Deliver Us The Moon feels like the next step for interactive cinema. With the narrative as the driving force, this game does play a part in creating an eerie atmosphere without actually having anything to worry about other than solving the puzzles and keeping yourself company. Much like how I imagine space to be, it’s an isolated experience, and the pace is almost dreamlike. If you’re expecting an action game, you’ll be disappointed as Deliver Us The Moon is more about piecing together the past through interacting with objects left behind, building a picture of what happened before ‘the event’.
Interestingly, the game feels much much longer than the actual time it takes to complete the game. Perhaps that has something to do with zero gravity or being enticed enough by the fantastic storytelling throughout. That’s right, as a sucker for story, but a little indifferent to space adventures, this was a winner in terms of narrative.
Here’s a summary of the story, as brief as possible. In 2032, ‘we’ colonised the moon, harvesting the energy called Helium-3. In 2054, the moon goes dark, and all contact is lost with those stationed there. The following year, the World Space Agency (WSA) pulls the plug, but in a few more years, 2059, you’re enlisted to find out what really happened, reclaim the energy to save the world by delivering the moon. Yes, I genuinely was taking notes in the opening cutscenes. Between the facts, I was pretty bowled over by the build-up of the story and the teases of exposition. I hasten to add that this was consistent throughout and did not disappoint.
Visuals shouldn’t take precedence over gameplay, but as we’re in that area, let me go on record as saying that Deliver Us The Moon is a stunning game. From the interior scenes that are somewhat clinical, they still have a defining character about them that boast a presence of sorts – like there’s ‘life in them walls’. Sometimes that momentum makes a better experience – even when nothing significant happens. This isn’t Dead Space. The views switch between first and third-person perspectives giving the right viewpoint at the right time – should that be bouncing about in the playground (there’s no playground, I’m being facetious) to driving on the moon’s surface, to the pure exploration of the lockers and terminals that have since been abandoned.
The Dark Side of the Moon
So yeah, there’s no dispute that this is a very polished game in terms of presentation, storytelling and mood. Alas, the gameplay can be a little ‘meh’. It’s not bad, but sometimes it feels like filler, doing menial tasks for the sake of it, and in places, it just felt like the focus has been on telling the story more than the gameplay side of it. That’s not to say that it isn’t interactive – far from it. You’re involved in numerous activities, but mostly it’s inspecting objects front and back and playing around with space blowtorches. You do come equipped with an Astrotool however, which analyses the objects in the game and gives a report. It reminded me a little of Arkham Asylum type investigative work, and I have to say I enjoyed the detective work, even if it was just holding the trigger button to scan.
Deliver Us The Moon is far from a breeze as, despite the initial slow pace, the game kicks in when you have environmental hazards that toy with your life. Tools need to be recharged; apparently, you can’t naturally breathe on the moon, etc., etc. There are multiple savepoints so not entirely the end of the world (or the moon) should you die. One of the ‘tools’ available is ASE – a robot that follows you around and solves a few problems by reaching areas you won’t. While it has some character, it’s no Wheatley, more on par with a Ghost in Destiny 2. The other part of the game is the fetch quest and fixing of power. That is essentially why you’ve been sent to the moon, but it is often monotonous going back and forth to get enough juice to a device to then move on for a bit, cue a cinematic, then do it all again.
It’s that darn story that grabs you again.
A lot of the time I couldn’t move fast enough and would have rather have been the spectator at times as it’s a very human story and compelling in every way. Not everything is black and white, and the logs don’t reflect the human bits that go on behind the scenes. Told through various holographic flashbacks, the dialogue and acting are spot on. As previously mentioned, I often found that I would rather just watch it unfold than playing the game, and considering that the gaming elements were a little underwhelming, ignoring the detective work, that’s not such a bad thing for the storytellers. However, as a game, it was a little monotonous in areas despite the short runtime.
Deliver Us The Moon is a cinematic wonder, with fantastic storytelling, visuals a stellar soundtrack. While there is nothing wrong with the controls, the gameplay was a little bit of a chore in places and felt like filler to pass the time, but despite this being a game review, experiencing the story alone is worth your time.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Release Date: 24/04/2020
No. of Players: 1
Developer: KeokeN Interactive
Publisher: Wired Productions
Download link: Microsoft Store