A million billion years ago, there was a jetpack based action adventure puzzle cave shooter with horror undertones for the BBC Micro (and later, a more user friendly reboot for the Amiga) called Exile. I won’t bore you with the details, so let’s suffice it to say it was fucking brill.
Waking Mars takes the basic gameplay hook of Exile – jetpack based cave exploration in an alien environment – but instead of being a claustrophobic nightmare, gives it an ambient feeling of discovery and wonder. Mars’ long-dormant Eco-system is waking up, and to progress through the caves and reach safety you need to give it a helping hand by planting seeds, feeding wildlife and redistributing water.
Not only is it a great game with a fantastic atmosphere and interesting dialogue, but it’s seriously refreshing to see a sci-if adventure in which the objective is to create life instead of destroying it. Waking Mars will have you shooting around its tight cavern, spreading your seed and splashing the walls with joy.