Walking Mars is an amazing tale of discovery.
What strikes me most about Tiger Style’s title is that the story more than anything keeps you playing, like the SNES RPGs I played as a kid. Only in Walking Mars, the graphics aren’t grainy pixels, but beautiful (and accurate) portraits of our neighboring planet.
You play Liang, a Mars explorer who gets trapped in an underground cave system and must interact with plants and other lifeforms to escape. Along the way Liang chats with a research AI and his base camp in a clever dialog that adds a lot to the story. Very quickly you learn that you’re having a substantial effect on the environment. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but the tag line of the game is “wake a sleeping planet”.
Controls are simple because despite the name you do more jetpacking around than walking. Your other actions are hurling seeds at fertile “grounds” which are often on walls, ceilings, and as you progress around tight corners. It might sound simple, but knowing what to grow where can get tricky as different plants have different environmental effects.