After gripping sci-fi enthusiasts in with Deliver us the Moon in 2019, developer KeokeN Interactive are back again with a new galactic journey that this time takes players to the Red Planet. Deliver us Mars follows on from its predecessor with both its narrative-driven focus and puzzling gameplay, with the new territory you explore making for an engaging setting for the riveting (and, at times, deadly) adventure.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Deliver us Mars sees players taking on the role of young astronaut Kathy Johanson as she embarks on a mission to Mars with a trio of companions onboard the Zephyr, with the goal being to investigate a strange distress signal coming from the planet that could lead to a group of special life-saving ships that had previously been stolen from Earth. There’s a catch though, and it’s a juicy one: Kathy’s father was a member of the group that initially stole those ships, so the mission is a bit more personal for her. It’s up to you to venture to Mars, survive its hazards, and ultimately find out more about the fate of those that arrived there, including your father…

It’s worth noting immediately that the game follows on from Deliver us the Moon, so there will be plenty of narrative details that players might miss out on if they haven’t played through the prequel. A lot of these are minor details, sure, but if you want to learn more about the dire situation Earth finds itself in and what led up to the events of Deliver us Mars, I’d probably recommend playing through it first. Is it essential? No, but it’ll flesh out the overall experience for players.

That being said, there’s plenty to enjoy about Kathy’s plight as a stand-alone adventure too, with both the over-arching mission and her relationship with her father fully fleshed out to keep players invested in the narrative. Storytelling is emphasised throughout with plenty of player interactions and observations, whilst those looking for a bit more detail will appreciate the recordings and logs you can uncover that expand the lore further. Enough context is given that new players won’t feel completely out of the loop, so if you’re going in fresh, you won’t be left completely baffled as to what is going on throughout all of the intriguing sci-fi drama.

“There are plenty of instances where you’ll investigate more enclosed spaces within what remains of the colony, but exploration really is at its best when you can see the beautiful and alluring vistas of the planet itself.”

There’s a big emphasis placed on exploration in Deliver us Mars, with Kathy able to navigate its treacherous yet luscious surroundings on-foot or by climbing around using her pickaxes. There are plenty of instances where you’ll investigate more enclosed spaces within what remains of the colony, but exploration really is at its best when you can see the beautiful and alluring vistas of the planet itself. Kathy feels good to control thanks to the intuitive control scheme and the freedom given when using her pickaxes, and, a few small mishaps aside, it was rare that navigation ever felt hindersome. With plenty to see and explore within Mars, it becomes a real treat to uncover, even if some segments were a little bit more linear than I would have liked.

On the other hand, the puzzling of the game was a bit of a mixed bag. It’s not that anything ever feels bad, but the lack of variety and ingenuity in their design could make them feel a bit repetitive after you’ve solved them the first few times. A lot of the same ideas get recycled as you progress, and whilst more intricate mechanics are introduced to spice them up, the added complexity could make them feel more frustrating to solve.

There are no instances of combat in the game, but there are still plenty of dangers to be found that can cost you your life if you’re not careful. The vast majority of these are environmental hazards, whether it’s something deadly you have to navigate past or by simply falling to your doom, but there will also be instances where you can run out of oxygen. The latter is something I’m never a fan of in games, and whilst it makes sense contextually here, I still dreaded moments where I had to keep an eye on my oxygen; maybe it’s PTSD from all those traumatising deaths as Sonic the Hedgehog in water levels when I was younger? Either way, there’s plenty of things that’ll cause you harm in the game so there are some stakes at play, even IF it isn’t because of nasty aliens or anything.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It’s not perfect then, but I still had a really good time playing Deliver us Mars – I loved exploring every nook and cranny that I could, whilst the story beats kept me fully invested right until the credits rolled. There were some little flaws that stood out though, with the occasional graphical and technical issue popping up. There was one occasion where I couldn’t seem to interact with an object (a quick re-load fixed this), whilst there were other times where the in-game lighting could look a little odd or a texture might flicker in and out of view. It could be argued that it didn’t feel quite as atmospheric as its predecessor too (I LOVED being on the Moon), though at the same time the more fleshed out setting and storytelling found here makes up for it… that’s something that’ll boil down to personal preference more than anything, though.

Deliver us Mars Review

Deliver us Mars offers a gripping adventure across the Red Planet that’ll keep players hooked in thanks to its intriguing storytelling and beautiful setting. It’s clear that a lot more effort was made to make the story more engaging this time around thanks to its mixture of high-stakes exploration and Kathy’s personal issues with her father, whilst discovering the sights of both Mars and what remained of the colony always felt exciting.

There are a few issues here and there, with some of the puzzling proving a little dull and some technical hiccups rearing their head, but they don’t deter from what is otherwise an enjoyable experience. Whilst I will admit I preferred the Moon setting from the previous game, Deliver us Mars still manages to trumps its predecessor in just about every other way.

Developer: KeokeN Interactive
Publisher: Frontier Foundry
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One