Hey everyone, are you ready for a new Android game? Good, because this week’s Android Amusements is covering a recent release. It’s so new, in fact, that it isn’t even available via Google Play or the Amazon App Store. It’s Tiger Style Games’ Android version of Waking Mars, its iOS hit. The game is part of the Humble Bundle for Android 4, so after reading GamerTell’s playtest you can head over and pay whatever you want to get the PC and Android versions of it.
Waking Mars is an artsy platformer. Players follow an astrophysicist named Liang, his contact Amani and an AI named ART, who are tasked with exploring caverns on Mars to investigate the lifeforms found there and learn what happened to 0CT0, the robotic cover that first discovered life exists on Mars in the first place. A cave-in cut off contact with 0CT0, and Waking Mars takes place during the investigation/rescue mission. Players guide Liang through each area of the cavern, hoping to reach 0CT0 and learn more about Mars.
So players help Liang explore every cavern. It’s harder than it sounds, since each one is blocked by some kind of unusual barrier and there are often environmental hazards. Fortunately, these are removed by increasing the BioMass of an area. This is done by cultivating the Mars’ flora. Liang can collect seeds from Martian plants and toss them into fertile soil. Once these grow, they give off BioMass points, remove the barrier and allow Liang to proceed.
There’s something I have to point out about Waking Mars. This is a game where all of the primary (human) characters are people of color. It’s refreshing to see, especially since Liang and Amani both are very capable and intelligent. It’s something you don’t see often, so Tiger Style Games deserves kudos for it.
Waking Mars is also big on details. The character portraits for Liang and Amari are very detailed and the caverns and plants of Mars are appropriately otherworldly. Everything looks gorgeous, especially if you have a high-end tablet that can really make those visuals pop. The soundtrack is also rather nice. The tunes aren’t catchy, but rather provide a rather nice ambiance that feels very futuristic. There’s even full voice acting, which is surprisingly awesome. You don’t expect voice acting at all in an indie app, yet Tiger Style Games has supplied it and it is perfect.
To be honest, I can’t even find anything wrong. The controls even work very well. Players move Liang, complete with jetpack, around the caverns by tapping and swiping the screen. When you need to toss a seed, you tap an icon in the lower right corner to bring up the seed menu, then aim the trajectory of the shot and tap to send it to fertile ground. Granted, I preferred the keyboard control scheme when I played Waking Mars on my computer and wished the Android version’s controls were a bit tighter, but overall it works quite well.
Waking Mars will appear on the Google Play store soon, but right now the only way you can acquire this app is through the Humble Bundle for Android 4. Waking Mars is part of the general bundle, so you can pay whatever you want, even $1, to get it and Eufloria, Splice, Crayon Physics Deluxe and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery for your Android device, as well as for your Windows, Mac or Linux PC.
All in all, I’d highly recommend Waking Mars as a tablet or PC game, so definitely look into grabbing it while it’s part of the Humble Bundle for Android 4. It’s a fantastic deal and a beautiful game.