[Game Review] To The Moon

To the Moon is an adventure/RPG starring Dr. Eva Rosalene, a senior memory traversal agent, and Dr. Neil Watts, a technician specialist, from Sigmund Corp. The type of service that Sigmund Corp. offers is quite unique as opposed to the services we are all used to. They offer to fulfill your wishes. Utilizing advanced technology, they have the ability to create artificial memories specifically (and legally) for those who are on their deathbed, as the creation of artificial memories clash with a person’s true memories.

They are called in by their patient, Johnny Wyles. Upon arrival, Johnny is is in a coma, and they are told that Johnny’s wish is to go to the moon. Dr. Eva and Dr. Neil’s job now is to traverse backward through his memories through certain objects or “mementos” in order to find his desire so that the machine can generate the new memories.

gameplay

Graphics

To the Moon was created with RPG Maker XP, and the graphics are mostly pixel art. Each cutscene features beautiful art and with each memento, usually the trouble with pixel art is that it is hard to recognize some objects especially in this kind of setting is in a sort of omnipresent perspective and you don’t get a close look. Even from afar, you will get to recognize objects you don’t normally see in video games.

Movement of the characters isn’t sloppy either, usually I would think that these kind of sprite characters are limited in movement, but the design is pretty creative, and also more simple. As you travel through Johnny’s memories, the way the surroundings and the people are constructed are very clever, keeping in mind that people do not have photographic memory.

Story

Brilliant, and very smartly played.

Sounds

I honestly do not have a lot to say about the sounds. It’s perfect. All evoking the right kind of emotions and really setting the mood. Perfectly timed and well composed.

Controls + Gameplay

Very simple. I replayed the game more than once already and at varying times, so I sometimes have to remember what controls to use, but it’s really no problem because it is very simple and you have the choice to use either the mouse or the keyboard. You only use the usual keys (C, X, space bar, arrow keys, etc.) and only left-clicking and right-clicking. Hovering on a specific object in the game may change your mouse into a hand or a magnifying glass so you don’t have to aimlessly interact with everything wondering if any event would occur. It really saves you a lot more time.

Although it is said that this game is an RPG, it also feels much like a visual novel, since you are also learning about Johnny’s story, so yes, it is somewhat dialogue-heavy (but I’m telling you, the story is worth it). It doesn’t stop there. There are mini-games involved as well, mostly puzzles for each memento you find so it’s not simply point-and-click, but the game does ask you for choices (but usually they do not really affect the story whatsoever; you come out with one brilliant end).

 

As I have said earlier, it is quiet clever and creative; it is almost a serious kind of fun (like Harvest Moon) although the doctors give enough banter, references to other fandoms, and human traits that either make you giggle, sympathize, or just facepalm.

It’s not the type of game you can finish in one sitting, but thankfully there is a save/load system composed of three slots as well as an auto-save slot. I’ve gotten quite a few people to try the game and admittedly, the first part is dragging, and especially for newbies with gaming or at least with this type of game, you may get lost for a while.

Conclusion

You have to play the game.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

To The Moon won Best Indie RPG of 2011, IndieDB – Editor’s Choice for Best Singleplayer Indie of 2011 and other awards. Check the site here for more info, as well as links for playing/download and for the soundtrack.

Buy it on Steam before the Lunar New Year promo ends (February 13)!

Freebird Games last mentioned that they will release a short story called “A Bird’s Story” that is the prelude to the second installment of To the Moon: Finding Paradise.

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