Review – Deliver Us Mars

When it was released back in 2019, Deliver Us The Moon was a surprising hit, with a stunning lunar locations to explore and a compelling narrative to uncover. Deliver Us Mars is the long-awaited successor, that promises to tell a much bigger story with a larger cast and take the game to the red planet that lives rent-free in the heads of any science enthusiast.

Deliver Us Mars is set in the near future, with the typical premise revolving around most of Earth’s resources having been depleted. The Earth is dying and desperate missions in space may provide the solution. That is until members of the Ark project abandon Earth and everyone on it to escape to Mars. You play as Kathy, whose father left her behind, who then joins a crew to help find and recover the Arks before it’s too late for everyone else on Earth.

Deliver Us Mars Kate on Mars

Matt Damon wasn’t left alone on Mars this time around.

With a similar story set up to the fantastic Interstellar, I was excited to delve into this one. The characters are likeable, with understandable motivations and reactions to what’s happening, and once you arrive at the first Ark orbiting Mars you quickly realise things haven’t gone as well as intended. This becomes clear when you go down to the planet’s surface to find nothing but abandoned structures, and no signs of life or even death. Just a lot of plaing nothing. It’s a compelling central mystery that deepens as the game goes on, with some great twists.

Gameplay is what you would expect from a narrative exploration game. For the most part, you will be exploring small self-contained environments, picking up on clues and reading text logs to uncover what has happened. Much of this is done in third-person exploration, but when the game switches to first-person it usually leads to some of the best moments. As you float through Zero-G areas, you will be able to switch between the two sections, in moments that prove to be genuinely breathtaking. However, are instances where flashbacks do break up the game’s pacing. Unfortunately, trying to develop these characters more hurt the flow of the game because it wasn’t done organically enough.

Deliver us Mars, does a decent enough job with attempting to mix things up. Climbing is nothing special, Kathy will use her pick-axes each assigned to the trigger to grip onto objects in the environment and move around. It doesn’t feel particularly satisfying and the controls can be awkward. Randomly caused me to fall to my death on multiple occasions but it is still a decent enough attempt to try and mix things up. There are also random rover sections and once again they don’t control particularly well.

Character models are so low-quality that they ended up ruining immersion.

Then there are the puzzles which are a bit of a mixed bag. Not being complicated enough to really challenge the player you will often breeze through them. Mostly consisting of connecting energy streams from one point to another. Once again, this is supposed to be a way to break up the exploration and give you something else to do and it does a decent enough job. The problem is they weren’t very interested in their design. Exploration is where Deliver Us Mars shines the brightest, as you go through these desolate areas, trying to piece things together, with the occasional flashback or hologram cutscenes that reveal more of the story.

Deliver us Mars‘ biggest issue is on the technical side. Often this is just not a good-looking game and that’s a real shame considering how story and character-driven it is. Character models look straight out pulled from a bad PlayStation 2 game. Especially Ryan, who just looks so much worse than the rest of the cast he looks weirdly out of place. Unfortunately, this does spill over to the rest of the game but to a lesser effect. Whilst the environments and level design won’t blow you away with some pretty boring designs; there are some standout visual moments; especially when arriving at the station orbiting Mars. Except for the brief Earth sections that just look ungodly awful.

Sound does pick up on a lot of the slack that the visuals just lack, however. With a solid cast of characters that are pretty well voice-acted, especially Kathy’s father who delivers an exceptional performance from beginning to end. Then the soundtrack which is a lot less noticeable but still pushes through for those epic moments.

Ice Caps

Deliver us Mars also takes us to the ice caps.

It might have a compelling concept, but a good premise just isn’t enough to carry an adventure by itself. The game suffers from really lacklustre visuals and a gameplay loop that just left a lot to be desired by the end of its runtime. A bit disappointing, considering how solid its predecessor was. However, if all you are looking for is an engaging sci-fi story with mysteries to uncover, and you don’t mind dealing with an above recommended amount of jank, then Deliver Us Mars can still be enjoyed.

Graphics: 5.0

In such a character-driven adventure, the rough character models and environments become an immersion-ruining detriment.

Gameplay: 5.5

Unfortunately, not enough engaging mechanics at play this time around.

Sound: 8.0

A solid voice cast carries the rest of the story on its shoulders.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Deliver Us Mars might have a compelling narrative, but it is let down by its weak visuals and overly long gameplay.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Deliver us Mars is available now on PC, Xbox Series, and PS5.

Reviewed on PC with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 5 3600X and 16GB RAM.

A copy of Deliver us Mars was provided by the publisher.