HomeScienceOuter SpaceDeliver us Mars Preview: Red Planet Exploration

Deliver us Mars Preview: Red Planet Exploration

Deliver Us Mars is a survival adventure game where you play as Kathy Johanson, an astronaut-in-training sent on a mission to retrieve vital technology from Mars. A standalone sequel to Get us the moon, takes place ten years after the Fortuna mission. Earth receives a distress call from Mars and must go into space to recover the ARK ships and their technology, without which humanity is doomed to extinction.


The game plays similarly to others in this genre, including exploration, survival elements, and puzzles, all wrapped around a story uncovering some bizarre and unexpected happenings in the colony. You’ll need to proceed with caution as you explore the desolate planet Mars, trying to figure out exactly what caused the distress call. You must unravel the story to discover the location of the ARK colony ships and their technology and return them to Earth.

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The hands-on demo I played as part of a Frontier Foundry showcase got me into the story not far from the beginning, following a slightly different part of the game than the Gamescom preview. Kathy is alone and begins to explore the remains of the colony in search of answers. This part of the game allowed me to experience some of the more unique mechanics and started putting the threads of the story together.

The story plays a big part in Deliver Us Mars and this becomes clear from the start as Kathy’s ulterior motives for taking on this mission become apparent. It turns out that her father was one of the colonists on Mars and she has many questions about what happened to him and the colony itself. The information is usually conveyed via holographic recordings scattered around the area and soon reveals few answers and even more questions.

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These shots are like pieces of a puzzle, and you have to put them together and fill in the gaps to find out what happened. This way of conveying information feels easier to follow than things like videos hidden on computers because of the way the holograms are displayed as easy-to-recognize icons. They are shown in key locations and you cannot miss them. This means you don’t wonder if you missed vital information in an email three rooms back that would have helped you right now.

As you explore, there are several mechanisms to make the process feel more hands-on and realistic. You have to crouch, climb and jump, and climb different walls with picks. As you progress, there are a number of environmental hazards to overcome, and sometimes quick responses are needed. You can try again if you fail, which I did, an embarrassing amount, but you have to overcome every hurdle to keep going.

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Much of the exploration reminded me of climbing through rickety planes and climbing mountains in recent Tomb Raider titles. The familiar feeling of panic is evoked when you scramble over the remains of a ship, hoping the floor will hold. You also get that same stomach through the floor at times when that is not the case and a choice has to be made in a fraction of a second. It’s also not too predictable. While the places to climb are obvious, it was mostly a surprise to know when the floor will and won’t hold. Despite these parallels, Deliver Us Mars has another trick up its sleeve that sets it apart: a drone.

Kathy is accompanied by a drone that is vital to the success of the mission. You can take full control of this robot sidekick and use it to access vents, press buttons and move items. To solve the puzzles, you must use not only your own skills, but also those of the drone.

Deliver us Mars Kathy climbs with drone next to her

The mission I played showed a promising balance of story, puzzles, and exploration, though there was no combat. So far it’s unclear if there’s a threat we’ll encounter, and what form it will take, but the tension is palpable. The abandoned and half-destroyed locations are eerie enough to make you feel like danger lurks around every corner, even when there’s no evidence of any other life forms around.

The atmosphere is effectively built and the music helps to build and maintain the tension, also heightening the sense of danger when you have to traverse difficult areas. Despite being very early in the game, it caught my attention enough that I desperately need to see the solution to Kathy’s story. The details revealed are sketchy enough that I can’t form a good picture, but intriguing enough to make me want to.

In terms of difficulty, it felt balanced. For someone smarter than me – and with good reflexes – aspects of it might feel too easy, but I thought it was well pitched. I struggled in a number of areas but was able to overcome the challenges with a little practice and time. My only real complaint was that a few of the puzzles were a bit difficult as I struggled to see the color differences in some of the beams that indicated if the power was too low, too high, or just right. This is a very minor thing though and I’ve been playing a beta so there’s still a chance things will change.

Overall, Deliver Us Mars was a positive experience that left me looking forward to more of the game when it releases on February 2, 2023 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and Epic Games Store.

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