24 days to go until the launch of PlayStation VR! We’re counting down to the release of Sony’s VR headset on October 13th by highlighting one game a day for its anticipated release. Today we’re journeying to the Red Planet for a sci-fi adventure in Unearthing Mars.
Despite multiple movies warning us that it’s either full of alien invaders or evil cloning corporations, everybody wants to go to Mars. That certainly seems to be the case in the VR industry, anyway. There are already a handful of games, both released and coming up, that take us to the Red Planet, while NASA is already taking 360-degree photos of its surface and dreaming of how the tech will be used in the first manned mission to land on it. PlayStation VR isn’t going to be missing out on the fun either, with its upcoming sci-fi adventure, Unearthing Mars, from Winking Entertainment.
Unearthing Mars isn’t like the other interstellar trips we’ve taken in the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. It’s not intended to be a hyper-realistic representation of what life on the planet could be like, but instead an exciting sci-fi ride complete with its own story and characters.
I’ve played just a smidgen of the game, in which you first land on the planet, and it’s enough to get me excited about what else is to come. In this section, I was the co-pilot on an advanced space craft, which struck me as somewhere in the middle between the state of the art technology astronauts use now and the iconic designs that developers and filmmakers have dreamed up for sci-fi games and films over the past few decades. It was a far cry from Mass Effect‘s Normandy, for example, but still felt like a step up from what we see today.
As we drifted toward the mysterious red orb, my co-pilot told me facts about it, suggesting that Unearthing Mars could offer a hint of education to go along with its action and intrigue. Along the way, I was given orders to carry out actions using the panel in front of me using my pair of motion controllers (in this case the Vive wands, though the game is only coming to PS VR for now). Not being familiar with fictional space travel tech, the necessary button or switch would flash when I needed to hit it. There was a lives system that meant failure if I didn’t hit the right note at the right time in three instances, though I never got to see exactly what my punishment would be.
Unearthing Mars ratchets up the tension once we entered orbit, and our systems began to struggle. What at first seemed like a minor issue quickly mounted and we found ourselves hurtling towards the planet’s surface. This made making the right actions much more tense, and the game would also ask me to correctly take readings, though they weren’t especially challenging. In my panic, I did miss one lever – strike one – which brought up the lives on-screen, crossing one out. Not that it mattered; we’d crash a short while later.
The cockpit sequence was fun and something different for VR, which I really appreciated. I would have liked to have seen a bit more challenge to the experience though, perhaps getting me to actually memorize the panel before we started the sequence and then having the hint system as an option to toggle on and off if you were struggling.
It was a brief demo, but I did get to see the transition to the next scene, which had me actually standing in the wreckage of my ship. I asked Winking if the game would have any locomotion and they confirmed that certain levels will have a teleportation system when necessary.
You can also tell from the exclusive screenshots dotted about this article that Unearthing Mars is going to go much deeper than simply sitting and doing as you’re told. We can’t wait to see where this adventure is going to take us.
Unearthing Mars is due for release around Christmas time in all territories. Because where else better to avoid the relatives than on another planet?
50 DAYS OF PS VR COUNTDOWN
- 50: Rez Infinite
- 49: Battlezone
- 48: Volume: Coda
- 47: The Modern Zombie Taxi Co.
- 46: Tumble VR
- 45: The Brookhaven Experiment
- 44: Radial-G
- 43: Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing Mission
- 42: Pool Nation VR
- 41: DriveClub VR
- 40: Golem
- 39: Loading Human
- 38: Tethered
- 37: Megaton Rainfall
- 36: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
- 35: World War Toons
- 34: Eagle Flight
- 33: Classroom Aquatic
- 32: Kismet
- 31: RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
- 30: Statik
- 29: Psychonauts: In The Rhombus Of Ruin
- 28: Star Trek: Bridge Crew
- 27: Windlands
- 26: Wayward Sky
- 25: Job Simulator
- 24: Unearthing Mars
- 23: Bound
- 22: Werewolves Within
- 21: 100FT Robot Golf
- 20: Rise of the Tomb Raider
- 19: HoloBall
- 18: How We Soar
- 17: EVE: Valkyrie
- 16: Gran Turismo: Sport
- 15: Here They Lie
- 14: Thumper
- 13: The Playroom VR
- 12: Proton Pulse
- 11: Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes
- 10: Robinson: The Journey
- Additional titles will be added to this list later.