2022 has proven to be one hell of a year for gamers. While the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic can still be felt across the industry, fans have gotten to experience some really great games this year such as the likes of Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring among a slew of others. While the coming couple of months is shaping up to be a dry spell for AAA releases, we still have so many great games to look forward to with the like God of War: Ragnarok, Starfield, and many more.
However, amongst this barrage of high-profile releases – there are many promising indie and AA games as well that could end up being the surprise heavy-hitters for the year. In this feature series, we’ve talked about many such games like The Quarry, Stray, and of course – Deliver Us Mars. The latter of these is an especially interesting title, and one with the ability to surpass expectations and end up being bigger than anyone may have anticipated.
Currently in development at KeokeN Interactive, Deliver Us Mars is a sequel to 2020’s Deliver Us The Moon – a highly atmospheric adventure about the colonization of space. While not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, Deliver Us The Moon excelled in certain aspects such as the story and its atmosphere. And while it did fumble in the gameplay department with its repetitive and shallow gameplay, Deliver Us The Moon was a great showcase for the deep love and passion KeokeN has for the galaxies far beyond our planet.
To that effect, Deliver Us Mars is shaping up to be a sequel that firmly builds upon the foundations of the original while introducing fresh new ideas to keep the game interesting for both new and long-time fans alike. Set 10 years after the Fortuna mission, the game takes place at a time when humanity is about to get extinct thanks to a widespread shortage of resources. The last shot at the survival of our race is the ARK colony ships, which have been stolen by a mysterious entity by the name of Outward. Players take on the shoes of Kathy Johannson, the youngest member of the Zephyrus space crew – who has been sent on a high-stakes mission to recover these ARK ships from Outward as she investigates a distress call from the surface of the Red Planet of Mars.
The story setup seems to be largely the same as Deliver Us The Moon, with loneliness being a central theme of the narrative. That said, players will have a sentient drone companion by their side – aiding them in their adventures across Mars in a variety of different ways. If the first game in the franchise is anything to go by, Deliver Us Mars will also feature quality writing and well-realized characters; so fans wanting a story-rich experience should be in for a treat. And while it’s unconfirmed at the moment, Deliver Us Mars could offer additional narrative breadcrumbs for those well-versed with the story and characters of the first game as well.
Now coming on to the gameplay side of things. Deliver Us Mars, much like its predecessor, is a game that’s built around the central idea of being isolated in an unlikely place. As such, it’s more about taking your surroundings and playing on your fear of the unknown than shooting aliens in the face with guns and what have you. That said, Deliver Us Mars isn’t a psychological horror even though its desolate levels may suggest such. KeokeN’s upcoming title is all about exploring the vast planet in search of answers and directions on where to find the missing ARK ships.
Deliver Us Mars will see players walking through a variety of different environments, such as space stations and other sites as you scour the environments for clues and items that are needed to progress through the level. At times, you will come across brain-tickling puzzles – which will most likely require assistance from your drone companion. Deliver Us The Moon fumbled with this aspect of the experience as it kept hammering on the same obstacles with the same solutions over and over again, and while we don’t know for sure – we are hoping that KeokeN would have made some efforts to remedy those criticisms with the sequel.
Of course, there’s backing evidence to that statement as well – with Deliver Us Mars adding the ability to scale certain sections of the terrain through the use of pick axes. While not a game-changing mechanic by any means, this could hint toward more parkour-oriented puzzles which should help keep the gameplay more interesting than before. Players will also be able to roam around the planet’s environments in their Rover vehicles as well. Furthermore, the game will also include sequences such as scuba diving and launching spaceships among others to shake up any monotony that players may encounter during their time with the game. If KeokeN manages to balance these aspects around well, Deliver Us Mars could end up being a great experience with a fair bit of variety in its moment-to-moment gameplay.
And now let’s talk about the presentation. KeokeN absolutely knocked it out of the park when it comes to the atmosphere in Deliver Us The Moon, with a visual tone and surrounding aesthetics clearly showcasing the love that the studio has for outer space. Unsurprisingly, Deliver Us Mars is set to deliver these goods once again. Deliver Us Mars seems to have a great attention to detail, along with superb texture work on the terrain as well as materials such as the astronaut suit. What’s rather surprising is that KeokeN is able to achieve such stunning results even without upgrading its production pipeline to Unreal Engine 5. Even so, the environments look fantastic, although we don’t know how varied the game’s many locales will be. On the auditory side of things, Deliver Us The Moon is also set to feature an extensive and suspense-fueled soundtrack from composer Sander Van Zanten, which should hopefully – add a ton of character to the game as well.
So, Deliver Us Mars seems to be set up for success, and that can be attributed to the developer’s understanding of what made the first game click in the first place. KeokeN seems to have made the needed changes to make the game appealing to both newcomers and returning fans of the franchise, all while retaining the distinct identity of the experience. And it’s all presented with remarkable attention to detail. Briefly looking over to the commercial side of things, Deliver Us Mars being the second entry in a decently well-known IP lends some much-needed credence to the developer. Furthermore, the fact that the game is being released on both current-gen and last-gen platforms also bodes very well for the potential sales figures. Deliver Us Mars is set to release on September 27, and we are hoping with crossed fingers that this sequel ends up being all that we expect and then some more.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.