Review – To the Moon
To the Moon is an adventure game by the indie developer Freebird Games. While it was originally released in 2011, it was re-released to the Android and IOS back in May of 2017, so we decided to play it since its sequel, Finding Paradise, just came out in December.
To the Moon is a beautifully told story of two doctors who use futuristic technology to grant the last wish of a dying man. Using advanced machinery, they can artificially alter his memories and make it so he can live out his heart’s greatest desire during his final moments. Upon meeting him within his mind, he tells them his deepest desire is to go to the moon, but he cannot remember exactly why that is his biggest wish. In order to solve the mystery, the doctors must regress further and further into his memories to try to pin point the source of the longing.
The game not only delivers a sad, yet heartwarming look into an old man’s life, but also features a good amount of humor between the two doctors, Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts. They constantly bicker, use puns, or make jokes so bad they’re great. The game also pokes fun at itself regularly, helping to make up for some of its shortcomings.
The gameplay is what I had the biggest issue with for the game. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad, it’s just that there isn’t much of it. It’s a basic point-and-click style of game, which would be fine if there was more you could explore. As it is, there are only a few things that you can interact with that will access memories, and once you get them all you’re off to the next segment. I understand that this isn’t an open exploration type of game, but it still felt a little too linear. I would have liked to have been able to investigate other items or people and gotten a humorous line or scene or even had more of the memory revealed if you found some hidden item. Instead the game holds your hand every step of the way so there’s really no way for you to stray from the story even for a moment.
There are a few puzzles in the game that consist of turning over sections of a picture to reveal the image and allow you to interact with it. They start off incredibly simple and get progressively more challenging, but even the most difficult puzzle is easy to solve. A variety of puzzles with more difficulty would have been a nice addition to this otherwise straightforward game.
The graphics are simple, with a charming pixelated look reminiscent of an older style of game. The colors are vibrant and the characters are animated well enough to properly convey the emotions they are feeling. The backdrops are beautiful when they need to be and purposefully simple at other times.
The music is arguably the best part of To the Moon. The score, composed by Kan Gao, is absolutely stunning. It uses mostly a single piano, but is occasionally accompanied by other instruments. It ranges from somber melodies to hauntingly beautiful pieces that perfectly fit the feel and narrative of the game. It brings the emotional punch needed to fully enrich the player’s experience.
Overall, I’d have to say that To the Moon is definitely a game worth playing if you like story driven games. Its lack of any innovative type of gameplay is forgivable due to the deep storyline, wonderful characters, and fantastic musical score. I found the premise of the game to be a refreshing change to many of the other point-and-click style adventures.
To the Moon is available now on PC, Android and iOS.
Reviewed on PC with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.