From the developers Deep Silver FISHLABS and Spanish developers Tama Games and Mutant Games released comes their first joint project, Stranded – MarsONE.
Despite its cute look and cuddly presentation, the charming-but-challenging pixel fest does not primarily cater towards a casual-gaming audience. Instead, it is located in the mid- to hardcore segment and tailored to committed skill gamers.
Set on Mars, the game centers around a little astronaut’s efforts to find a way back home after his space ship crash-landed on the red planet. However, before he can communicate his whereabouts to a rescue crew, he first has to brave his way through 40 dodgy levels spanning across five differing terrains. A short yet gruesome travel for our tiny astronaut.
Stranded – MarsONE keeps its players hooked with an addictive core gameplay loop, effective one-touch controls, clever level designs and an asynchronous multiplayer mode. Your controls are pretty basic and simple some of which include:
- Tap the screen to jump
- Hold the Red button the left to go under obstacles or land safely from a high jump
- Tap and hold to perform an extended jump
You do have to be careful because occasionally if you jump too close to a ledge you could bounce off in the opposite direction wasting time and precious O2. Oh wait I didn’t tell you that part. There are several ways your astronaut can become seriously hurt (dead). You could fall into the typical endless pit of death, fall from a high ledge and not land properly rolling to safety, or you run out of O2. For the last one the game does offer some relief as there are strategically placed O2 pills around each stage. Why there are O2 pills floating around Mars I have no idea but this is not a time to argue logic and sense, just take it and run.
Now as you play you are also hopefully picking up the random coins around the board. These coins are just pretty shiny things. You can use these to exchange for some extra perks in between each stage in the shop. Examples of things you can get is extra O2 tanks, extra life, etc. The basics to help you succeed in the game.
In terms of presentation, the title wears its retro colors with pride and delights its players with carefully crafted pixel graphics, well-orchestrated sound design and delightfully staged cut scenes. This pixel filled game certainly has some charm to it and the visual backgrounds of each of the stages are very well done with some intense depth to them.
There is certainly a desire to replay through any stages that you don’t achieve a great 3 star rating for. Depending on how fast you run through the stage and how many coins collected you will be ranked on your performance and given a star rating. If you aren’t satisfied that go at it again until you get the results you want.
Here is a snapshot of some of the games key features
- Unique arcade gameplay combining elements of auto-runners & 2D platformers
- Charming pixel graphics with delightful retro appeal
- 40 cleverly designed levels spanning across 5 different terrains
- Lots of power-ups & customization options
- Async multiplayer including ghost races & Facebook friend challenges
- Star-based performance ratings
- Game Center achievements
- Spot-on touch controls
Stranded – MarsONE requires iOS 6 (or higher) and runs on iPhone 4 (and above), iPad 2 (and above) and iPod touch 5G. While iOS gamers can already download the game from the App Store via http://bit.ly/stranded-ios-en for free, Android users will still have to wait a bit. The release of Stranded – MarsONE on Google Play is planned for the near future and will be communicated in a follow-up press release.