And a Happy Tuesday night to you all! Last week, I wrote about one of the scariest games ever.
Today's going to be a bit lighter, but no less emotional. It's about an indie game, one that I bought sort of randomly, but I'm glad I did.
To The Moon was released only a couple of years ago, in November of 2011. Developed by a small team called Freebird Games, players are cast as two doctors, Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts. They're no ordinary doctors, however. Their "patient" is an elderly man on his deathbed named Johnny. All Johnny ever wanted was to go to the Moon, but he never got the chance. Dr.'s Rosalene and Watts work for a corporation that alters memories for people near death, to give them a chance to live their fantasies before they die.
Of course, things aren't that simple. See, first, the doctors must find out why Johnny wants to go to the Moon-except he can't remember why. Watts and Rosalene must therefore travel into Johnny's subconscious, and layer by layer (working backwards from present day) they attempt to discover what planted the desire for space travel in Johnny. Along the way, you'll basically witness Johnny's entire life, again, going backwards from elderly man to small child.
The first thing you should realize is that To The Moon is more of an adventure game, or even a visual novel, than an RPG, despite the screenshots. The game was designed with RPG Maker XP, but you'll find no battles here (except a joke one in the beginning). As the two Doctors, you'll typically find yourself in a room or other location within Johnny's subconscious, and you'll need to find various objects around the place to cause another object to appear, which serves as the gateway to another memory. There's a tile-flipping puzzle that accompanies each gateway, but it's not hard. That's the gameplay in a nutshell.
But then, you're not playing for the gameplay, you're playing for the story. And this is where To The Moon shines. It's simply one of the most emotional tales ever told in gaming, as far as I'm concerned. Despite the vaguely sci-fi premise, there's a certain believability to all the characters involved, especially between Johnny and his wife, River, who is one of the best written characters ever in my opinion. It gets to a point where you genuinely feel for everyone in the game, even Dr. Watts, who's mostly kind of a cynical jerk (but he's got some hilarious lines).
By the end of it all (which shouldn't take too long-maybe three hours), you're pretty emotionally winded. If you're eyes don't well up by the end, even just a little, then you're made of tougher stuff than I.
Bringing this game together, and in fact making it more than the sum of it's parts, is the soundtrack. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I like my soundtracks.
To The Moon's soundtrack is fantastic. It simply compliments the game perfectly. Here's a beautiful piano song called "For River" that's a recurring theme throughout the game:
The rest of the soundtrack can be bought with the game on Steam. I highly recommend getting both of them if you've got the coin.
So, if you're gaming library' s a little light this week, or you wanna try something different, I can't recommend To The Moon enough. It's the kind of game that catches you off guard and doesn't let go.
As always, hit the comments section!
Thanks to Wikipedia, and Steam.
Next week, we'll check out a game that was HUGE back in the day. Too bad there's 57 varieties of it.