Barring a sudden advancement in technology, it appears we'll never learn the mystery behind Mars, the popular red planet that has captured the imaginations of science fiction writers for decades.
At least on the positive side, there's Waking Mars, the newest iOS game from Tiger Style, creators of the critically acclaimed Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. In the game, you control an explorer by the name of Liang, charged with recovering a lost rover.
This involves descending into the largely unexplored Lethe Cavern, where he comes in contact with the Zoa, strange and plant-like life forms that comprise a delicate ecosystem.
What ensues is a Metroid style adventure that sends you on a wondrous journey through treacherous terrain, as you encounter different aliens while at the same bringing Mars to life and reporting your findings to home base, AKA a cutie by the name of Amani, whose transmissions become less frequent the further you progress.
Early on, much of what you'll do involves growing plants, but the game goes much deeper. Over time, you must learn how to keep certain life forms alive at the expense of others using a variety of seedlings, while safely maneuvering Liang through sometimes hostile environments via jetpack, paying close attention to pools of acid and falling rocks.
A helpful map always points in the right direction, while the designers record interesting data on the species Liang encounters for your convenience.
What's more, you'll enjoy over two hours of sci-fi mood music, as well as attractive visuals that transport you millions of light years away.
There's corny dialogue, and you'll probably get stuck several times, but Waking Mars' positives far outweigh its negatives, making it a cool space exploration game to have on the go.
What's Hot: Simple touch controls, deep and rewarding experience, sci-fi mood music, Mars inspired graphics.
What's Not: Cheese ball lines, Amani's stock photos repeat early and often.