Gamer on a Budget #6 – To The Moon

Gamer on a Budget #6 – To The Moon

Reviewed by William LJ Galaini

To The Moon
Developer: Freebird Games
Price: $9.99
Where: Steam
Platform: PC

To the Moon is a delightful and charming story told through completely the wrong venue.

The story is the exclusive focus of this title placing us into the shoes of two Inception-esque professionals that have been hired to go into the memories of a dying elderly man to alter them with the aim of fulfilling his final wish. We learn about his life backwards; each glimpse raising questions and providing answers not unlike a more tender version of the film Memento. Hmmm. There’s a lot going on here that Christopher Nolan would enjoy.

When I say the story is the exclusive focus, I truly mean it. You move your characters about with the arrow keys and gather items and select dialogue options but there is zero combat, minimal puzzle solving, minimal exploration, and no interaction with the environment other than movement. You are a passenger of the game world, and this is even playfully acknowledged near the beginning with a hilarious nod toward the game’s JRPG look.

Freebird Games clearly did not have a lot of options on the table in regards to producing a polished gaming title to convey their desired narrative. One goes to war with the army they have, and Freebird used RPGmaker as their weapon. This created an odd by-product. The controls are beyond unresponsive and clunky and the sound engine is low-grade despite impressive music. The game feels like a relic, and that isn’t necessarily a compliment. Perhaps within time, Freebird with have access to technology and gameplay ideas that will reinforce their ambitions instead of shackle them.

No real gameplay, poor control and interaction, and heavy-handed but genuinely moving is the best way to describe To the Moon. It is manga elevated from the page into something a tad more interactive and less juvenile. If you can tolerate a game that you actually do not play while desiring a strong story, then To the Moon may be for you.

Why you would buy it:
Good characters
A compelling mystery at the core
Pleasant music
You need a break from shooting zombies
‘Terms of Endearment: The Game’ sounds awesome to you

Why you would pass on it:
You prefer your jrpg’s with actual rpg
Interface is bad by any standard
No replay value

Recommended for: Mature and patient gamers who want a love story that feels real

This Gamer on a Budget review was originally published on the old Winterwind Productions site in October, 2013, prior to our switch to WordPress in 2020.

William LJ Galaini
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