Beyond its 2.5D platformer trappings Mara is supposedly, at its heart, a considered meditation of consumerism and modern excess. Taking control of a monk who must traverse an urban concrete jungle, players must simply reach the end of each of the three levels in order to complete the game.
The problem however, is that these high-minded ideals which revolve around such weighty subject matters are arguably lost among the game's uninspired platforming action and unpolished aesthetic.
The biggest problem with the actual platforming in Mara is that, sadly, it's just desperately dull. Running and leaping from left to right, players must guide their young monk over obstacles while destroying enemies and, well, that's it. Utterly devoid of flair or flourish, Mara's 2.5D platforming shtick has simply been done much better elsewhere. Compounded by a lack of feedback when you die (there is no fail animation, instead, you are just teleported to the last checkpoint) and an obtuse interface that provides little insight into anything (I still don't have a clue what that elephant icon means), it's fair to say that Mara fails to impress.
Another key kicker is the camera. The camera often doesn't know how to pan out properly. So for instance, you could be leaping across a number of high platforms but because the camera doesn't allow you to look beneath your leaping monk, you don't really have any idea of what lies below you. This, as you might appreciate, turns every jump from a higher platform to a lower one into some sort of a leap of faith which in most cases, usually ends up with an instant death and the inevitable checkpoint restart.
The concept behind Mara is admirable; the fashioning of a platformer that holds such heady notions as capitalism and consumerism would seem to be an intriguing mix. On the evidence here though, we'll all be waiting a while longer before the standard of execution aligns with the concept.
Mara is available for PC via Steam at 25% off, bringing the price down to £2.09. The discount offer is set to expire on July 2nd.