To all those who got the classical references in this title, I salute you. And to those who looked it up on Wikipedia I applaud you, and if you’re still reading this already too long appraisal then you’ve passed the endurance test.
It’s weird to think that I bought this game at the same time as The Fall and have only recently played them and now done reviews for them. What’s weirder is that they both involve the moon, To the Moon having it in the title and the production company of The Fall being Over the Moon. You might even think I have a thing about the moon. But in any case, here’s the obligatory overview of the emotional tale that is To the Moon.
You play as Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts who work for Sigmund Corp., a company which create artificial memories for those who seek wish fulfilment on their deathbeds (and yes, it does sound a little bit like Inception). Their client, John “Johnny” Wyles, wishes to go to the moon, although he cannot remember why wants to go; only that he does. With this as the wish they must fulfil, Rosalene and Watts begin into Johnny’s mind to create a new reality for him, although as expected, things do not go their way.
To the Moon has the look reminiscent of Golden Sun, having that same RPG style that has captured the hearts of many, as well as their time and money. But To the Moon rejects the RPG formula and has very few gameplay mechanics that RPG’s are associated with, i.e.: turn-based combat. Instead To the Moon is focused on telling you a particular story and in that it excels.
Emotional is a one-word description of this game, even the cynical humbug within me was a little touched by the story and being invested in all its characters. For a game that can be completed within three hours, it really crams as much characterisation as it can.
You feel as if you have known these characters all their lives, and for some of them you can almost argue that. Even though you get snippets of their lives, they are all very important and that accumulated feeling is very important for what is chapter one of a larger game.
But, alongside all the heartfelt and saddening moments, Freebird Games have also managed to cram in as much comedy and pop culture references as possible so that every heavier moment has it corresponding lighter moment. While Eva and Neil have their parts in the drama filled moments, they really shine in the comedy filled ones, with their working relationship becoming almost palpable in those moments.
But credit where credit is due, the game is very well written. Every line of dialogue has its purpose and with a game that has very little else aside from occasional puzzles and obstacles later on, the game is incredibly dialogue heavy. It really gets you feeling that Eva and Neil have being doing this job for a while and, despite their eccentricities (mainly Neil’s) they have a job to do and will do their utmost to see it through.
A quick mention must also be given to the game’s use of music as it is excellently used, the highlight being the song For River played on the piano as, while the song is very repetitive, it has a certain beauty to it which becomes significant in the game itself, but is also a grand piece of music in itself.
While the game has been out for three years and a true sequel hasn’t arrived, although a spiritual sequel called A Bird Story is being released on November 7th, it is still worth playing and waiting for the next instalment. If games that can leave you with “the feels” and have you laughing loud enough to make your relatives wonder what the hell you are doing, then this is the game for you.
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