Every night the world ends, but every morning Mars wakes up for his first day of school, again. Mars Underground is an apocalyptic time looping adventure currently on Kickstarter. Moloch Media is seeking $2,322 to create this mind-bending Groundhog Day-esque RPG.
Each day the player attempts to solve the mystery behind why Mars keeps reliving the same day, over and over. Perhaps, in time, they will even be able to prevent the next daily apocalypse. As more secrets are discovered and items collected the world opens up allowing the player to try new outcomes each day.
The simple premise and RPG Maker graphics are held together by the promise of branching stories and multiple endings. The campaign page mostly features gifs designed to promote the Kickstarter, but there is a demo available on both GameJolt and Itch.io which hopefully gives a better indication of the narrative style.
The Greatest Story Ever (Re)Told
This style is important, because without a strong story foundation and just the right blend of humor, Mars Underground would be easy for potential backers to overlook. There just isn’t much on the Kickstarter page to demonstrate the overall feel of the gameplay. Despite the lack of substantial information on the campaign, there are hints that this project could be promising.
The Mars Underground website shows off a few additional screenshots from different parts of the game. Parts that really should be examined more on the campaign page. If only to give backers a better idea of what they can expect and the tone of the story.
Overall, I get the impression that Mars Underground is a cool idea, but the campaign doesn’t do enough to show this. Crowdfunding isn’t the same as convincing someone to try your game’s demo. It’s not enough to just make me wonder if the game could be good and to try it out. A crowdfunded developer needs to convince potential backers that their game is so good that everyone will want to, not only try it, but also throw money at it. Mars Underground hasn’t hit that sweet spot today.