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To The Moon

Although sleep inducing hours, coffee hunting, and the use of immature jest to maintain one’s sanity are common variables in any job, Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts’s job descriptions don’t exactly fit in with your usual fields of work. As employees of Sigmund Corp., their duty is to visit near death clients and “grant” their dying wishes using Sigmund’s memory altering technology.

Their latest client is Johnny Wyles, whose final request is to travel to the moon. Albeit bizarre, the task is still within the confines of Rosalene and Watts’s capabilities but it isn’t long until the duo discovers that Johnny’s mind is a hive buzzing with impeding X variables. One of which is the memory of his deceased wife River.

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To The Moon may sport JRPG inspired visuals and a breathtaking score (composed in part by Laura Shigihara of Plants vs. Zombies fame), but it’s not so much a game as it is an interactive storybook. As Rosalene and Watts progress backwards in the timeline of Johnny Wyles, they will engage in the repetitive motions of interacting with objects, walking through certain areas, and witnessing certain events to procure special orbs.

Five are needed in order to engage with a memento – a special object within the given level – which results in playing with simplistic picture puzzles in order to advance to the next stage. There are occasional skirmishes with whack-a-mole, horseback riding, and throwing potted plantlife at zombies (which really isn’t as awesome as it seems) but overall, To The Moon doesn’t live up to any acknowledged definition of a game.

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Aside from the immediately recognized amalgamation of elements borrowed from Inception, Source Code, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, To The Moon does have its own story to tell, divided amongst the romance aspect and learning more about the eccentric, yet mysterious, Johnny Wyles.

Whether it delivers as a self-professed emotional experience will differ amongst players who will agree unanimously that it’s a short one. Along with the barebones point-and-click gameplay, the retro graphics will be realized as a lacking component given its limited capabilities to convey a full spectrum of emotions, something that JRPGs have worked around with the crafting of longer stories and immersive action, emphasis on immersive.

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It can be hard to consistently feel for the characters and absorb the situations in their entirety, no thanks to its overly condensed constructions. But there’s no denying that To The Moon does present an intriguing tale with bursts of proper score accompanied moments that will either fill you with ardor or have you writing them off as familiar clichés shared amongst Western soaps and Asian dramas.

If you’re into having your tears tugged at, this will definitely be a change from nights spent curling up on the couch spectating those romance flicks that no one else gets. If you’re someone who winds up stuck with the aforementioned individual, originally promised beer and tricked into the awkward Kleenex duty, no guilt will be harbored from missing out.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @S_Chyou.

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