To The Moon Review
Thought provoking, in the most literal sense.
We see plenty of games, these days, that use a retro style to expand on types of games we used to get a lot of back in the day. You usually see this strategy with hack-and-slash or RPG games, but it’s rare that we see a more modern genre represented in with retro style. To The Moon is a point-and-click style adventure game that has been lovingly encased in a 16-bit era RPG game. Whether that sounds like something you would be into or not, you simply can’t miss this story.
To The Moon will look very familiar to anyone who enjoyed RPG’s in the SNES/Genesis days. Of course that doesn’t mean that this is a fantasy game, it follows a more contemporary science fiction setting. The year isn’t specified but To The Moon takes place in a world where people still drive cars, live in houses they built out of wood, and have cell phones; but one where they have access to advanced technology as well.
The story follows two employees of company that grants the dying wishes of the nearly departed. They don’t do this by taking terminally ill patients on dream vacations, instead they use a sophisticated machine to re-write the patient’s memory so they can die believing that they have done something they didn’t get a chance to while alive. The patient, in this case, wants to go to the moon.
I don’t want to go any further into the story than that, as To The Moon is a story driven game where uncovering the next piece of the puzzle is integral to the experience. However, I truly wish I was able to convey to you how brilliant this story is without giving away any of the details. Let me just say if this were a movie you would watch it, if it were a book you would read it. The moral implications of the technology involved can’t be ignored and you’ll be left wondering how you would have handled things if you had the kind of power these doctors exercise each day, as their day job.
Playing To The Moon will put you in control of the two Doctors that work for the company that will re-write your memory. You will use the machine to actually walk around in the patient’s memories, using objects that are of importance to them to create ties between memories. This is so you can move back in time, in the patient’s mind, to the point where you can influence the memories to re-write themselves with the desired conclusion. Each section will have you collecting five memory fragments, then locating the one anchor object in the scenario to move on. Once you find everything you’ll have to complete a pretty simple puzzle before you can activate the object.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t perform as well as you would expect it to considering it isn’t very graphically intensive. The visuals are sometimes choppy and there were times when the game simply didn’t want to move to the next screen until I tried to walk through the door three or four times. The gameplay also isn’t very deep in To The Moon, and the puzzles are never very complicated, but the story is so good that it moves the game along before you ever get anywhere close to bored. The way it mixes the comical banter of two people who are forced to be co-workers, with the gravity of the events in the patient’s life is a marvel and there will be a number of moments where you might find a little dust in your eye.
There are no multiplayer modes in To The Moon.
To The Moon not only has a fantastic story, it is an exemplary piece of story telling. The events are unpredictable without being overwrought plot twists. The characters are deep, funny, charming and likeable. Despite being a little short, To The Moon will linger in your mind for days after you finish and is a game that everyone should experience.