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79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 5 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

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  • Summary: In 2097, life is discovered on Mars. When your mission of first contact becomes trapped by a cave-in, you must master the alien ecosystem to survive. Soon you stumble upon more than anyone expected, and with time running out, you will make a decision that determines the fate of a lost planet.

    Waking Mars is a one-of-a-kind adventure in which you jetpack through subterranean Mars encountering a host of extraordinary alien lifeforms that operate as a living, breathing ecosystem. Learn and master the behaviors of these creatures to create ecosystems of your own design if you are to survive and discover the secrets of Mars past.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Feb 6, 2013
    90
    A true exemplar of intelligent game design, Waking Mars is a compelling and imaginative masterpiece. An absolute must-play. [Feb 2013, p.74]
  2. Jan 18, 2013
    80
    An original simulator of fictitious ecosystem, based on genuine science, that's been attracting the inner explorer in you, well in fact your inner grower. You will experience all of this in an intelligent and in some places a very impressive mature sci-fi.
  3. Feb 8, 2013
    73
    A calming, likeable adventure with an engaging premise, but Waking Mars’s roots could go a little deeper.
  4. Jan 29, 2013
    70
    If the developers were a bit more creative with the concept, they could have turned the game into a great puzzle in a sandbox-style environment with terraforming and freedom of exploration. Alas, Waking Mars as it is now has neither decent puzzles nor sandbox gameplay, although if you're itching to play a god-sim, this one will do nicely.
  5. Feb 6, 2013
    65
    It worked much better as an iOS game than it does on PC. [CD-Action 02/2013, p.69]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Jun 5, 2013
    10
    Waking Mars is a unique game. It's very diffrent from most games, because instead of killing, shooting, and destroying, your goal is to develop the devestated Martian ecosystem. It does not take long to become immersed, and it becomes difficult to leave the game. I found myself driven to explore, and solve the interesting mysteries that you begin to find. The dialoge is a bit long, but it is very interesting, and I often find myself wishing there were more of it. The characters are very well written, and aren't the sterotypical cast of most games. The most fascinating aspect of the game is that you have to play the scientist, and learn about how the ecosystem interacts. An amazing thing about the development of the game is the effort that the developers went through to make it scientifically accurate. You simply do not find the mumbo-jumble found in other games. The developers spent a lot of effort in this, and it shows. Thus, as long as you immerse yourself (which isn't hard to do), you will love this game. Expand
  2. Jan 13, 2013
    10
    Waking Mars is an absolutely amazing game. This is definitely not an action game; the casual puzzle/platform mechanics simply serve as the driving for the incredible story line. This story line combines with a great soundtrack to create an incredible atmosphere that had me hooked from the start. If you like science fiction and still have an active imagination, I would highly recommend this game. The price tag is nice, too. Expand
  3. Jul 5, 2013
    9
    Similar to Aquaria, but much better. There are a few annoyances though... like the floaty seeds which are a pain to position properly. They could have made it less onerous. Expand
  4. Jun 4, 2013
    7
    Waking Mars is a charming little platformer/adventure game in which you explore a winding cave in the depths of planet Mars. Life in the form of semi-intelligent plants and crustacean-like animals have recently come out of stasis, and you are sent to research them before (minor spoilers) you are trapped by a cave in and must escape.

    Without giving too much away, suffice to say that the story is engaging enough to keep you interested as you plod along through the caverns, in addition to giving to a handful of overarching objectives to complete. The characters range from the mature and inquisitive MC to a plucky information specialist connected to you by radio and a comic relief on-board AI. Dialogue is voiced decently (especially that of the main character) and is accompanied by a handful of well drawn expression photos.

    Speaking of art, the game is very stylized and a pleasure to look at. Backgrounds and the use of perspective are superb, and the plant and animal designs are imaginative. You will run into the odd hiccup with clipping and obvious sprite outlines, but nothing too jarring. In terms of sound, the creatures are unremarkable and the ambiance soundtrack preforms adequately, though it is no Metriod and becomes repetitive near the end (especially when you push for 100% completion in every room).

    Gameplay consists on flying around caverns and tunnels via jetpack while managing your BIOMASS meter and avoiding harmful obstacles. BIOMASS accumulates by planting flora and managing fauna, and is the main focus of the game. Near the each room becomes its own little enclosed ecosystem, with BIOMASS rising and lowering as animals eat the seeds dropped by the plants you've grown, multiply, and in turn feed other plants to grow more seeds. The trick in each room is generally to micromanage a handful of plant life until a certain level of BIOMASS is attained, thereby opening passage to more of the room and waking the animals, after which it becomes mostly about alien breeding and collecting their carcasses for compost.

    The controls simple, with seeds being thrown via mouse and locomotion controlled through the WASD keys. As previously mentioned, your primary method of movement is by jetpack, which is quite possibly the most fun part of the game. The physics are just floaty enough to allow you to preform all the aerial maneuvers needed for navigating narrow tunnels and dodging around character-seeking plant arms. You do get a jetpack upgrade that allows indefinite hovering, but I personally found the original inertia method of flying too much fun to switch out of.

    All told, the game came to just over 9 hours of casual play spread out over the course of a week on the hardest setting, though the difficulty did not seem to make any difference. I cannot see a lot of replayability for the average user but the farming mechanic CAN be addicting, so much so that I might consider revisiting it way down the road. As it is, Waking Mars is a great little indie adventure that at least deserves a look at $10.00 and a define buy for anything less
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  5. Jul 27, 2013
    7
    I was pleasantly surprised by Waking Mars. It is a fun puzzle-platformer that is (obviously) set on Mars. you play the role of a scientist who is searching a labyrinth of caves on Mars for alien life. The story itself is actually decent and the voice actors portray their characters well, I just found Amani and ART (who seems to be a bit too much like Claptrap from the Borderlands series) to be a bit annoying and I sometimes skipped through their dialogue because of that. The gameplay is quite fluid and fun. You get seeds from various Martian plants and use them to increase the "biomass" of each level. Once each level reaches a certain level of biomass, you can advance to the next level. It doesn't sound very fun, but it actually is. The game falters in its graphics and musical score. You'll be staring at bland, orange graphics for pretty much the entire game. There is very little, if any, interesting set pieces or backgrounds. Some people found the soundtrack to be good, but i honestly found it to be quite bland and repetitive. These shortcomings don't completely detract from the overall experience. Waking Mars remains an enjoyable 2D pluzzle-platformer. Expand
  6. Dec 21, 2012
    7
    Great gameplay, medium graphics, extremely annoying dialogs. I stopped playing because of the dialogs, they just won't shut up. The science isn't terribly accurate either, but if you are reading this, you probably graduated from a public school in the usa so you really don't care. Expand
  7. Jul 26, 2013
    1
    Dialogue sucks, story sucks, gameplay like spelunker from NES only MORE BOARING... I found the game had way less effort put into it than the preview for it did.. Its a cheap game and good thing cause I would value it at a dollar or less... Collapse

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