We have heard little about Visiontrick Media’s game MARE for a few years, and it was a surprise release on the Oculus Store and now exclusive for Quest. We have now had the chance to play-through the game, so what did we think?
To say MARE is a mysterious game, would be an understatement. In the game your are placed in control of a mechanical bird, who is helping a little girl through a beautifully designed world. For what reason?, you might be asking… well you never really find out, as not only the plot but the world stays shrouded in mystery.
With this in mind the gameplay is a puzzle game at heart, but one that never really gets overly difficult. As the bird you will get to fly to set points in the map, and when needed interact with objects in the environment by firing electricity to the objects to activate them. While doing this the aforementioned little girl will follow you, and move the objects you are interacting with. In doing so you will helping her navigate the world to the next point. Which really gave the feeling of The Last Guardian by Fumito Ueda – which isn’t the only time you will feel his inspiration on this title.
The other way you will be an assistance to the girl is by fighting of some shadow silhouettes that surround her, but as like the rest of the game, these are mysterious and you really do not know why they are doing this. However, while you are helping her, she also is some help to you – as she will open gates and release you from traps to help you progress through the world as well.
As soon as you enter the world, after the first sequence in the game, you will again see the inspiration of Fumito Ueda, the way the world is built up and the visuals design, looks straight out of ICO and The Last Guardian. But, please do not take this a bad thing, its a style that suits the game and seeing this style in VR just blew us away. If you love the graphical style of the previously mentioned games, you will certainly love the world in MARE. Seeing the girl run through the world really gives you the sense of scale of the ruins she is running through, and experiencing parts with other animated objects and creatures look fantastic and give you some ‘WOW’ moments.
The sound design in the game is great, even though they have not done a lot with it, it suits the mystery of the world and the plot. From the sometimes eerie but light background music, and with the sound of the wind bustling around you, the atmosphere is set perfectly. The outside of this you have the crackling of the birds electric and very little noises from the girl. The girl will say some words that sound Latina, but the best use of the sound is the girls shrieks when surrounded by the shadows – when this first happens you do realise the bond you are building with the girl while helping her.
With controlling the bird around the map with a point and click system, MARE is an experience anyone can enjoy from a comfort perspective. This is then carried over the control system, as all you need to use is the trigger to move from point to point and fire the electricity from your body. This means it is a simple control system that you could put anyone into and they would know how to play the game straight away.
With the puzzles not being that difficult, you will find that you can be through the game in around two and half hours, if you are just moving from point to point to get through the game. However, there is some collectables around the world, and getting the girl to these is where more of a challenge comes in. So, if you are looking to collect all these I can see it adding an extra hour or so to the game.
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.