August 2015 – To the Moon

Title: To the Moon
Platforms: PC
Release Date: November 1st, 2011
Developer: Freebird Games
Publisher: Freebird Games
Genre: Adventure RPG

Members Completed: 8
Average Rating: 46.9/100
Member Progress Rating Review and/or Comments
Apple Completed 08/04 60/100 some great music, a decent story to go along with it. it unfolded in an interesting enough way to keep me playing for the ~3 hours I did. the game feels gross to control and any respectable gameplay won’t be found here. yet it’s paced just well enough, only dragging once or twice. If it were any longer, the score would be in the 50s or worse. Dr. Watts is a douche bag and his dialogue is annoying. stupid references to dumb shit like dbz and animorphs make him very unlikable and somewhat ruin the atmosphere at times. all in all i enjoyed it! i like when games do something interesting and different! this is rough around the edges but hey, i like it! TO THE MOON! Images
AquaLaFlor Completed 08/16 70/100
Choas Completed 08/31 32/100 This game has me so frazzled, I can’t even figure out how to get my thoughts about it on paper (or Notepad++, as it were). I did like the music and the concept, but very little else about the game was worthwhile. The gameplay was pretty dismal and felt like an afterthought the developers added in an hour to artificially extend the game’s length. What exactly was the point of tracking the ideal number of moves the player used to solve the ridiculously simple puzzles? It’s clear that very little thought or effort went into creating anything that the player actively controlled. Gameplay is hardly the point of the game, of course, but it was still bad enough that it actually made my experience with this game notably worse.
Anyone that was given the least bit of characterization was either instantly unlikeable, emphatically one-dimensional, or some combination thereof. The banter between the doctors could have been entertaining if Eva wasn’t so stuck-up and humorless and Watts wasn’t a walking internet meme. Watts, thankfully, stayed the same insufferable jackass for the entire game – his only real character development being a pointless revelation that he’s addicted to painkillers, which is thereafter never mentioned again – while Eva decided to just randomly change her entire nature to suit the narrative. John (or Joey? The game was unclear, and there are issues either way) was a fairly despicable human being: for one, crushing on River for a ridiculous, selfish, and completely nonsensical reason; and two, actively declining to learn anything about his wife’s autism, much less trying to get professional help for her, and actually enabling her illness to the point that he chooses to simply let her die. It all prevented me from really caring whether or not he got his insipid wish. The best thing about this game is that it only wastes three or four hours of your life on dull gameplay, vapid characters, and a story that, on the surface may seem sweet and romantic and whatever else the developers were going for, but in reality… well, isn’t.
gamma Completed 08/29 54/100 In GameSpot’s 2011 Game of the Year awards, To the Moon was given the “Best Story” award. To the Moon was also nominated in the categories of “Best Music”, “Most Memorable Moment”, “Best Writing/Dialogue”, “Best Ending”, and “Song of the Year.” Let’s laugh at that first before I start my review. Anyway, there were a few sweet moments between John and River, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that I disliked 90% of the game. The saddest thing about To The Moon is that Watts and Rosalene both seem to be aware that they have annoying dialogue and an addiction to teasing each other while making out of place jokes. I felt like the game was trying to be dramatic with its piano music and slow-panning camera, but then Watts makes ridiculous references and mostly seems to be a combination of Rawk and a certain subset of GameFAQs posters. Thankfully, it gets a bit better after 2 hours. At that point, To the Moon finally knows what it wants to be: something with less of that annoying dialogue, but only slightly, and something with more gameplay–gameplay that only made everything worse and more tedious. John’s reason for going to the moon, the reason that he forgot for decades, is another joke. As a child, he made a silly comment about meeting River on the moon if they didn’t happen to meet on a cliff a year after that. That was all there was to it. Maybe I expected too much from this, but finding out that beta antagonists were an actual antagonist was hilarious. Don’t play this game.

Note: I doubt it, but just in case my review makes you think I’m missing the point of the game, I’ll say that I know this whole experience is supposed to be about the “moments.” Rosalene even tells us, “The ending isn’t any more important than any of the moments leading to it.” What she says is also hinted at by Watts a bit later. But again, the main problem with this is that the moments were ruined by the gameplay that felt like a chore. It would have been much better as a kinetic novel, meaning you just click and read.

Kuro Completed 08/26 29/100 Plot is nonsensical and riddled with crippling holes. The characters are cardboard, with the exception of Watts, who is insufferable. Sometimes, as with Eva late in the game, a character’s entire nature will change if it’s convenient for the plot. Seemingly important plot threads are started and never resolved OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED AT ANY POINT THEREAFTER (wtf is the deal with Watts’ pills? The hell purpose did THAT serve?) Nor does the gameplay serve any purpose; it’s a chore in general. Weak dialogue (clumsy humor, children philosophizing and speaking like adults in general). Rather than seek psychiatric treatment for River, John capitulates to her absurd wishes that result from her condition; instead of doing the obviously right thing, he enables her mental illness. Then again, he -was- adamant about not understanding her condition (for no apparent reason. Not like she’s his soulmate or anything!!) The game so desperately wants John’s “sacrifices” (read: enabling) to be romantic, but it’s just sick and tragic. After that, John can only find happiness in the false reality the two protagonists construct for him on his deathbed–the illusion is comparable to loading a terminal cancer patient with morphine. There’s nothing meaningful about it, and this context really makes it hard to have an emotional reaction to the plot, or at least the portions of the plot that are logically coherent. In sum, if gamers think this is art, then our school system has woefully failed them.
Rinkin Completed 08/08 10/100
Strife89 Completed 08/03 85/100
texanfanatic99 Gave up 36 minutes in
Yoshi Completed 08/17 35/100 Definitely have to start off by saying I absolutely loved the soundtrack to this game; it was phenomenal. The concept for this story is a great idea, but Dr. Watts is just too unlikeable of a character for the first half to be enjoyable at all; the DBZ references completely killed it for me, along with him acting like a middle school boy the whole story and the writer of this game thinking that’s hilarious. The first half of this game is awful, and it it weren’t GotM I probably wouldn’t finish it. It does get more interesting in the second half, but ultimately it’s just not a very good story. It’s interesting to tell a story through a game and I’d actually like to see this done more. I can’t really figure out if this whole story is intentionally depressing with how John doesn’t really love River, or what. From what I understand, the author thinks he’s addressing autism in an enlightening and sympathetic manner, but it seems to me that he has no firsthand experience dealing with mental illness whatsoever and reached the exact opposite of his intention. The pacing is among the worst I’ve experienced and I agree with other sentiments that this game is artificially drawn out with it’s forced memory collection mechanic. If you are going to make a game like this, just make it a click to advance the story kind of game or something. I give a lot of hate to Dr. Watts, but all the characters are generally unlikeable. Based off the reviews on Steam and it’s 97% average rating, I have lost all trust with user ratings helping me decide if a game is going to be worth it or not. The more and more I have thought about the game, the worse my opinion of it has got. To the Moon is an experience not quite worth going through, but I would like to see this genre expanded upon by developers in the future. Final Achievement. Game Log. Game Time: 03h55m
Categories: Game of the Month

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