Deliver Us The Moon Preview Impressions: Light on Gameplay, Heavy on Polish
Space is going to be a tough nut to crack for humanity. As resources dwindle and we look to the stars while fumbling around on Earth, there are plenty of game developers offering up unique visions on what might be in our near future.
That's what you get with Deliver Us The Moon. It goes the route of Interstellar or Gravity over more outlandish sci-fi and stays focused on a low-key, science-based world — even though it has flights of fancy and is a drama at heart.
With the game's full release just around the corner, KeokeN Interactive let us try out a revamped preview of the game to see what's in store for launch.
At its core, Deliver Us The Moon is a reasonably basic walk-around (float around?) and look at documents/flip switches game. While relatively light on actual gameplay, there are plenty of collectibles to find. The game rewards exploration if you want to discover everything there is to know.
That's where the game shines, too. Both the voice acting and music in Deliver Us the Moon are surprisingly solid for an indie release, and its visuals are top-notch.
From the barren, sandy wasteland of the launch site to picture-perfect padded space station corridors, Deliver Us The Moon nails its aesthetic and never lets you forget where you are.
In fact, this is one time I'm glad a game like this isn't in VR. As I played, I got some mild motion sickness from how well the game implements three-dimensional movement in zero-G environments. Thankfully, things aren't in hyper-speed like they are with Detached.
Exploration aside, your mysterious astronaut will need to figure out how to turn off fuel valves, initiate launch sequences, restore life support systems, and access closed-off areas.
The code puzzles are wildly easy — nobody will have any trouble finding the numbers to enter into any given keypad — but the rest of the puzzles put up more of a challenge.
They frequently revolve around using limited resources to solve a problem, often in a limited time frame. It reinforces the feeling of being on a space station where things aren't working quite as they should.
Timed puzzles also imbue the game with an element of danger as you run out of oxygen. Certain moments, such as docking a rocket to a space station, are surprisingly tense, slow-motion dances.
Even when the world is ending, there's always time for beer pong
Although the game's aesthetic may give off a creepy vibe, this isn't a sci-fi horror game like SOMA or the upcoming Moons Of Madness. Rather, it's more a drama with thriller elements. Although there is the little caveat that if you fail, all of humanity will die. So no pressure.
Much of the story is told through holographic re-creations heavy on dialog. It's done in a way that may bring to mind Close To The Sun minus the supernatural, horror-style connotations.
Taking place in our near future of the 2050s puts things into vivid perspective. The hard choices we make today regarding climate change are echoed here with humanity on the brink of collapse. On character drives that allegory home when talking about how humans first went to the moon "only 100 years ago."
Those little touches referencing real-world events make things all the more tangible, ringing true for those of us hoping for a better future.
While the environments are spot on and the puzzles will keep you engaged, there is one major downside to Deliver Us The Moon: the game is really short. Reaching the end of the preview section takes about three to three-and-a-half hours. Using a walkthrough or correctly guessing all the puzzles on the first attempt without searching for every collectible, you could conceivably do it all in two hours.
Sure, this is a preview and the final build may be longer, but you'll have to wait for our review next week to find out.
To put it simply, Deliver Us The Moon is more of a cinematic experience with coupled with interactive puzzles than an action-oriented game, and it's the sort of title that was made for Let's Plays with no commentary.
That being said, there's a lot of fun to be had flying around in zero gravity environments trying to solve puzzles while tracking down that last audio recording to put all the pieces of the story together.
The full version of Deliver Us The Moon, including a fan-requested addition, will drop October 10, 2019. Stay tuned for our full review.