Tiger Style Games had a lot to live up to with their follow-up release to Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor [$0.99 / $1.99 (HD)], the critically-acclaimed 2009 puzzle adventure and our own Game of the Year that year, but they pulled it off in tremendous fashion with Waking Mars [$2.99] this past February. It's a game about exploring Mars, and quite literally waking it up by breathing life into the plant-like lifeforms that dwelled within the cavernous confines of the planet.

Like Spider, Waking Mars leaned heavily on its visual and audio style, as well as a certain amount of mystery and intrigue that compelled you to see things through. In short, its atmosphere was just as important – if not more so – than the actual underlying game mechanics, and Waking Mars nailed it.

We thought it was pretty tops in our original review, and for a game that was so reliant on its visual and aural splendor the updates that came post-release that added support for Retina Display iPads and the widescreen of the iPhone 5/new iPod touch actually enhanced the experience a lot. That's also why the latest update, released today, is also quite significant.

To celebrate the launch of Waking Mars on desktop and Android, the iOS version has been updated to 2.0, the Director's Cut. It adds full voice acting for all the dialogue in the game, and for someone who takes great pride in the cheesiness of voice acting typically found in mobile games (and many console and PC games, for that matter) I'm proud to say that the voice work in Waking Mars Director's Cut is excellent and really adds a lot to the experience.

Another slight change that makes a big impact is in the character artwork that appears during moments of dialogue. Previously they were real photographs of people portraying the characters in the game, but this ultra-realism somewhat clashed with the fantastical nature of the rest of the game's visuals. It just felt a bit out of place. Now those character pictures are actual illustrations, which still retain almost the same look of the original pictures but fit in with the overall aesthetics of the game much better.

If you're a proud owner of Waking Mars on iOS, run on over to the App Store and download the version 2.0 Director's Cut, because it's pretty sweet. If you haven't got Waking Mars, well, I just can't recommend it enough. It's an amazing experience.

If you're not keen on the iOS version for some reason, you can grab the Android version as part of the Humble Bundle 4 where you pay what you want for a collection of games, or you can grab the Mac, PC, and Linux version straight from Tiger Style's website. Oh, and if you want to see the game on Valve's Steam platform, you'll have to give your vote for it over at the Waking Mars Steam Greenlight page.

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Don't forget that Humble Bundle 4 includes the desktop version (and you'll get a Steam key in the future if/when they get Greenlighted!)

  • ducksFANjason

    Does the Humble Bundle version include all these fancy updates or is it the old iOS version (sans voice acting etc.)? Anyone know?

    • Randy Smith

      It includes all the fancy updates.  :)

      • ducksFANjason

        Awesome news, I can't wait to play it! Thanks!! I just found out about the Android humble bundles and i'm super bummed that I missed out on bundles 2 & 3... :( ESPECIALLY 3 as i want literally every game included!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/42YS2N67LP6IDUKBZUUCMSZW7M Pray For Death

      The humble version is for android only

      • NODE

        No, it also includes Windows, Mac and Linux versions as well.

      • ducksFANjason

        Yea I'm getting a Galaxy Note 2 so that's ok. I bought the game on iOS at launch and LOVED it but wanted to replay it once I saw this director's cut update in my list of app updates. BUT - since I bought the humble bundle for my soon-to-come android phone, I figure that if it had all the new features, I'll just play it on the Note 2.

  • Tranceaholic

    I had to delete this game after completing it to make room in my ever-cramped 16 GB iPad. But with this new Director's Cut, looks like I'll have to free up space for it again as the experience should be twice as great as before!

  • TheFrost

    Time to play it again... One of the best games on iOS

  • iphigenia

    Did this thing ever for real end up working with the 8-Bitty?

  • gemacx

    You know what ? I'm super happy at the idea of playing through the whole game for the third time with these new features.
    It's just that great :)