Set in a world where climate change has already wreaked its havoc, Jupiter & Mars - a pair of neon-bedecked dolphins - must set about using their skills to help out the ocean’s other inhabitants. Think Echo the Dolphin, but in VR and not very good and you’re most of the way there.
Gameplay largely consists of exploring, light puzzle solving, and trying to convince your dolphin to do what you want it to in a world full of low-res textures, basic creatures, and ultra-simple mechanics - all while trying not to vomit (seriously, Jupiter & Mars gives me the worst motion sickness of any VR game I’ve ever played; more than a few minutes at a time was impossible).
You can control the game by looking around, or you can use a DualShock controller; of the two options, I found the DualShock to be more playable but look-based control less vomit-inducing, which was a frustrating choice to have to make. Control isn’t terrible, and you do get used to it, but I never felt entirely in charge of my dolphin’s destiny.
Much of the interaction involves light fetch quests or using echolocation to explore/find things to blast with your sonic “attack”, and it all feels slightly less complicated than a LEGO game. In fact, the experience feels targeted at a very young audience - precisely the kind of people for whom most manufacturers agree, VR is not suitable. Fortunately, you can play the game in non-VR mode too, so if you are looking for a non-violent, child-friendly, simplistic experience for the youngsters, you can always play it without the headset.
Obviously, the game has a fairly transparent conservation message, set as it is in a submerged version of Earth that humans abandoned after they destroyed it. You’ll be reminded of this from time to time, not just by the basic “destroy man’s evil machines so marine life can get on with post-human existence” but also by the appearance of some marquee landmarks (like Big Ben). While not subtle in any way, the game doesn’t beat you over the head with its conservation theme, either, and it felt as much like a setting as it did any kind of morality lesson.
I was seriously underwhelmed by Jupiter & Mars, as you can probably tell, but I also accept that I’m almost certainly not the target audience. If you want a simple experience, like dolphins, admire a neon aesthetic, or really want to support alternatives to “bald space marines shoot things in the face over and over again” games, you might well find yourself mildly entertained by what’s on offer here.