Indie PC Game “To The Moon” A Tear Jerker, But Where’s the Game? + Spoilers

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I didn’t mind the story centered gameplay but there’s no real challenge to this game.

There’s only two types of puzzles: Search for memory orbs in a preset area and flip tiles to uncover the entire picture in as little moves as possible. Memory orbs wasn’t very hard to find and they’re handed to you by just walking into rooms. I had slight problem with the horse riding scene because I couldn’t see the orb bar and I wasn’t sure what I had to do. Turns out you just need to catch up to Miss Apathy and your partner for the orbs then turn it all in at the covered shed where the last piece is locate. Getting stuck on a piece of weed is mighty annoying, though that maybe b/c of the clunky character movement/control. Anyway, it’s not very hard. Ditto for flipping tiles. Basically, the solid tiles disappear and blank tiles turn solid if you flip that row or column. With that knowledge in mind, you can strategically place tiles to make them all disappear. Oh, there’s one section you have to dodge floor spikes and mobs of zombie Eva but again its easy as there’s no real penalty for taking hits other than slight time loss.

I don’t interact with the game in a meaningful way. None of my actions meant anything or came with any penalty. My choices don’t matter because the story is predetermined, there’s no skill required for actions in the game, and no dexterity required with the keyboard/mouse. The puzzles felt like a mindless time sink since the level of complexity is so low. The horse riding segment was probably the most engaging interaction.

Does it have a crazy, awesome original plot? No. Cliché? Yes. Like it? The story, yes. Would I pay $10 for it? No, too damn short; a common trait indie games share. If you want a novel with very light, busy-work puzzles then this is for you. Gamers looking for more interactive, skill based games should look elsewhere.

+1 For autoloot. Picking up individual pieces of loot has to be the most inane game feature ever conceived.
+1 For Dragon Warrior fan service.
-1 For excessive meme and slang dialogues

Spoiler’s past this point.

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The plot is like Vanilla Sky and Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You follow two scientists, the no nonsense Eva Rosalene and the wisecracking Neil Watts, hired by an old man, John Wyles, to make his wish come true — which they do by entering his mind and altering his memories. John is incapacitated in bed so it’s the housekeeper who tells them his wish, he wants to go to the moon. They jump backward through his memories at various phases of his life where his late wife, River, is always a predominate figure. You learn River has a medical condition, and John is in financial trouble because he insists on building her a house even though he can’t pay her mounting medical bills. I thought she was autistic but the game calls it a personality disorder. She seems unnaturally apathetic and socially distant but John the masochist takes a shine to her rather unique personality even though it puts a strain on their relationship later. The scientists are only able to reach his teen years, when it seems he first meets River. Since they are unable to travel back any farther, they try to alter his memories from that point forward and make him pursue a career as an astronaut but they fail miserably. They surmise a life altering event happened past the fragmented area of his mind and learn his childhood memories was blacked out on purpose. Impatient to complete their contract, they figure out a way to transverse the memory gap and discover John had a twin brother who was accidently killed by their mother while backing out the family car. Traveling back farther, the scientists learn John met River as a child. As they bond while stargazing, she explains her belief the stars are lighthouses lighting up the night sky to talk to each other but are too far apart to hear. They create a rabbit constellation together, using the moon as the belly, before John’s mother calls for him to leave. Before they part he gifts her with his carnival prize, a platypus doll, and they promise to meet again; if they can’t, he’ll meet her on the moon. Though John was forced to forget River along with the traumatic death of his brother, she never forgot him as seen by the doll always by her side. River’s obsession with folding origami rabbits was to make John remember the first time they met. The truth died with her, and for John, the forgotten memory turned into an inexplicable desire to go to he moon. Over Watt’s protest, Rosalene decides to save his brother and remove River so John will become an astronaut to fulfill their clients final wish. As planned, John makes it to NASA HQ but, to Watt’s surprise, so does River. Instead of erasing her from John’s memory, Rosalene had merely changed the point in time they meet. They are still drawn toward each other as if driven by fate and follow a similar life path as in John’s true memories: meet up with friends at the bar, build a house at the same location, and marry in front of the lighthouse. As the scientists watch from a bridge, a space shuttle launches for the moon. In the cockpit, River and John hold hands as the moon looms before them. With the promise finally complete, John’s heartbeat in the background goes silent signaling his death. The house is willed to the housekeeper and the scientists move on to their next job.

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