I have pretty fond memories of playing shooter games at the Arcade. House of the Dead was one of my favorites, and I even had it for my Xbox. So when PDP reached out about checking out their new Mars Lightcon Starter Pack for Xbox One and PS4, I was excited to see how they perform. Check out the video below to see some more of my thoughts.

Out of the Box

Packaging on the Lightcon system was simple, but everything looks secure in there. I was sent the Big Buck Hunter: Arcade Starter Pack that includes the Mars IR Station and two additional lightcons. Currently there are three starter packs available with different games. Big Buck Hunter: Arcade, Qubit’s Quest and Voyage of the Dead. In the Starter pack, we have the IR Camera, Lightcon, USB cable, quick start guide and a download code for whatever package you ordered.

The Lightcon lightgun itself feels great in hand. It has some weight to it so it doesn’t feel cheap. Overall the design is simple and the buttons are easy to find. There aren’t many buttons though, just the trigger, a power button, back button and you can pull back the barrel of the Lightcon to reload in some games. A simple sight on top of the Lightcon makes aiming easy and my only complaint is that the weight is distributed so It’s hard to spin like a true gunslinger… or maybe I just need to practice more.

PDP Mars Lightcon on desk

Setup

Getting up and going with the Mars Lightcon system is relatively quick and easy. Once you download a game, you will need to calibrate the IR Station inside of that game. It took me a little bit to get it calibrated but I think I had the IR Station too close to my screen the first time. Once I moved the camera further away and aimed it close to the reticle it calibrated quickly. Then, sync up a Lightcon and you’re good to go.

Mars IR Station on ottoman

Mars Lightcon and Starter Pack Review: Video

Big Buck Hunter: Arcade

Being the game that came in the starter pack, the first one that I tried was Big Buck Hunter: Arcade. What can I say, it feels exactly like the arcade game from the 2000. Graphics aren’t great, the load time takes just about as long as actual game time and Alex, the scantily clad “trail guide,” is there to help you do something? I wasn’t really a big fan of this in the arcade, and I’m not really in this version either. That being said, the arcade game is wildly popular and so if it’s right up your alley, this version from PDP will bring that experience home and let you play from the couch.

Mars Big Buck Hunter: Arcade Starter Pack game

I was also able to check out the other two titles available to play with the Mars Lightcons: Voyage of the Dead and Qubit’s Quest.

Voyage of the Dead

What is any lightgun system without a title about killing zombies? Voyage of the Dead was a fun game. The one liners from the main character can get a little old after playing through the main story, but at least they’re better than the horribly translated lines in House of the Dead. Well, those were pretty entertaining in their own way.

Mars Lightcon and Voyage of the Dead Game

There is a slight input lag which makes the reticle trail behind where you’re aiming a bit which can get frustrating if you’re trying to track a target, but overall it seemed to play well and was a very enjoyable zombie game with the nice variety of enemies, new weapons and civilian rescues.

Qubit’s Quest

Qubit’s Quest adds some fun features into the mix by letting you control a character while it traverses a level. By pushing the back button on the rear of the Lightcon, the little robot dog will jump or double jump over obstacles adding another part of the game to pay attention to. This is a fun take on an adventure games with some fun mechanics built in. There are also arcade modes, some of which play like the classic Duck Hunt. I was expecting the robot dog to jump over the foreground and giggle at me when I missed targets, but sadly he just shook his head in the same disappointment that I felt.

Mars Lightcon with game in the background

Any other games?

I think one of the only real drawbacks of this system is the small selection of titles available. With just three currently, and none of them a top of the line pick in my opinion, it feels limited. But, if you’re a lightgun game enthusiast, I do think this will play just how you expected, and having wireless connectivity makes multiplayer gaming on a large TV very fun and easy.

Mars Big Buck Hunter: Arcade Starter Pack

Wrapping Up

Overall, the Mars Lightcon is a fun way to bring some arcade titles to the couch. Everything feels well built and was easy enough to connect. At $99 for the Starter Pack and $30 for additional Lightcons, the Mars lightgun system can be a fun way to add some new playablility to your Xbox One or PS4. Reticles on the screen do lag behind movements of the Lightcon, which can be a bit frustrating and I hope that more games become available because I do think that’s where this will shine.

Buy the Mars Voyage of the Dead Starter Pack

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