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Review: Waking Mars


Monday, February 11th, 2013

Review: Waking Mars – a Tiger Style Games game

Waking Mars - a Tiger Style Game

Image from the “Waking Mars” Press Kit

It’s my lunch break right now (from grading grading graaading), and I want to take this change to blog a little bit about what I did yesterday (and if you think that Waking Mars is closely connected to my Sunday, then you’re right :-) ). I spent bits of last week in between teaching and then basically all of Friday and Saturday grading, and while the grading is not finished (I’m doing some more of it today, as you can see), it was the weekend after all – and I needed a day off. But I didn’t want to do much, or start something I couldn’t get finished in one day, and none of the books in my TBR shelf appealed to me … I really wanted something to just absorb my attention for a couple of hours and then let me go again so I could wholly concentrate on grading again today … and so I went looking for an Ipad game where you don’t walk around shooting people (I don’t play those kinds of games) but get to build/discover/… a world/something that doesn’t involve also needing to build up an army and/or attacking people and/or random people showing up to attack you*.

I’ve been slowly making my way through the “Medieval Sims” (which is fun, but totally repetitive), and so googled “game like mediveal sims ipad” or some such, and found a page where someone, amongst other games, recommended “Waking Mars”. It’s not really like the “Sims Medieval” at all (except its more so than, oh, Minesweeper or Tetris or…), but that’s neither here nor there.

So I went looking, read the abstract and some reviews, and bought it, no further knowledge available. And I think that was the perfect way of going about it, as the trailer (which I link to down below) actually shows you too many things you otherwise get to discover on your own (so I’m actually saying play it without watching the trailer, but watch the trailer if you otherwise won’t give the game a thought, IDK).

So, here’s what I thought:

“Waking Mars” is the best game I’ve played on my Ipad, hands down.

It’s action and adventure and discovery and building things (instead of destroying them) and learning things and needing to think and figure out stuff and creating life instead of destroying it and and … it’s awesome. It basically ate my Sunday, and I have no regrets. :-)

I played it on the “Casual” setting, because I am the kind of person who gets annoyed when I get stuck too often or die too often when I just want to have a nice and non-stressful couple of hours (grrr) – and I thought I might be able to watch the Biathlon World Championships with half an eye while playing (haha, no way, forget it). It took me about 9 hours to finish it – I imagine it takes quite a bit longer in the harder modes – and that was about perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have happily kept playing for another couple of hours, and I’d totally have bought “Waking Mars II” last night already if it were available, but it worked really well the way it went. (I still want to *spoiler* so I need to *spoiler*, but as far as game achievements go, I’m finished).

The graphics are great and the voice acting is really well done (I can’t say anything about the music because I always switch the music off as a matter of course [it annoys me, no matter how good]), and the navigation was intuitive to learn. And the balance between being taught things and figuring things out on my own worked really well for me. Also the *spoiler* was a really nice touch.

It’s a Tiger Style Games game and they have a trailer online (though the game is even better than the trailer), and while I played it on the Ipad it’s also out for most every other system out there, it seems. And I can totally recommend it!

Like I said, its the best game I’ve yet played on my Ipad.

 x

And now, back to grading (grading grading graaading).

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*Hence no “Civilization” – you can either set everyone as being your friend, and then it gets really boring really quickly, or always be attacked when all you want to do is build things. If I want to play a game where I attack people (and the last one of those I played seriously was, uh, “Diablo I”), then I pick one of those. When I want to build things, I want to build them. There.

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