Jupiter and Mars, by developer Tigertron, is something a little different. It’s out now for Playstation 4, with optional Playstation VR support. We tested the game using Sony’s headset – here’s the report.
With a title like Jupiter & Mars you’d quickly think sci-fi, but the title of the game actually refers to a pair of dolphins and there’s an eco-friendly vibe to the game – which takes place on earth rather than in outer space. There’s still a sci-fi element to the game though, as it takes place in the distant future where earth’s land mass has been covered by water due to global warming (Waterworld style). Mankind has fled the planet, and the action in Jupiter & Mars takes place under water – though familiar manmade landmarks will pop up from time to time.
You primarily control Jupiter, who can enlist Mars’ help at certain times. Your joint mission is to help clean up the oceans again, but before you think “this is going to be pair of dolphins helping with the mission to clean up all the plastic in the oceans”, don’t worry – the eco-friendly theme isn’t laid on that thick.
Instead, you and Mars are trying to take down a series of machines that are affecting life under the sea, and it’s a journey that sets you on a course where you’ll run into famous flooded landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty in New York. Finding your way is partly done through echolocation – which of course brings back memories of the Sega classic Ecco. In Jupiter & Mars, you also use your pulses to set animals free and to tell Mars to clear a path for you.
Gameplay-wise, this isn’t the most involved game you’ll play on your PS4. Enemies are far and few between, there’s a stealth section every now and then, but you’ll spend most of your time tracking down trapped animals and those infernal machines. There’s an almost metroidvania-like element in the game where unlocking new abilities can also grant you access to new paths in previously played levels, but few of these instances are worth it unless you’re a completionist.
The game is well optimized for VR controls, with a few movement options including one that made the game feel a little like Eagle Flight under water. There’s a great sense of scale when you run into a giant whale as well, even though the visuals get downgraded when switching to the VR headset (a downside to any game where VR is optional, but really noticeable here because the graphics are so crisp and colorful on a TV screen).
Jupiter and Mars is a fun underwater experience for Playstation VR – a setting that hasn’t been explored much so far. Because of that, and the good cause that the game supports (through a share of its proceeds and its message), it’s a title worth checking out. It’s not the most involved or captivating game though, so don’t expect to be blown away in that regard.