To the Moon…
“To the Moon”
A game like nothing I’ve every played before. While most games avoid topics like autism, mortality, growing up and regret “To the Moon” embraces them. Kan Gao, the games director and composer, tells an airtight narrative, even with the varying timelines the games story is perfectly executed.
On the note of autism, two of the characters are diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. One of the characters is diagnosed early in life and the other later in life. Treatment is hinted at as are some of the symptoms. The game almost gives you a peek into the life of some one with Asperger’s syndrome, from an outside perspective.
“To the Moon” takes place a little bit in the future, where on your death bed Sigmund Corp. can use technology to go into your mind and make one of your dreams come true. In the game it seems it is common practice among people, creating a fake life where all of their dreams came true. “To the Moon” highlights one specific case tackled by Dr. Niel Watts and Dr. Eva Rosalene of Sigmund Corp. Johnny Wyle, an elderly man on his death bed, has one rather vague wish. He wants to go to the moon, when asked about his reasoning he is unsure why.
Your time in the game is spent hopping deeper and deeper into his memories. With each leap your learn more about Johnny’s life. Eva and Niel use a rather simple method to fulfill the patients dream. It involves planting an idea early in childhood, that idea becomes the sole focus of the patients life, growing until that dream is eventually fulfilled.
The game plays like a point and click adventure. You explore Johnny’s memories, collecting colored orbs from significant things about each event. Interestingly, background people in the memories are represented as human shaped blobs of static. To leap between events there is a simple puzzle mini game. There is no way to lose the mini game, only a counter telling you the least possible moves the puzzle can be completed in.
The music, composed by Kan Gao, is adds another amazing element to the game. While mostly, simple piano tracks they evoke copious amounts of emotion. Further more, 50% of sales from the official soundtrack of to the moon get donated to charities for autism.
The true magic comes as you watch Johnny’s life unfold in front of you. Backtracking through the life of an elderly man from his deathbed to his early childhood, you truly see how life unravels. As you play through the game and start to make your own connections about the story it can become bitter sweet.
I would truly suggest trying out the game, the story is something everyone should experience. Keep in mind it is currently part of the steam summer sale, going for $3.74.