It is not that I intentionally go out of my way to find and review games that divide opinion. It just kind of happens. The game that I am looking at today, To The Moon, manages to divide people in more ways that I would normally expect.
The first thing that I must talk about is how much of a game this title actually is. To put it bluntly, I think that the term ‘interactive narrative’ is a better classification than ‘game’. Of the mechanics it uses that are most closely aligned with normal games, their implementation here can only be described as basic and simple. Puzzles would not challenge a child. Mechanics do not encompass the player.
However, I think that for this game they don’t need to. The simple graphics, limited player interaction and amazing music just further the relationship between player and characters. Make no mistake, it is this narrative that you will fall in love with. It takes the player on a journey through a persons life. You follow in the footsteps of their history and experience the highs and the lows. You connect the dots between key moments in their life, using these to extrapolate into a new future.
This is a literal extrapolation. The game centres on two people who have the ability to change a persons memory, they do this by subtly adjusting their memories of the past and building them into the shape that they eventually want. For a dying man, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.
I was hesitant picking up To The Moon. Now that I have finished it I can say that I am quite sure it is an experience we should all find time to play. It is not long, clocking in at only a few hours, but the time spent is extremely satisfying. It is happy, it is sad and it is funny. If you have not yet tried it, do.