Have you ever had a dream that you wish would come true? What if you can’t remember why you wanted to have that dream? This is the problem Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts are dealing with in their patient Johnny, who can’t remember why he wants to go “To the Moon”.
The two doctors are part of Sigmund Corp., which uses a special machine to create artificial memories to give their patients a sense of fulfillment in making their dreams come true before passing away. But since Johnny can’t remember why he wanted to go to the moon, they have to travel back in time through Johnny’s memories to pinpoint when this dream was developed.
To do that you, as the player, have to find significant objects or conversations while in the memory to collect energy to connect to a more distant memory. Once you collect the energy, you play a puzzle -flipping tile type of game to complete the picture – and then you can travel. But the gameplay is mostly passive, as you experience and travel to witness key events in Johnny’s memory.
The story, without spoiling it, is packed with humor and bittersweetness. The humor stems between the two doctors as they make remarks and jokes about what they are seeing. But the heavy emotions come from Johnny’s memories, from a sort of tenseness about his late wife River’s condition and sorrow throughout. The music is beautiful, fitting with the emotion and atmosphere in each memory. And the sprite art is pleasant to look at, with subtle emotions being especially noticeable with River.
I enjoyed this game without a doubt, and there isn’t much more I want to say about why I love it without spoiling it. But if I had to pick something I didn’t like it would be the swearing, which was distracting for me. At least they used “$@%#” for the more PG-13 swears, but instead of “butt”, they say the swear for it.
To The Moon is a game I can tell someone put a lot of passion and heart into. I appreciate the little things about it, like how it’s never explicitly stated what River’s condition is but I could guess what it was. I’m sure there’s much more that I missed during my first playthrough since you can pick dialogue and actions sometimes, making this game replayable. I’m sure I will play this game again, and I would highly recommend people at least give it a try because it is very beautiful.