Steam just unveiled its majestic and wonderful Big Picture Mode. I was using it lying in bed and scrolling around the fantastic streamlined dashboard on my tv also with an Xbox 360 controller. I decided to splurge and buy myself a game to try with my new set up. To The Moon had previously caught my eye when I noticed a friend bought it. The game was just released on Steam, although it has been out for almost a year. So consider this a late review. The game resembles many of my past, the Super Nintendo era RPG. Though To The Moon is not itself an RPG, did it live up to my extremely high standards? Head past the break to find out.
Like I previously stated though the game is very styled to look like an old RPG, it is more of an interactive story. I know, sounds fairly boring right? Well believe me when I tell you this game sucked me in and held me tight until the very end. I didn’t know much about the game when I bought it, but since I’m such a sucker for the old RPGs I bought it regardless. I’ll tell you the synopsis of the game, but be aware they might be considered spoilers.
You take the role of Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts. Their job is to grant 1 final wish to a dying person. Kind of like the Make A Wish Foundation, except they travel into the mind and memories of the dying in order to basically implant a new memory that of which is their last wish. In To The Moon the Doctors travel into the mind of John Wyles to grant his final wish. To go to the moon.
Let’s start with the story. It’s a beautifully crafted love story, one of they greatest I’ve ever seen/read/experienced. Especially in the video game world. The game starts you off in present day as you travel backwards in time through John’s memories. Learning little by little about his life. But backwards of course. So you get snip-its of things from his past but you don’t know what they are in reference to. The game reveals thing’s about John and his wife River that make your mind race. Like a lot of my favorite TV shows, they open up doors and you start to question everything. And bit by bit those doors are closed as you progress through the game. The love story between River and John told in his memories is incredibly crafted. I was constantly surprised by the story. It’s not all heart wrenchingly serious either. Dr. Watts has quite the sense of humor, and many pop culture references are made throughout the game. You can also semi alter the game by choosing which Doctor to do certain things.
I noticed some of the dialogue was a little odd. Almost as if it wasn’t translated correctly. But it wasn’t anything game changing.
There is nothing out of this world about the graphics in the game. But it isn’t needed to tell the story. It’s a great fit for the game and leaves me feeling nostalgic for my Super Nintendo. Something I really liked was the interactivity of the characters. And by that I mean they actually did things like picked up phones, other items, hugged, etc. Where as a lot of games skate around actually having to do the animations.
The soundtrack is incredible. All original music done by Kan Gao and Laura Shigihara (Zombies on Your Lawn, Plants vs. Zombies). The music is, haunting, scary, beautiful, heartwarming, fun and it all fits so perfectly it gave me chills at times. The only problem I had with it was it got a little repetitive. But it still all fit so well.
The gameplay was simple, and there isn’t much to it. You spend most of your time enjoying the story and searching around for different memories. You don’t do much aside from walking around and interacting with people and objects.
The game took me about 5 hours to beat. The only reason I didn’t finish it in 1 sit down is because it got to be about 4:30 in the morning and I got incredibly tired. But I honestly dreamt about the game when I went to bed and played it and finished it when I got home from work.
The Final Word: I highly recommend To The Moon. If you’re a grown man who isn’t ashamed to cry, this game is for you. Though the game was released almost a year ago, I still couldn’t keep my feelings about it a secret. The people must know!
This review is based on the PC version of To the Moon.
You can get To The Moon right now on Steam for $7.99 (a discount price until September 14th), or $9.99 and that includes the soundtrack. I didn’t opt for the soundtrack and god damn it do I regret it.