Mars Underground tells the story of Mars who is trapped in March 15, his first day in a new school. This pixel art game was released on 15 March 2019, true to its nature, developed by Moloch Media, but was launched and funded on Kickstarter back in 2016. Mars Underground is another intricately crafted RPG Maker game, following the likes of To the Moon, Rakuen and One Shot.
You start out going through the day normally, seeing how Mars reacts to things happening around him. He wakes up, has breakfast, goes to school, sees a psychiatrist who gives him a prescription, goes home, takes his medication and goes to bed. Just the usual. But then, Mars wakes up. And it’s 15 March all over again. And the cycle repeats.
What’s Going On?
On the surface, this game seems like there’s no direction, like you’re just another character who’s exploring a new town. Amidst all the aimless wandering, you start to realise that there’s more to the game than just that. The more cycles you go through, the more layers are uncovered, and you start to see how truly intricate the story is, the more questions you have. The mix of humour, mystery and thriller makes Mars Underground all the more engaging and entertaining.
When I first started the game, I was confused. There is no tutorial, and I was just wandering around, interacting with everything, trying to figure out how the game is supposed to be played. While I was annoyed at first, as I progressed, I appreciated the lack of direction at the start of the game. It made me feel like I was in the shoes of the main character who was also puzzled by the repeating day, also trying to figure out what was going on.
How Far Can You Go
As I started understanding where Mars Underground was trying to lead me, I started seeing how I could break the boundaries of the game, just to see what would happen. I would be lying if I said that the result of those actions didn’t surprise me, but I’ll save that for you to find. There are so many layers to the game that even what seems like casual dialogue at first carries much more weight than you’d expect.
Much of Mars Underground is spent trying to uncover the different endings of the game, and you don’t need all to finish the game. Thus, even though I completed the game, it felt like there was so much more to unearth and piece together. I take my hats off to how well put together the narrative plot is.
More Than Gameplay
Putting gameplay and in-game mechanics aside, I also really enjoyed the soundtrack. I love the way the soundtrack enhances the slightly eerie and unsettling ambience of Mars Underground. As a player, it provides a more immersive experience.
I also really enjoyed the way the dialogues are written. It makes it feel like the characters have their own personalities and a life of their own, as opposed to just another NPC.
Overall, I really enjoyed the game. The world of Mars Underground is a very intricate and immersive one. It is truly one of a kind. If you’re somebody who loves mysteries and is looking for a slightly unconventional yet somewhat casual game to fill your time with, I would recommend you to give Mars Underground a go. You can find Mars Underground on Steam here.