Test – Bring Us To Mars – Halftone Sequel | XboxOne

The license’s first title, Deliver us the Moon, was released in late 2018 thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. Its first steps on the PC were a bit chaotic, as developers were unable to pursue their ideas due to lack of time and resources. At the beginning of 2020, an enhanced release and an almost successful game are coming to our home consoles.

Building on the success, KeokeN Interactive studio brings us a direct sequel, bringing us Mars. This second installment is an opportunity to explore new frontiers to recover the colony’s ARK ships that have been stolen by a mysterious organization called Outward. So let’s hop aboard the Zephyr to our new destination and find out if this sequel is up to the task.

Last chance mission

Ten years after the moon mission, humanity has never been closer to extinction. Thus, the respite was only short-lived for Earth, which was completely depleted of resources. However, a distress call from Mars offers a glimmer of hope. The ARCHES ships, stolen by the mysterious Outward organization, have finally been found, and their recovery could save humanity, or at least what’s left of it.

A team of four astronauts is given the difficult task of traveling to Mars and returning with the last hope for the human race. Our character, Cathy Johansson, is featured in our quartet due to her engineering talent, but also because of her filial relationship with one of the members of the Foreign organization. In order to preserve the taste, we will not reveal more about the plot of the title here.

However, it should be noted that you don’t need to have played the first part to appreciate its sequel. Useful elements for understanding the story are introduced during the adventure through holographic projections or during dialogues between crew members.

Enhanced gameplay

Deliver Us Mars uses the same game mechanics as its predecessor while completing the catalog. We find our plasma beam and its tremendous effectiveness for cutting through obstacles or forcing hatches. Our ASE companion is once again ready to explore gaps or trigger door opening mechanisms in search of useful objects for our progress. More importantly, he has the power to decipher holographic messages after completing a mini-game that asks him to find the correct reading angle. The environmental puzzles of light beam redirection finally complete the list of known mechanics.

On the new side, our astronaut can now move vertically thanks to two ice axes. Each is individually controlled for better player immersion. Alternating the pressures at LT and RT, we proceed up the climbing routes, bearing in mind that we allow only one stop at a time, if we do not want to meet a tragic end a few meters below. . This mechanism is quite well controlled and refines our intelligence. However, we did get the impression about two-thirds of the way through that the dosage was less balanced, but that’s just a very personal feeling.

Even if these remain anecdotal, travel by vehicle is becoming more common. Rover journeys allow the development team to speed up the story while avoiding player fatigue. However, these stages are limited to progressing through a corridor where it is almost impossible to get from point A to point B. It’s a good idea that maybe should have been explored further, but again, this is just our personal opinion.

The last small innovation, but as we appreciated, it is now possible to choose between the first or third person view during the movement phases in weightlessness. It is very pleasant on certain passages, especially on our ship, where we often get lost due to the lack of high and low markings.

An achievement that is not yet at the level

Despite the support of publisher Frontier Foundry, we see that developers have not yet managed to pass the course on the production side. We find the same weaknesses as when Deliver us the Moon was released. The most obvious is the weight and stiffness of the movements. The animation and modeling of the characters are not really up to our expectations. What is forgivable for a Kickstarter project should not appear for this sequel.

Screen errors are also present. Certain textures, certain objects, and certain shadows appear suddenly without the richness of the environment being able to explain this lack of resources. Even if the game’s overall localization is a good point, the lip-syncing often lags behind. We could even observe the complete absence of movements and facial expressions during the dialogue scene. Even if a patch in a day can remove some flaws, not all of the mentioned vulnerabilities can be fixed.

But a story that saved the furniture

As with Deliver us the Moon, what makes the title stand out is the quality of the writing. Throughout the nine chapters that make up the story, we are left in suspense. The story touches on many aspects and despite the flaws raised, we had no trouble getting caught up. The soundtrack is an important pillar of this construction. Flawless orchestration and quality of sound effects play an important role in the immersion of the player here. We didn’t see the eight hours needed to complete the adventure pass.

Completists will be able to extend their initial life a bit by searching all the collectibles in the game, as they are relatively easy to find here, as they emit a bright aura when they are nearby. To make the task even easier, the chapter selection menu has been enriched with the number of collections to be discovered and sequenced.

Overall, Deliver us Mars is fun and worth checking out. However, its €29.99 price point may be a deterrent for some. Like its predecessor, it runs through Xbox Game Pass, but shouldn’t be missed.

Tested on Xbox Series X (Optimized)

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