Mara – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Platforming, Casual, Indie
Developer: Defiant Child Games
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Mara – Review

Site Score
Good: Satisfaction when overcoming an obstacle
Bad: As good as no story, bad graphics, sometimes too unforgiving, repetitive, sound design
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Fans of the platforming genre have a broad range of games to choose from. Going from 3D games like Ratchet & Clank and Puppeteer to 2D titles like Rayman and Mario, the pool of platformers is certainly big enough to pick something to your liking. Mara is another addition in the genre but as there are already so many brilliant platforming titles, I can’t see the reason you should pick Mara over another game. Here’s why.

Mara logo


Mara let’s you play as a young monk who’s on a quest to find himself while surviving the world’s problems and dangers. This translates in all kinds of obstacles in your path in the game like spikes and little monsters walking around, ready to hurt you. The story is actually quit non-existent except for what you read on the Steam page or see in the trailer. In the game itself, there’s really not much going on story wise except for some sentences written in the beginning of each level. This is quite odd as the Steam page makes Mara look like a very interesting and deep story about a young monk who tries to find answers in life. All in all, the lack of decent storytelling feels like an incredible missed opportunity.



Graphics wise, the game doesn’t look all that good and even for an indie game, it’s hard to accept the rudimentary art style and pixely graphics. Especially the character you play as doesn’t look all that pretty and combine this with some bad animations and you won’t find much joy in controlling the little monk.

The background in the three levels are very similar to each other and that gets old pretty fast. Seeing the same industrial looking environments over and over again isn’t really the most pleasant thing when you’re replaying certain parts of the game (when you fall in a pit for example). At the very least, it would have been nice to see some variation in levels but in Mara, each level looks almost exactly the same as the one before or after. Although not as diverse as one would hope, the backgrounds stand in high contrast with the character, enemies and moving obstacles in terms of quality. They look quite acceptable and set the theme for the whole game. It’s a shame that the same quality can’t be found in the more prominent world items.


The sound design in Mara is pretty weak. In the background, you’ll hear the same tunes over and over again and it doesn’t take very long to become a bit bored by the music like that. Sound effects wise, there’s not much going except for some basic noises like spikes hitting the ground or the sound of your projectiles hitting an enemy. It all feels incredibly barren and much like lazy design work.



Mara is a 2.5D platforming with very simple and easy to use controls so you don’t have to be a gaming fanatic to master this title. More so, even gaming fanatics will probably grind their teeth on some of the game’s unforgiving platforming segments. Sometimes, a jump has to be so precise, it’s almost impossible to get it right in a first, second or even third try. Patience is one of the virtues you’ll need to master when playing this title as a range of issues can stand in the way of a pleasant gaming experience.

As said before, some segments are pretty unforgiving and teleport you right back to the beginning of the level or a checkpoint. Of course, one might expect to retry a specific part in a game like this but Mara feels like it’s really out to annoy you at times. Even in the first part of the first level, there’s a jump which will require very precise movements to overcome the obstacle without dying. Another issue you’ll notice while playing the game is that dying happens pretty ‘static’. What I mean by that is when your character runs into an enemy or deadly trap, the game just teleports you back to the beginning of the level/checkpoint instantly. There’s no animation for dying nor is there a sound effect. It all looks a bit like the developers didn’t feel the need to add some extra punch to the game. Looking at the animations which made it into the game, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this game was rushed to finish and put on the market.


For a game where the difficulty can take extreme leaps at some points (a lot of times this is because of camera being annoying as hell), you’d expect that checkpoints would’ve been spread out widely throughout a level but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Often, a player will have to replay certain hard parts just to be killed by another, even harder part. For a game with the tag ‘casual’ in the Steam Store, it’s quite hard to imagine casual gamers enjoy such brute experience. Admittedly, the satisfaction you gain when finally overcoming an obstacle that’s been bugging you for the past 10 minutes, is quite the good feeling. Still, the balance in feeling annoyed by the difficulty, badly placed checkpoints and camera behaviour and the satisfaction you get from completing a gameplay segment is far from even.

As you progress, you’ll notice some coloured objects floating in the air. Depending on the colour, they give you an ability or open up a portal. For example: if you walk in the blue star-shaped items, you are granted the ability to shoot projectiles which can kill Selfies (the enemies in the game). This ability is only temporarily though so it’s best to use that time wisely. Although those ‘power-ups’ slightly enhance the gameplay, Mara is still quite a repetitive experience without much else going on than doing the same thing over and over again.



As there are already so many games available in the platforming genre which are a lot more fun and even tell a decent story, it’s hard to recommend Mara. The disappointing graphics, lack of a true interesting plot and the sometimes unforgiving gameplay makes this game one you should avoid. Admittedly, overcoming an obstacle after quite some retries makes you feel proud of yourself for a minute, but that feeling fades away soon enough when you keep dying in the next gameplay segment. Count hereby the repetitive nature of the game and you’ll soon conclude that there are other, more fun alternatives on the market.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Mara - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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