Tiger Style, unique among iOS developers, has brought an excellent game to the table by the name of Waking Mars. With a snappy soundtrack and fantastic visuals, this exploration game features fully voiced characters and high quality digitally-painted environments. The game revolves around the exploration and ecological stimulation of the red planet. From a fixed side scrolling perspective, you explore winding caverns fraught with danger as you map out areas and plant new life on the barren world. Your multinational team will lead you through this new world’s perils, which see fit to come after you from every angle.
If you’ve ever wanted the chance to explore a new world, this game is for you. There are no aliens to shoot like most science fiction games, and the experience is much akin to peaceful exploration of a planet that would be quite at home in Star Trek. Your character and team are focused on science, not conquest, and their goals offer a refreshing change of pace from shooting Necromorphs in Dead Space. Similarly, there are no rival humans to challenge you, preventing the game from turning into a two dimensional version of Borderlands.
Certainly, Waking Mars is beyond the compare of most science fiction games on the market. Your gun doesn’t shoot bullets but rather launches seeds and water, keeping your goals focused on your original mission while still allowing you the freedom to explore the unusual and fascinating terrain.
Movement in the game is simple. Your character moves through use of a jet pack, allowing you to jump, hover, and essentially fly. As mentioned earlier, hazards are not the typical monsters and hostile humans, but rather environmental in nature. Regardless of how peaceful a game may be, a rock falling on your character’s head is always unwelcome.
Unfortunately, there is no free version of the game to try before you buy. The price is $4.99 and thankfully has no pay-to-win aspects, but a demo version would certainly be welcome. However for this humble price tag, there are three rewarding endings to attain. The dialog is interesting and, at times, quite humorous. Your companion AI speaks in a similar vein to Claptrap from Borderlands or TARS from the movie Interstellar.
All in all, the game is an interesting experience. Exploration is fun, the environments are worth exploring, and it presents its story without too much hand-holding or overly long cutscenes. If you miss the exploration of Metroid but enjoyed the hazardous but not combative atmosphere of Portal, definitely take a look at Waking Mars.