To the Moon is a 2.5 dimensional point and click adventure game developed and published by Freebird Games. Released on PC and OS X, it’s been a critical success, receiving Gamespot’s 2011 Best Story award and being nominated in several other categories to boot.
It’s an almost completely story driven game that’s enhanced by its simple soundtrack. There is no voice acting, dialogue is entirely text based. In it, you play two doctors that use a dream machine to attempt to provide a dying man his last wish, to go to the moon. In order to fulfill this wish you must travel back in time through John’s memories to attempt to change his course in life. You must work back through time in order, starting from the most recent memories to when he is still a small child. On your journey you’ll uncover the secrets of John’s life that shape his personality and that serve as his motives for wishing to go to the moon while on his deathbed.
First and foremost, this is a story driven point and click that investigates the life of a dying a man. If you’re looking for a game with great game mechanics, then you won’t find it here. You will however find a surprisingly heartfelt and emotionally compelling story. You’ll discover hard decisions John has made to protect loved ones as well as tragedies he was faced with at a very young age.
The game starts off fairly simple and quirky. However, it quickly becomes rather deep. The further you get into this roughly four-hour tale, the more you’ll feel for John and relate to pivotal points in his life. Some moments are endearing, while others are quite sad. However, throughout the game your characters, doctors Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts, will provide some comic relief. They’ll throw out pop culture references or break the fourth wall, tongue-in-cheek.
While you play you’ll notice that several objects are seen and mentioned repeatedly. They serve to raise questions in the beginning and later on down the road the game does a great job at explaining why they’re significant. Each time you move further into the recesses of John’s past, you’ll need to complete a short puzzle. It’s the same type of puzzle each time and they seem to be randomly generated. I didn’t notice any progression in difficulty.
There are some blatant issues with the game. I found the most noticeable to be the lack of settings. On PC the game runs in 640×480 only. It’s a jarring transition from any other game I’ve played in years. However, after an hour or so I found I didn’t think about it as much. Another problem was that my clicks were often unresponsive. I also encountered a few random dips in frame rate. Also, the puzzles are incredibly easy. I can understand that Freebird Games wanted the narrative to be the focal point, but the puzzles seemed lazy. They are so easy that they were thirty-second nuisances rather than a welcome addition to the game.
To the Moon is a great game in terms of story. It leads you on for the first fifteen minutes, making you believe it will be a lighthearted tale. But, before long you find things that intrigue and raise questions. After this starts, the story quickly opens up. John’s life turns out to be very interesting and relatable. The end of the game revealed a complete and cohesive story that wrapped up all my questions in a satisfying resolution. However, the game’s puzzles and click unresponsiveness did take away from the overall experience. It’s not a game for everyone, but if you’re a fan of point and clicks with intriguing and well told stories then this is a must.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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