NASA’s mission to Mars may be years away, but you can visit the red planet today with Mars Odyssey.
Indie developer Steel Wool Studios launched this brief new experience on the HTC Vive today. In it, you’re tasked with heading to the surface of the planet from an orbiting space station to make repairs on equipment. The game uses a teleportation system in combination with room scale tracking for locomotion, allowing you to step onto Mars and interact with NASA equipment like Landers and Rovers.
The experience isn’t strictly educational, though it is designed to help you learn more about Mars. To that end, Steel Wool has used exact NASA engineering schematics and locations of the rovers for authenticity. The studio has also utilized NASA’s publicly-available terrain and height map information to create a realistic surface of Mars.
Mars Odyssey has a run time of around 20 minutes, and is on sale at a discounted price of $4.79. It’s full price of $7.99 will appear on September 15th. Don’t think of it as a game, then, so much as an experience similar to Solfar Studios’ EVEREST VR. Are these shorter, more focused experiences the future of VR?
It’s Steel Wool’s first release since HTC itself invested some $5 million in the studio late last month. Earlier in the year the developer also launched Quar: Battle for Gate 18, again for the Vive, which was a strategy game. We’re certainly looking forward to the team’s next game with this funding behind it.
Mars Odyssey is far from the only VR experience that allows you to visit the red planet. Also coming up is Mars 2030, though when we first saw that we decided it might need a little more time in the oven.