Sep 3, 2012If you're into having your tears tugged at, this will definitely be a change from nights spent curling up on the couch spectating those romance flicks that no one else gets. If you're someone who winds up stuck with the aforementioned individual, originally promised beer and tricked into the awkward Kleenex duty, no guilt will be harbored from missing out.
Awards & Rankings
Universal acclaim- based on 1130 Ratings
Nov 26, 2011I was excited to see this game release from when I heard about it awhile ago. It borrows from the style of the 16-bit video game generationI was excited to see this game release from when I heard about it awhile ago. It borrows from the style of the 16-bit video game generation of yore, and shows the story of a man on his deathbed, who signs up for a program that can help him relive his life in order to achieve his wish.
His wish? He wants to go to the moon.
If you're anything like me, you're going through the first two hours of the game, basically at the brink of bawling like a baby (don't clump me in with those emo kids), with the last thing on your mind having anything to do with the moon. It's a complex story, and the culmination point of it seems farfetched until you let the entire story play before you, and you recognize the beauty of it all.
Let me tell you something. Beauty is a perfect word to describe it. The storytelling is masterful, and complex, and charming. The characters are lovable. You play as the two scientists who assist the man in the pursuit of his dream, and often act as the comic relief for emotionally tense situations. Other times, they show as glimpses of characters who themselves have dark and secreted away emotions and struggles.
The graphics show how aesthetic and detailed something can be when you focus that graphical attention on a style which is otherwise considered to be outdated. If you can masterfully produce something in 16-bit graphics, then you can see it as masterful as someone who built a complicated 3D system. The difference is that you have a much harder time showing a masterful presentation in 3D that ages well, since the medium is constantly being updated. The odd place of this current-day 16-bit presentation looks easily as masterful as the most detailed presentations of 16-bit classics.
In short, I loved it.
So, here's the part where I provide some criticism. The game looks very much like an old turn-based RPG classic. It plays like a point-and-click adventure, and much of the actual 'gameplay' is a set of sliding puzzles. The intent, it seems, is to focus much of the attention of the player to be on the story (which, as previously stated, is a strong point worthy of being pointed toward), but after all is said and done, one wonders about how necessary it was to have the title called a 'game'.
Could the presentation have survived without the gameplay mechanics? The sliding puzzles, certainly, but one of the best things about a video game over, say, a book or a movie, is that you have the ability to interact with the world to get the most out of the storyline. There were a few things that I admired that could have only been done through use of gameplay- notes which get altered by untrustworthy narrators, and the like, but beyond that much of the exploration is required to progress the game, and the interactivity between the player and the environment is slim.
In fact, the game 'reads' much like a visual novel. You do macguffins, and it makes story happen. But they jokingly acknowledged it several times, and clearly made an effort to keep it at a necessary minimum. To be fair, the turn-taking RPG itself stuff itself with macguffin'd tasks and elements. I dare you to tell me that the actual 'gameplay' in a Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior game is good. Enjoying the battle element out of a turn-taking RPG is like liking calculators and Excel spreadsheets for the thrilling gameplay. You do a thing, which makes you feel like you're progressing.
But, gamewise, is there a better way to include gameplay into a title which wants to focus as much as possible onto the story? Because of the detective-like elements of gameplay, and the articulation of the scientists would be better utilized with some of the elements which made Phoenix Wright into a game. I mean, sure, I don't know anything more about law than I did when I started playing the games, but I sure as hell felt like a lawyer. Some of the clues to the mystery of the man you are helping might be better solved if a gameplay mechanic forced the player to draw some of the conclusions itself.
The end of the game was a clear and complete story of the man whose life you explored. But what is opened to you is a very interesting world, prime with opportunity for further exploration. So long as the charm of the two scientists is not over-explored early on, I expect myself to be able to enjoy the sequels that the game's conclusion certainly seemed to be hinting at. Hopefully I can man the hell up before I play them.
Extra Note: I want to give special commendation to the game To the Moon for including a character who has special needs successfully into the story. I won't be too specific, since every single thing about this game should be experienced through the game itself, but all I want to say is that it was amazing to get a realistic human characterization without getting the 'a very special episode' feeling. Bravo.… Full Review »
Dec 24, 2011To the Moon was both pleasing and disappointing... you see, its plot is great, not much to argue there. I even cried by its end, because itTo the Moon was both pleasing and disappointing... you see, its plot is great, not much to argue there. I even cried by its end, because it actually made me ponder my personal values. How many games truly manage to have that effect on a person? But the writing can often be hit or miss. It tries too hard to be funny when it shouldn't, an issue often linked to the character of Dr. Neil, who in many scenes crushes the mood that the game tries so hard to set. The soundtrack and art design are clearly lovingly built, and are a big plus.
Really, To the Moon is worth playing, but feels bipolar. It feels bipolar in how it is trying to weave a complex tale that requires so much thinking and emotional investment from the player, and at the same time goes out of its way to make vomit jokes. It's a shame that it doesn't take itself more seriously. The post-ending also feels direly unnecessary, presenting a confusing and self-serving commercial hook that only dampens the impact of the real ending.… Full Review »
Nov 26, 2011Few other games have even come close to achieving what this little indie game has in it's 4 hour long gameplay period. To the moon is a sortFew other games have even come close to achieving what this little indie game has in it's 4 hour long gameplay period. To the moon is a sort of game which makes you howl with laughter one moment while making you weep the next. It uses every single pixel on screen to mesmerize you and astonish you as to how much emotion can be portrayed using a 16 bit look. The story takes the supreme precedence in this adventure/RPG game (though there is almost no RPG elements- apart from a very humorous jab at jRPG early in the game). The creator uses the game mostly to paint a wonderful story surrounding love, adventure, life and death. Some might not like it since gameplay takes the back seat, but I assure you that this is the kind of game which makes most of the movies and tv shows look petty. While the gameplay elements are pretty straightforward for anyone to pickup quickly, there are some small challenges along the way concerning the number of moves to complete intermittent puzzles.
The game does falter a little bit towards the end, making use of tedious chasing sequences at one point but that is small enough to be forgiven.
All in all this is a game which raises indie gaming to a whole different level in terms of its storytelling and the thoughtfulness of its premise- I might say as good as Braid and Limbo.
Do yourself a favor and play this game.… Full Review »