’re looking for a game that has replayability, pass this title up. Unearthing Mars isn’t worth a single playthrough, let alone multiple. There is no reason why anyone should even look at this title. It has so little to offer. A better VR experience would be Job Simulator or Resident Evil 7.
Unearthing Mars is a game you should stay far away from. There are no redeeming qualities to it what so ever. The voice acting, broken gameplay, and poor delivery of the story make this game not worth anyone’s time. While the game may have had a strong premise or idea the overall execution of the final product leaves a lot to be desired. Unearthing Mars gets a 2/10. Even if they make the title free for Playstation plus members one day it still would not be worth anyones time.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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