One of the many things I thoroughly enjoy about Virtual Reality is how it can take you anywhere or become anyone all from the comfort in your home. It takes gaming and experiences to levels that I see keep getting better and better. But have you ever thought about going to Mars and what it would be like? What you would have to do in order to survive? But does Developer Future Tech and Publisher Winking Entertainment. show us what it’s like to be able to survive on Mars? Let’s find out with Mars Alive for the PlayStation VR.
When you first start Mars Alive, you are introduced to Intelligent Officer Adam Clark who begins his video log entry from Mars and letting you know when everything should be completed by and how well their systems are working and just really an overall report of what has been happening. You are one of the few who have been selected to go to Mars to help colonize it. But then you can almost feel the internal struggle that is going on with him. It’s almost like his mind might be playing tricks on him. For some reason, the blame is turned, but why? That seems to be the question that hopefully you will discover the answer to.
But before you begin on the survival, please understand that I will not give a lot of secrets away as discovery is part of what makes Mars Alive what it is. With that said, let’s continue. Mars Alive is made up of different elements that include adventure, exploration, survival, and narrative components and is played with the DualShock 4 controller. I do wish there was an option for the Move controllers and I will talk about this in a few. When you first see Mars, you do get a sense of being alone. Just you, Mars, and the Hab in front of you. It’s not until you realize that your oxygen is low, that Mars can be a dangerous place and this is not some situation where you get go as far as you would like without some implications.
When you first have contact with another person, it’s almost satisfying, but at the same time, feels distant as the communication is all done through chat. But this is where you also realize that you will have to keep up with your health, water, food, sleep, and oxygen levels. So how do you get more of what you need, you have to search for it…search all over Mars for it. You also might want to pay attention to what Jane says as well as what the missions state. Missions can be as simple as finding copper or iron or a combination of items in order to help accomplish the mission.
In the beginning you will be walking a lot as you pick up the items that will help with your survival. There is a part where Jane (the person you have been communicating with) will tell you about a MMR (Mars Exploration Rover) and how it needs a battery. But in order to get the battery, you have to have a certain amount of the items so it can be printed. Yes, I am talking about 3D printed items which is a pretty cool concept that is used here in Mars Alive. But it’s understanding the inventory system that may help you the most. Your backpack only has so many slots (until you upgrade) that can hold so many items. If you need to combine items, you have to make sure you have a free slot available in order for your newly 3D printed item to be held. So even if you have 9 pieces of copper and the item requires for example 3 pieces of copper, you have to get rid of the other 6 pieces, even though it seems to be lumped together. Luckily, there is a storage unit in the Hab for you to store your items to clear up space along with a bed when you become exhausted. Just don’t forget to add your oxygen tanks and water that you stored before heading out or it could be a very sad time for you on Mars.
And as much fun as walking is and hearing each foot steps to make you wonder if you made the right decision to help colonize Mars, it’s when you get to drive around that I had some fun. But, not only do you still have to worry about all your levels of oxygen, food, water, and health, you also have to worry about your battery level in your rover. And yes, just like in real life, if you run out of gas, here, if you run out of battery power, it can be a lonely time as you will need to think about what you have done, just don’t also be in a presentiment where you are running out of oxygen and do not have any more in your backpack and it’s night time.
Earlier I mentioned how I wish there was an option for Move controllers and I wanted to discuss that now. Parts in Mars Alive, you will be mining and when you start to mine, you will see your arms almost be separated from you as the mining is an automatic action. When you go to open doors, the automatic motion goes into play, which works, but I would have liked to do the mining or reaching down to pick up the objects or even opening the doors. I can understand the driving part, but even then, assigning buttons or even using the motion controls to control the driving would be nice to have. Again, the way the DualShock 4 controller is implemented, works well, for me, I would just to have the options available. I am sure this can be added in with an update. I would also like to see different turning options made available. For me, the click turning I got used to very early on, but having options is always a good things.
I do like how the night and day play out over Mars Alive. When it starts to become night and the light from your helmet shines in the distance, there were times I was just expecting something to crawl or move, but having just yourself out in this open world and trying to survive the world that is being thrown at you and trying and at times praying that your crops will thrive so that you can produce different foods and not having to rely on energy bars and water alone, you also want to make sure to be able to thrive and continue to believe that you will not run out of oxygen, water or food and die a painful slow agonizing death, can actually be more scarier than some alien creatures trying to get you.
Mars Alive does offer a lot if you have the time to dedicate to it. From the open world exploration with many things to explore, the narrative experience, multiple endings, the upgrades of your vehicle and yourself as well as facing and surviving what Mars throws at you. As in life, we may not be ready for what life may have in store for us and based on the choices we make, those choices can help upgrade our own situations in life and can learn a lot from it if you put the work and time into it.
Mars Alive is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Future Tech, please visit their site. To learn more about Winking Entertainment, please make sure you visit their site and make sure to like them on Facebook and to follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see what more I can discover.