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Review of To the Moon by Antrax

Stars - 25

Rating by Antrax posted on Aug 3, 2013 | edit | delete

An interesting experiment that ultimately falls flat

To The Moon is an attempt to tell a mature story in adventure game form, with RPG graphics. However, the almost complete lack of interactivity, the short length and the ultimately disappointing story make it a difficult game to recommend to anyone.

The game is paced very, very slowly. It’s so bad, in fact, the game often gives you a cue to let you know the cutscene FINALLY ended. I get that to tell a deep, meaningful story you want to slow people down, but taking away my ability to skip dialogue is going a bit too far, I think.
Moreover, what interactivity the developers threw in is very mechanical and tacked on. During the first “act” (which is over 50% of the game) you just solve the same slider-type puzzle over and over again. The picture changes, but the way to solve (even if you’re aiming for “ideal”) is always the same. The other piece of interaction is clicking randomly on scenery, but the game usually robs you of that as well, painting huge arrows to let you know where to go before you’ve had a chance to do much of anything.

The story itself I won’t spoil here, but beyond the gimmick of being told backwards, it really is fairly bland. The framing world is poorly conceived (the mechanics of how memory works change to suit what’s convenient), the characters are one-dimensional and key points and motives are just never explained.
Moreover, the developers spurned the chance to actually say something meaningful, resolving the dilemma in the end in a cowardly and unsatisfying manner.

There are other, minor, issues: control and path-finding are pretty awful, but screens are small so it’s not really a huge issue. There’s one terrible arcade sequence near the end, but it’s ultimately easy enough that you forget about it 20 seconds after completing it.

I really wanted to like this game, but innovation is not enough - and the game doesn’t hold value much beyond “oh wow, this is atypical”. Glad to be able I’ve played it, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anything beyond novelty value. Despite the “open” end, I don’t intend to play other chapters in the series - it’s just not worth the time, even at a mere 3 hours of play.

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Time Played: 2-5 hours
Difficulty: Very Easy

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