If anyone is still of the mind that games hold no emotional value, then they need to play To the Moon (2011).
While To the Moon is an indie RPG Adventure, at its heart is a very touching story. It follows two doctors, Eva and Neil, whose job is to use a new technology which alters a person’s memories in order for them to believe they have witnessed or done something they wished to accomplish in their lifetime. These memories take over and clash with real memories and have the possibility of changing the person and is therefore only given to those of their deathbed, to give them a final moment of happiness before they depart, with no regrets.
The player controls either Eva or Neil as they explore the memories of Johnny, who wishes that he had gone to the moon but cannot remember why. They must traverse through the important moments of Johnny’s life in order to piece together a logical thread towards him achieving his dreams.
The graphics are very simple, created in RPG-maker, but this allows the player to concentrate that much more on the story and character plots. The soundtrack, by Laura Shigihara, also highterns the experience, which constantly matches the pace and mood of each moment. While the game is short, around 4 hours, this allows the story to be completed within one sitting, thus gaining a huge attachment for the characters.
Admittedly To the Moon consists of very little game-play and is practically a visual novel. Most of the game-play comes down to walking around until a specific necessary item or person is found, which then continues the story. Yet, To the Moon never claimed to be anything more than this, its aim is to immerse the player into a deep and meaningful story and the chosen game-play matches this style.
To the Moon is not a game for people looking for some action, fighting or even to switch off their brains. Instead it is for people who want to become immersed not only within a world but within a character and join with them in the happiest and saddest parts of their life. It is a reminder of the strength in people and how beauty can be found within everyone’s lives.
To the Moon – Freebird Games