If you had one last wish, what would it be? To be incredibly rich? To know the meaning of life? To travel around the world? To go, to the moon?
That’s Johnny’s wish. He doesn’t know why, but it is. He wants to go to the moon. And he doesn’t have much time left.
That’s where you come in. In To The Moon you play as Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts of Sigmund Corp., a company that can alter someone’s memories, permanently, to grant them their deepest desires before they die. Johnny Wyles is an elderly widower on the brink of death, and it’s up to you to fulfill his dream before it’s too late.
To do this you must relive Johnny’s life in reverse, gradually making your way through each stage of his life. Starting from his current elderly state, travelling through his adult life, teenage years, finally reaching his childhood. To progress through each stage you must interact with the people and objects you encounter in the respective memory, once you’ve pointed and clicked your way through the stage all that’s left to do is to solve a simple puzzle and then it’s time to move on. Gameplay-wise there’s little depth to it, but that’s not what makes To The Moon so compelling. It’s the events you witness throughout Johnny’s life and characters you meet along the way.
There will be moments during your journey that shock you, that make you smile, that make you sad. Books have made me cry many a time, films also, but a game? I struggle to recall ever crying during a game. To The Moon came very close. Freebird’s game is extremely well written and there’s a great rapport between the two playable characters. Neil’s script is particularly good and will have you laughing throughout the entirety of the relatively short (4-5 hours) playtime.
Accompanying you on this adventure is a wonderful soundtrack. In my previous review for holdupnow I raved about Hotline Miami’s pulsating beats, To The Moon’s gentle piano-tunes are very good but in an entirely different way. Simply put, it’s beautiful. So much so that I even attempted to learn the dainty title track, ‘For River‘, myself. I failed. I’ll just keep listening to it instead.
If you’re looking for complex gameplay mechanics then look elsewhere, but if you want a game where you can just sit back and watch the story unfold, I cannot recommend this enough.