First Impressions — Deliver Us The Moon
The early hours of Deliver Us The Moon, unfortunately, keep the excitement low, resulting in it feeling like a middling, narrative-based experience.
The Earth as we know it is in tatters. A global energy crisis has forced the world leaders to found a new moon colony that lets us harness a new-found source of energy. That is until the Blackout hits, and the moon goes offline.
This is the state of the world as you enter it in KeokeN Interactive’s Deliver Us The Moon. The Earth is failing. You are the lone astronaut taking the trip up to discover what exactly went wrong when the moonbase went down a few years ago.
It’s an intriguing premise, that sometimes feels a little too close to potential real-world problems. However, almost immediately I was met with more puzzling revelations than satisfying answers. There was just something instantly off-putting about the overall story. I mean, the moonbase is supposedly Earth’s last chance at survival, but after it goes down, most of the world seems to give up? That doesn’t make much sense. Plus, when you’re starting your journey by launching a rocket into space, you’re the only one at the launch site.
Listen, I’m no NASA scientist, but I find it hard to believe that one person could get a ship into space. I’ve seen Armageddon. There was a whole team of smarties in that launch center to get Rockhound, Harry, Chick, and that nuclear missile into space. But, it’s 2050 or whatever now, so it’s all been automated, I guess? Except I still have to go turn two valves to get the rockets ready as the station falls apart around me.
I’m not asking for total realism in my video games, but the whole setup just seems so odd. But let’s put that aside. We’ll just accept that one astronaut can do the job that Google tells me takes hundreds of qualified people. What about when you actually get to the meat of the story? Surely, that must be good.
One of my biggest pet peeves in narrative-heavy games is when they introduce a big cast of characters for you to get to know and care about, but then you never actually get to see their face. Not being able to put any type of visual with the person’s story makes it incredibly hard to follow for me. Tacoma is the only game I’ve played that handled it well. However, they used colors to make each character distinct in more than just voice. That made it work, at least for me.
In Deliver Us The Moon, I have no idea who the characters are. So, while the main story about the moon is interesting, everything else is bland. This could totally be a me thing though, so if you’re a fan of these types of games, it might be fine for you.
Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t really save the meh story. You go from boring-at-best exploration to frustrating-at-worst puzzle solving. Most of the puzzles aren’t hard as they’ve been annoying. I certainly. wouldn’t call a single one of them fun. The exploration is fine. It’s there. You’ve done it before.
And so, I was fully prepared to write Deliver Us The Moon off after my first 45 minutes or so of playing. However, just as I was about to switch it off and never look back, something happened. I won’t spoil the sequence for you, but it was a moment that felt so harrowing and tense compared to the rest of the game, that I know I have to finish it. Even if just to see if they can deliver something that good again at the story’s climax.
It’s not just that one sequence though. I really love the game’s audio and music. The score ramps up in its intensity in all the right places. And I will always love it when a game captures the lack of sound in the vacuum of space. Too many other media properties want those space flight moments to feel bombastic, making it refreshing when someone lets the emptiness of it all wash over you.
Personally, I would say that Deliver Us The Moon is a great game to wait for a sale. It’s not a bad game, it just doesn’t do enough to stick out from the crowd. Outside of that one sequence, I haven’t seen much worth mentioning. It’s also hard to recommend when games like Outer Wilds and Observation delivered such excellent sci-fi story-telling last year. That said, my tastes aren’t everyone’s. If you like the sound of what you’re reading here, maybe give Deliver Us The Moon a look now. Screw waiting for that sale.