To The Moon
"To the Moon is a game you must play. Those four hours pack a real punch, inviting you to consider just how a single event can change your destiny. For now, you should take control of your own destiny and play To the Moon. You'll be glad you did." - Gamespot.com
"The convincing banter between the two doctors, the tale of John's carer and her relationship with her children, the stories of friends and families and how they intersect along the passage of life... To the Moon takes the details of human life in its stride, and delivers them with a breezy effortlessness." - Eurogamer.net
Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts have rather peculiar jobs:
They give people another chance to live. Literally.
There exists a technology that allows doctors to weave artificial memories, such that a patient can request attempts to alter their mind, and wake up with memories of things that didn't actually happen.
However, since these new memories are permanent, the conflict between them and the existing authentic memories clash in such a way that it ceases the person's ability to properly function.
Thus, the operation is only done to people on their deathbeds, to fulfill what they wish they had done with their lives. . . but didn't.
The technology requires the doctors to step into the memories of the patient, which are reconstructed as interactive scenes. The doctors then gradually traverse backwards through memories of the patient's life until they reach childhood -- at which point, the wish of the patient in present time would be transferred over.
Along with the doctors' influence, the patient (as a child) could then lead an entire different life inside their head, working toward and fulfilling their dying wish themselves.
And if all goes well, they would wake up, having lived the dream life they never had, and embrace a brief moment of blissful fulfillment.
Shortly after, they'd draw their last breath.
This particular story follows Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts' attempt to fulfill the dream of the dying elderly man, Johnny. In their mission to do so, they traverse backwards through the man’s memories, unfolding his curious life story before their eyes.
With each step back in time, a new fragment of Johnny's past is revealed. And as the two doctors piece together the puzzled events that spanned a life time, they seek to find out just why the frail old man chose his dying wish to be what it is.
And Johnny's last wish is, of course. . . to go to the moon.
A Beautiful "Game"Kinmarr | Dec. 2, 2013 | See all Kinmarr's reviews »
Calling this a "game" isn't entirely accurate I think. It's working more in the vein of interactive stories such as The Path. I bought this game on a few reviews that mentioned the powerful storytelling. I was skeptical, but for the price I thought it was worth the risk. The storytelling in the game was really moving and I challenge anyone to get through it without crying. This won't be a game for everyone, seeing as it has very limited gameplay. If you're interested in a wonderful story, with great writing and a great soundtrack though then look no further than To The Moon. If you're looking for another Call of Duty or explosions then keep on looking.
This is a game to imitateBalmong7 | Nov. 23, 2013 | See all Balmong7's reviews »
To The Moon is a beautifully well written and scored interactive novel, and that really is the best way to describe it, an interactive novel. You point and click your way through levels solving obvious puzzles and becoming attached to characters that you know you may never see show up again. Through plot twists that will make you cry and many moments of comic relief, (including a zombie section) To The Moon will capture you and leave you begging for more.
Beautiful story, mediocre gameplaybjarven | Nov. 21, 2013 | See all bjarven's reviews »
The game is beautifully made with stunning retro graphics and the plot is deep and compelling. This could have been a great story driven movie-like game. The gameplay itself is rather dull with some simple puzzles and fetch quests - don’t get me wrong tho its well worth playing. However, the somewhat juvenile conversations between the main characters goes against the overall feeling of the mature and touching storyline - and in the end I find their presence in the game unnecessary and annoying. All in all this game is all about the emotional story.
You will cry..a lot.hadouken123456 | Nov. 15, 2013 | See all hadouken123456's reviews »
I have never played a game with such beautiful storytelling. You become so attached to the characters and engrossed with the narrative that you almost forget you are playing a game, and feel more like you are reading one of the best novels ever written. The developer has truly proven that video games are a work of art by crafting this masterpiece.
Moving Narrative, Anemic GameplayBavarianGod | Nov. 4, 2013 | See all BavarianGod's reviews »
There are some games we play for the experience and others that we play for the sheer entertainment they provide. One could argue that the finest examples of what video games offer balance both. Some games manage to do one or the other exceptionally well but fail to strike that coveted balance. To the Moon is part of the latter category. As a “game” it is rather anemic but it does manage to excel as a narrative experience. While some balk at the idea of taking part in an interactive story, those who are open to the concept will find To the Moon to be fulfilling though not without flaw. To the Moon opens with you taking control of Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts, two members of Sigmund Corps., who are on a job to help fulfill the dying with of a man named Johnny Wyles. Watts and Rosalene have a rather interesting piece of tech supplied to them by their employer to accomplish this rather weighty task. They can enter people's memories and implant suggestions earlier in their memories, which essentially create paradoxes leading them to fabricate memories that never occurred. In Johnny's case he wishes to go to the moon but he isn't completely sure why... This makes the Duo of Watts and Rosalene rather complicated. They must take steps backward through his memories via mementos in an effort to understand why he wants to go to the moon. Hindsight being 20/20 it should be easy to figure out how to get Johnny to the moon right? If it were there wouldn't be much of a plot. Johnny's memories are rather cloudy and his wife's unusual behavior makes Johnny's desire only more confusing and unusual. The plot of To the Moon is ultimately a love story. The world doesn't need to be saved, a powerful artifact needn't be secured, there are no nuclear warheads, no physical conflict. In this regard To the Moon is unique in the video game world and it is an appreciable step forward in terms of expanding what a video game can be. It also manages to present some touching and very human moments. More sensitive players may even shed a tear or two. It's more touching moments are frustratingly countered by poor attempts at humor by Dr. Watts. A large portion of his dialogue is cringe-worthy. He likes to make obnoxious puns and pop culture references that often spoil the mood. There is room for humor in a game like this but what's on offer is the stuff of really bad fan fiction. Humor aside the writing is solid though not exceptional. There are themes of individuality and identity woven throughout the narrative and flesh out the characters quite well. Aside from Dr. Watt's groan inducing humor I was also disappointed by the lack of development for the characters that you actually control. The story centers squarely on Johnny and those in his life but we learn next to nothing about Watts and Rosalene. It would have been nice to learn more about them and their relationship. Perhaps the strongest aspect of To the Moon is the music. Made in RPG Maker, To the Moon lacks spoken dialogue but the music tells you more than words could. The soundtrack is driven by piano melodies that are sometimes underscored by string arrangements. Do yourself a favor if this games appeals to you in anyway and buy the game bundled with the soundtrack. If this is not your kind of game just buy the soundtrack. Also doing an impressive job carrying the emotional weight of the story are the visuals. The 16 bit sprites are detailed and great care has been taken to get them to emote in meaningful ways. The creator's of To the Moon must have studied hard from the book Final Fantasy VI wrote on how to get characters to emote with simple visuals. Gameplay consists of searching for objects which allow the protagonists to use mementos to progress deeper into Johnny's memories. Once the memento is unlocked a simple puzzle must be completed in order to travel back. This process repeats itself through most of the game. More diligent players won't find anything off of the critical path. No extra details or plot nuances are added by talking to characters multiple times and only NPCs of importance can be interacted with. It's on the gameplay front that To the Moon takes it's biggest nose dive. The puzzles are not difficult enough nor varied enough to be rewarding and not being able to gain extra insight into the game's events by talking to NPCs or finding objects of interest really diminish the interactive element of To the Moon. Also, by emphasizing narrative there is little replay value for this three hour game. What To the Moon lacks as a game it mostly makes up for as an experience. An incredible soundtrack and strong visual presentation makes up for failed attempts at humor and easy, repetitive puzzles. While To the Moon isn't for everyone, it is a very unique game that offers a love story that is not an ancillary component to a more grandiose plot. It is an appreciable dose of humanity in a market cluttered by games with narratives rife with machismo, self aggrandizement, and over the top acts of heroism. Here is to hoping that Freebird games works on the gameplay portion of their next release while maintaining their commitment to presenting narratives that are touching and humble.