It’s Mars’s first day at a new school. Except every day is his first day at a new school. Every night the world ends.
Influenced by classic LucasArts adventure games, 16 bit SNES RPGs and movies like Groundhog Day and Donnie Darko, Mars Underground is an apocalyptic adventure game in which the player relives the same day over and over.
The player attempts to solve brain damaging mysteries and uncover multiple potential endings as they explore the possibilities of this time loop.
Are our destinies predetermined? Do absolute truths exist?
Take experimental prescription drugs. Talk to a toilet. Get hit by a car. Humiliate yourself repeatedly. All in the name of figuring out what on earth is going on.
Try out the demo today! This can be played directly in your browser or downloaded.
- Unique time loop premise that explores the possibilities of branching stories and multiple endings in interactive fiction.
- Game design that mixes classic adventure game conventions with sandbox-style gameplay. As the player discovers new topics and acquires new items the world opens up and they can try more things each day.
- All original, dynamic music soundtrack.
- Simple, easy to grasp gameplay that can be fully played with either mouse, keyboard, controller or touch input.
A few profiles of some of the characters you can meet and interact with in Mars Underground.
Mr Zucchini is a maths teacher at Phobos High, an amateur nutritionalist and a UFO researcher. Last night he and his son, Jimmy, investigated some strange lights they could see nearby.
(Mr Zucchini’s default cycle)
Early Morning: Unable to sleep following his strange encounter, Mr Zucchini spends the early hours of the morning researching on his computer.
Morning: He sits at the TV, flicking through the channels, seeing if there has been any coverage of the strange goings-on in the nearby forest. Looking at the time he rushes out the door with his son and heads to Phobos High School.
Late Morning: Mr Zucchini teaches his class in mathematics. While his classes are known to often veer into bizarre conspiracy theories this mornings lecture is especially confusing. At the end he runs out the door, apparently having had some kind of revelation.
Midday: Mr Zucchini travels to Phobos City to do some research in the library.
Early Afternoon: He makes a quick trip to the local Dwarf Mart.
Afternoon - Night: He paces around his house. Alternatively researching at his computer desk and returning to check the TV. He begins building some strange device in the living room.
Late Night: Mr Zucchini’s eyes glaze over. He stands still. Mumbling brainlessly.
"Shorty" is the father of Red and Krystal. Most nights he can be found working security at the Boom Hole nightclub. It could be said that he has a few anger issues.
(Shorty’s default cycle)
Early Morning - Morning: Late home from work last night, Shorty is sleeping in bed at home.
Late Morning: Needing a pick-me-up he heads down to the local Dwarf Mart for a jumbo coffee. The machine jams and he loses his temper, breaking the machine.
Midday: Shorty heads back home and paces around the house angrily for a few hours.
Early Afternoon - Afternoon: Tired from pacing about and a lack of coffee he goes back to bed.
Late Afternoon: Heads over to Meaty Bites for a feed before work.
Early Night - Night: Shorty is working at The Boom Hole nightclub, checking IDs and making sure no one gets too rowdy.
Late Night: Still standing at the entrance of the nightclub, eyes glazed over, mumbling and drooling.
Nikki is the daughter of Charles and Meredith. She lives down the street from the house Mars and his family have just moved in to
(Nikki's default cycle).
Early Morning: At home, in bed, sleeping.
Morning: In her bedroom, watching TV until it is time to go to school.
Late Morning: Nikki is hanging out with Red in the school hallways. She recognises Mars and his sister Helga as the kids that just moved in down the road through the help of work and housing assistance program.
"Ewww... You shouldn't talk to them. I think they're POOR."
She heads on to her class.
Midday: Nikki and Red hang out in the school courtyard during the lunch break. They can be heard laughing and mocking the other students.
Early Afternoon: Nikki has a PE class in the gymnasium.
Afternoon: Hanging out again in the courtyard with Red they gang up on Jimmy and steal his saucepan "helmet." As much as he protests they refuse to return it. There's a bright flash of light and Jimmy vanishes.
Late Afternoon - Night: Back at home Nikki watches TV and acts as if nothing strange happened.
Late Night: Nikki and her family seem to have disappeared.
Here are a few of the places Mars will be visiting.
Catch a flick at the movie theatre! Who knows? You might even learn something useful.
Playing today (session times)
A KNIGHTLEY ROMANCE (Morning, Late Afternoon)
Mr Darcy Knightley seems like the most desirable bachelor, but even with all his charms can he win the girl of his dreams?
ZOMBIE HIGHWAY (Late Morning, Early Afternoon, Early Night)
The last survivor of the zombie apocalypse isn't slacking off from his job just because the world is over.
ONE BANANA, TWO BANANA (Midday, Afternoon)
The classic, critically acclaimed art film.
BRO, WHERE'S MY DUDE? (Morning, Early Afternoon, Late Aternoon) Smash hit teen comedy of the season.
THE LOST KITTEN (Midday, Afternoon, Early Night)
Doctor Schrodinger's doing something with all the cats!
♫“MEATY BITES! MEATY BITES! EVERYBODY WANTS A MEATY BITE!”♫
Mmmmmm… what IS that smell? Our qualified snack-nicians are brewing up some delectable foodstuffs just for YOU.
Try our *ALL NEW* “MEAT SHAKES.” It’s like a milkshake but it’s MEATY!
Yum yum, “CHICKEN SURPRISE.” What’s the surprise? Try it and find out!
“BEEF CAKE.” Nothing says D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S like a cake full of meat!
Bring the whole family down for some dribbly, bloody MEATY BITES today!
The Loons are in town! Big celebrations as the planets align tonight and the Loon-R-Fest draws to a close!
Go on the alien ride and meet the lizardmen!
Get your thrills in the haunted house!
Totally not-rigged carnival games!
A splendid time guaranteed for all!
Proudly sponsored by Moloch Media Enterprises.
Phobos High School is simply the best learning institution. It is very successful. All our instructors have been handpicked by Sir Moloch himself and have completed the latest TV-based courses in educationalism. Give your kids the smarts they need today to make the big bucks tomorrow.
Let's make high school great again!
"Make the right connections for the right start in life!" - Sir Moloch
All the music in Mars Underground has been written by Matt Sanderson and Paul McMahon. I have been a huge fan of "interactive" or "dynamic" music in games ever since I first played Monkey Island 2 with a soundcard 20+ years ago. Mars Underground uses several techniques, including track crossfading and randomly playing back segments, to create a musical soundtrack that co-exists with the gameplay.
Moloch Media Outside
School Front / Hallway / Courtyard
CPA Building / Dr Sanderson
So what will the money be spent on? After covering the fees from Kickstarter, Steam and the iOS store, the majority will be spent commissioning additional art assets (60%) with the remaining money covering marketing expenses - advertisements and attending conventions where the game can be further promotoed (30%).
Risks and challenges
Mars Underground has been a large part of my every day, all day focus for the last year.
I anticipate that the largest challenge will be meeting the deadlines I have set. While I feel confident I can have the game completed and tested by September 2017 I would choose to delay the release if I feel the game isn't ready.
I should also note that I am currently a full-time carer. This project has been something I can work on from home in my spare time while that also allows me to engage the person I'm caring for in the creative aspects and helping in other ways.
There is the possibility of health issues causing the game to be delayed.
- (43 days)