Game Thoughts: To The Moon

To the Moon from Freebird games.  A story-focused rollercoaster game, stripped down to its minimal, emotional elements.

Total Hours: 6.  Status: Finished.

  1. Is a game, or is not a game, that is not the question.
  2. In any medium, we appreciate the power of stories about life, death, foibles, hardship, mystery, and love.
  3. It might really just require hours of dialogue and time to create this much character and story.  The lack of mechanics is striking.  I didn’t miss the tropes (combat, mini-games, avatar steering) at all.
  4. The setup here (2 doctors trying to repair the memories of a dying man) is brilliant, allowing the game to explore all facets of a character.
  5. Character introduction rate: About 2 per hour, 12 total.
  6. The slow pace of interaction and text scroll sets up the slow pace of the game.  As does the futility of trying to rush it.
  7. Piano music is also a fantastic way to set a slow pace.  Particularly in an otherwise silent game.
  8. Early, genre-defying references and in-jokes help break your mind out of its expectations.
  9. Backtracking doesn’t feel like backtracking when characters and dialogue are the focus and they progress between scenes.
  10. Blinking ground arrows are a great tool for the 2D RPG space.  Clearly communicate off-screen passages.
  11. Make things that look like they should be stepped over, like flowers, passable.  Particularly to horses.

I’m still not sure whether to be happy or sad.  Well done.

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