In Mars Underground, you control Mars, a boy stuck in a time loop in which the world ends at night. An open sandbox adventure game, it’s releasing in 2017.
I know what you thought. Yet another game set on Mars, probably some hybrid of horror and survival, no doubt in Early Access. But no, it turns out that Mars Underground is about a completely different kind of Mars: a schoolboy whose first day in school turns into a time loop that always ends with the world being destroyed. It happens.
It’s probably a given that you’ll have to figure out just what is going on, why the world is ending and why you’re stuck in a time loop. My bet’s on aliens, personally. Along the way, however, there is plenty for Mars to do, not unlike Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Among the things you can seemingly do in the sandbox world of Mars Underground are talking to a toilet, getting hit by a car and taking experimental prescription drugs. Yikes.
Comparisons to Earthbound will probably be inevitable, given the 16-bit RPG look of the game. The gameplay, however, seems to be based on the classic adventure game formula of finding items and then using them in creative ways to open up new paths. There’s branching storytelling, and multiple endings have been promised as well.
Mars Underground is being developed by Matt Sanderson, who is building the game in RPG Maker MV. It’s currently slated for a 2017 release, and will be available on PC (Windows, Mac and Linux) as well as iOS and Android devices. There’s even a demo if you’d like to try it out, available on itch.io or Newgrounds. It’s 93 MB. I wouldn’t recommend downloading it over dial-up. But then, I wouldn’t recommend having a dial-up internet connection in the first place.