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To The Moon
November 9, 2011 7:58 PM   Subscribe

To The Moon is a stunningly good game about death, love and memories. If you love games and you enjoy love stories, I highly urge you to download it and play it immediately. Here's a review, but you shouldn't read it. You should just play it. Warning: Have kleenex handy.
posted by empath (26 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
The full game takes about 4-5 hours to play. There's a free demo that lets you play through the first hour.
posted by empath at 8:00 PM on November 9, 2011


Okay, I'll give it a shot, but this better be fun!
posted by aubilenon at 8:02 PM on November 9, 2011


To the Moon is also available from Desura if you're one of those people who'll only buy a game if it's on steam Desura.
posted by yeoz at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2011


I don't know if fun is the word I'd use-- though there are a lot of light hearted parts in it. It's a tear jerker. I'm pretty sure they could offer a 'tears or your money back' guarantee. I was basically sobbing by the end of it.
posted by empath at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2011


(spoiler: PC only)
posted by nonlocal at 8:28 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is completely different to other romance games I've played where you need a kleenex handy
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:35 PM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's not a romance game or a dating game at all... hope I didn't imply that.
posted by empath at 8:36 PM on November 9, 2011


The excellent soundtrack is available here.
posted by empath at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2011


I can't believe there are still PC-only games.

I remember walking into Egghead Software when I was a kid and having to walk jealously past aisle after aisle of awesome-looking games for PCs until finally getting to the Macintosh shelf and finding that my best option was Math Blaster. I remember when King's Quest finally came out and it was like a godsend. Finally, an actual game that I could play. Nowadays Apple is one of the major corporate giants and every third person owns an iPod...and still, there are PC-only games?

It's like telling me that you're still using floppy disks or a dial-up modem, or those printers that used paper with the holes on the sides. I didn't even know it existed anymore.
posted by cribcage at 8:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


The screenshots remind me a little bit of Crono's house from Chrono Trigger. Yes, I'm playing this when I get the time.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:48 PM on November 9, 2011


I can't believe there are still PC-only games.

It was made by one guy with RPG maker, cut him some slack.
posted by empath at 8:49 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


empath: "I don't know if fun is the word I'd use-- though there are a lot of light hearted parts in it. It's a tear jerker. I'm pretty sure they could offer a 'tears or your money back' guarantee. I was basically sobbing by the end of it"

Eponysterical.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:53 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe there are still PC-only games.

"The confusing thing about PCs is that you go to the store and there are so many games...but on the Mac...there are just cix."
posted by Wink Ricketts at 8:57 PM on November 9, 2011


To be fair, in addition to being irritated at being denied access to the game, I'm also annoyed at the implicit dismissal, upthread, of those icky romance simulations.

Thus, here are your obligatory sour grapes: I played this game back when it was Hokago Shonen.
posted by pts at 9:17 PM on November 9, 2011


I played the first 4 or 5 um... scenarios of the demo until it bugged out and kicked me to the desktop. It's OK. It's not really a game in any real sense, more than it's a visual novel. I will say that this is one of the more impressive kludges I've ever seen for RPG maker (this also explains why it's Windows only).

I really can't say I'm compelled enough to spend 12 bucks on it.
posted by codacorolla at 9:25 PM on November 9, 2011


If you pause it during the game, it makes a great white noise machine with waves and wind sounds! I paused it to take a call, went to the bed to talk and after I finished I just sort of stayed in bed listening to the pause music while drifting in and out!
posted by Three Day Monk at 9:58 PM on November 9, 2011


Too funny. I was just reading this on RPS.

(now about that Total Recall MMO...)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:25 PM on November 9, 2011


If only there were some way to run Windows on Mac hardware!
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:01 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The "Trailer" kinda made me want to kill myself. total schmaltz, annoying, cloying naivety does not equal 'fun'.
posted by mary8nne at 1:31 AM on November 10, 2011


To the Moon was a lovely experience that doesn't quite live up to all the hype it's getting on the various gaming sites. A few takeaways:

* Storytelling was handled superbly. The game did a much better job adding reveals and twists (such as why "to the moon", the nickname "Joey", etc) using the reverse chronological conceit than did Memento or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and rewarded the player very well for paying attention to details during Act I. Film schools ought to use this game as an example of how to drive this type of narrative.

* The actual writing, however, was rather uneven at times. There were tons of wonderful, writerly touches throughout (River's metaphors about lighthouses and stars were very apt at humanizing what relationships must be like for those with her "condition"); on the other hand, many of the slapstick elements and other offhand comments were jarringly inconsistent in tone, and would have benefited from the services of a good editor. It's a shame that so many highly memorable scenes and "labor of love" details were mixed in with the occasional ham-fisted and forced, mawkish efforts. Neil's lines were a particularly scattershot mix of entertaining versus annoying.

* The constant fourth-wall breaking jokes were a cheap and insincere way of easing dramatic tension. By Act III when the characters were commenting on how it's too bad that the best, most interesting parts of a certain vehicle were being blocked by a window (from the player's vantage point, not the characters'), I had already begun rolling my eyes. However, the epic squirrel battle near the beginning was a great way of having fun with the player's experience of discovering the game's "rules" at the start.

* Like the writing, the gameplay was a very mixed bag. Act I played very repetitively, but the little minigames elsewhere were sometimes used appropriately: lining up the mementos during Act II was a simple way of getting the player to make the same connections between those objects within the narrative, while the extended, chaotically surreal hallway sequence in Act III gave a great sense of the tension and uncertainty during the climatic "rewriting" process. Ultimately though, To the Moon is more of an experience, since as a game there just isn't very much "there" there. (Contrast against Ico, where the constant interactivity between the protagonists during the puzzle-solving became an important component to the player's sense of emotional bonding between the two characters.)

* Last but not least, music and sound design were very effectively handled. Mood changes were deft and often surprising, and the main piano theme was chameleonesque in how well it fit into many different scenarios. One particular violin note during the end sequence was terribly, terribly effective as a gut-punch. Definitely some of the highlights of the experience.

In the end, the game delivers in an emotionally satisfying way. I disagree with all the laurels of "classic" being heaped on it because I'm skeptical about its ability to age well (for instance, throwaway Street Fighter references are only going to get more annoying with time). Ultimately though, this is very much worth a playthrough, and both the game and the attention it's been receiving gives me a lot of hope for the future of gaming and interactive fiction. The moon is full tonight, and for a long time I stood outside looking at it while imagining that we, too, would be so lucky as to be able to have our own lives' stories rewritten as was done for John and River. To the moon, indeed.
posted by DaShiv at 2:47 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like the writing, the gameplay was a very mixed bag. Act I played very repetitively, but the little minigames elsewhere were sometimes used appropriately: lining up the mementos during Act II was a simple way of getting the player to make the same connections between those objects within the narrative, while the extended, chaotically surreal hallway sequence in Act III gave a great sense of the tension and uncertainty during the climatic "rewriting" process. Ultimately though, To the Moon is more of an experience, since as a game there just isn't very much "there" there. (Contrast against Ico, where the constant interactivity between the protagonists during the puzzle-solving became an important component to the player's sense of emotional bonding between the two characters.)

I thought it had 'just enough' gameplay to justify using a game engine to tell the story. I think the story might have been done better with another medium entirely, but it would have had to have been much different, and I'm not sure it would have been as efficient at triggering the waterworks without the player involvement in solving the mystery.

Ultimately though, this is very much worth a playthrough, and both the game and the attention it's been receiving gives me a lot of hope for the future of gaming and interactive fiction.

I'd love to see Rockstar or Valve throw a pile of money at this guy and Christine Love and see what they could do with an actual budget. 100 hour games or games with multi-million dollar budgets have never been able to wring an ounce of the emotion that this game got out of me with some music, text and sprites in a few hours.
posted by empath at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe there are still PC-only games.

Explain to me again why he should double his development costs to make his one-off RPG usable by a group of users whose hardware purchases have slotted them firmly in the "does not care about ability to play games" camp?
posted by Mayor West at 6:15 AM on November 10, 2011


The mac/pc thing is a huge derail, but it might not be "doesn't care about playing games", but rather "hates windows more than they love games", or "bought an xbox for games", which is the category I was in until I bought a Windows box just to play Starcraft 2.

This is one of the few cases where I wish the game had been done in flash because there's such a high barrier for entry to get people to buy and play an indie game like this, especially one that doesn't easily fit into any categories. It would be a shame if it didn't find the audience it deserves because of it.
posted by empath at 6:27 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "Trailer" kinda made me want to kill myself.

Yes, but did you hear his gameplay introduction? It was pretty hilarious. My favorite line - after significant hushed dramatic introductory statements: "Oh, and I'm kind of whispering right now because it is 4am." Also, his stated goal for the game is "for you to watch the ending and say 'Wow, that was (beep)ing satisfying... may I have another?"
posted by jph at 6:53 AM on November 10, 2011


I'm an RPGMaker junky, and can't wait to play this. Danged work.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2011


Well I never cried at a game before and that certainly ticked that box for me.

I can't really see why you'd need more meaty game elements in this. It's not needed. Performing the actions is enough to build tension and connections, I didn't come away wishing I had done more logic puzzles, nor would they add much?

The production value really seals the experience together. The fantastic transitions, effective level design and well constructed puzzle flow keeps everything wrapped up together. Long walk times and lots of basic gripes in lesser games were kept out. I would happily call it a classic because the production value is so high combined with a strong emotional impact.

It's something I thoroughly enjoyed and will be making people play.
posted by Submiqent at 1:13 PM on November 10, 2011


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