I’ve known for a long time that becoming an astronaut was never going to be my life’s calling. My eyesight’s terrible, for one, and I guarantee I’d be vomming all over the walls if I was ever put inside one of those whirly burly machines to simulate the experience of launching into space. Indeed, if the two hours I spent playing Deliver Us Mars last week were anything to go by, I don’t think I’d even make it through the doors at NASA. They’d take one look at me and turn me away on the spot, because man alive, even my fingers were aching after tackling a couple of different sections from early in the game’s story.
There’s a good reason for this, though, and it’s one that actually enhanced my experience of the game as opposed to detracting from it. You see, while heroine Kathy might look like an auto-climbing Lara Croft-stronaut, with her pair of pickaxes dangling off her suit, in practice she’s anything but. In fact, when she’s climbing up and down walls, Kathy has more in common with Grow Home’s little BUD bot than anyone else – albeit with a significantly higher polygon count. As she carries out her quest to look for tech to save Earth from an impending climate crisis, players manually control her climbing movements with pushes and squeezes of their right and left mouse buttons, plotting a course through the game’s gnarled mess of girders and metallic bulkheads one ax stab at a time. It’s a slow, but wonderfully tactile process, and it all adds up to launch Deliver Us Mars straight out of the trad, third-person action canon, and into the altogether starrier realms of platforming pioneers.