Whatever the genre you prefer, videogames are a type of media entertainment that have always here been around for everyone to have fun with. With the advance of technology and the world as we know it, videogames have also been used as way to spread awareness regarding several issues in our society, such as bullying, diseases and illnesses, child abuse, among other sensitive issues. To give a few examples, This War of Mine addresses the consequences of war on both adults and children, Town of Light focuses on mental illnesses and rape, and Papo & Yo puts the spotlight on child abuse. Jupiter & Mars is an adventure game that tries to spread awareness on two huge problems that will certainly be around many generations: climate change and plastic pollution.
Jupiter & Mars is set in a fantastic, futuristic, neon world where almost everything is underwater and humanity is long gone. The game follows the exploits of two bottlenose dolphins—Jupiter and Mars—who travel this post-mankind world in order to shut down the still-active machines of mankind, which are making the oceans uninhabitable for sea life. Even though it takes place underwater, Jupiter & Mars plays similar to titles in the walking simulator genre, where the joy of the experience is all about exploring and understanding the story of the world around you, along with a few simple puzzles thrown into the mix.
Players will experience this adventure through the eyes of Jupiter, while Mars swims by the player’s side at all times. Although your main objective is to shut down the machines that mankind left behind, you can also explore the environments around you to find collectables, and free trapped creatured like turtles and sharks. However, I felt like this aspect was a missed opportunity from the developer, as other than getting some trophies, the game offers no real incentive to explore in order to find collectables or save these marine species. With the game’s focus on climate change and pollution, the developer should have added a few videos and/or reports showing examples of the consequences of mankind’s actions regarding this sensitive subject as rewards for finding collectables and saving sea creatures.
Each environment you visit is usually quite large with several paths and hidden passages to explore. To make things easier, you can use the echolocation ability to highlight important objects, sea creatures, and hidden paths. As you explore, you also run into several menaces that you must avoid in order to proceed. For example, jellyfish will often block your path, and in order to proceed you must perform a “pulse attack” which will temporarily shrink the jellyfishes and allows you to proceed. Other obstacles that you must avoid, whether by hiding or staying away, include machines that send electrical pulses, and patrolling mines that explode if you get too close. There are one or two situations that bring something different to the table, but the game doesn’t offer much more variety than what I already mentioned throughout this 4-5 hour experience.
Visually, the game presents a unique and charming style. While the depths of the sea are a dark and cold place, this world is “brought to life” with bright neon colors that highlight all flora and fauna. The presence of a few landmarks, such as the Big Ben, also help the world around you stand out. The soundtrack also does a fantastic job in immersing the players in this world, and for those with PS VR, the experience will surely be even better.
Overall, Jupiter & Mars is an interesting and enjoyable underwater experience that tries to raise awareness and educate us on the topics of plastic pollution and climate change. While the idea is there, the game lacks the “depth” it was aiming for regarding these sensitive subjects. But despite its flaws, Jupiter & Mars it’s definitely a game you should give a chance if you are looking for a relaxing gameplay experience, and there’s the additional “bonus” that the developer will be donating a portion of game proceeds to ocean causes.Jupiter & Mars was reviewed using a PS4 Digital Copy provided by Tigertron Inc.. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Enjoyable experience that highlights one of the main problems humanity and the world faces.|
|PS VR support.|
|Beautiful visuals and art style.|
|No real incentive to explore the world around you.|
|Although the concept is interesting, the game doesn’t portray its message with the depth one is expecting.|