Deliver Us the Moon Review: Unraveling the Mysteries of Space
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Deliver Us the Moon is the story of a lonely astronaut trying to survive the cold dark of space and save the day without anybody by his side to help. With just a voice in his ear, and eventually a robot companion by his side, he alone can prevent apocalyptic-level disaster.
While the game may not break new ground in the big picture, it's a well-trod path because it's a compelling one, and Deliver Us the Moon is a well-executed effort that proves the genre can still find ways to provide a unique and enjoyable experience.
Deliver Us the Moon may not do anything that completely knocks your space boots off, but it still provides a thoroughly enjoyable mix of plot and puzzle as you seek to fulfill the game's titular request.
Deliver Us the Moon Review: Unraveling the Mysteries of Space
The game's protagonist is tasked with a direct and vital mission: restoring functionality to an energy production facility on the moon's surface, but he is also asked to unravel a mystery along the way. Following the loss of production at the facility, all communication with the moon-dwellers has gone silent, and in order to save the day, you'll need to determine just what went down and why you're the only living soul on board in the first place.
This is where the game falls back on a mix of environmental storytelling and cutscenes. Throughout your exploration, you'll encounter written documents, physical objects, and even holographic projections, all of which begin to fill in the blanks.
Adding to the complexity of the narrative, the game actually covers three different plotlines. In addition to your exploration and the time up to and immediately following the blackout that ultimately led to your desperate mission, there is a third thread relating to a two-person probe carried out immediately following the blackout.
As you make your way throughout the different outposts and stations on the moon, you'll slowly begin to fill in your wrist-worn Astrotool and piece together just what happened leading up to the blackout, as well as the fate of the first attempt to contact the colonists following the events.
Now, it should be noted that I found the plot did require me to make some pretty large allowances where certain elements didn't quite seem to line-up up in my mind. With that said, I found the overall arc compelling enough that I had no trouble doing so.
When I finished the final chapter and saw that I had six elements I missed in my scanner, I immediately felt compelled to return to those chapters to fill in my final gaps because I wanted to get the entire story.
A strong story is all well and good, but if the gameplay can't match-up, then it soon becomes a chore trying to progress to your next plot point. This is a definite strong-suit for Deliver Us the Moon.
While the game largely consists of your lone astronaut exploring different hubs and stations on the moon colony, it offers just enough tweaks throughout to keep things interesting.
You unlock a drone that flies by your side that can access new areas and a wrist-cutter that allows you to open up new routes through the facility. Enemy drones create areas ripe for stealthy sneaking, and a reduced battery function creates the opportunity for puzzles built around changing out what sections of the station are powered at a given time.
The game also features sections where the third-person perspective changes entirely. While the short moon-vehicle section is a light distraction, one entire chapter takes place with the main character floating in zero-G in first-person.
By mixing and matching the different elements at your disposal, the designers do an excellent job of keeping things fresh and, for the most part, avoiding the dreadful feeling of playing a game that feels like it has been padded just for the sake of adding time. In total, the game could likely be speed-run in under three hours, but the different puzzles and challenges make for a longer playthrough without feeling like you're being asked to complete a task just for the sake of adding another 10 minutes to the game.
One big caveat is that I found the game to be quite buggy in the middle chapters in frustrating ways. In one instance, a door that was supposed to be open remained blocked, while in another, I was unable to push an item where it needed to go.
These glitches were not only frustrating in the moment, as I fruitlessly looked for what I must have been missing before realizing it was an error and needed a reload, it also then introduced that uncertainty at later snags. When you don't fully trust the game, you can't be sure if you're failing or if the game is.
Deliver Us the Moon — The Bottom Line
- Varied puzzles keep each new section fresh and fun
- Atmospheric storytelling elements create an interesting narrative
- Level-breaking glitches require reloads to fix
- Large allowances required for some of the overarching plot points
Picking up a game from such a long-established genre comes with good and bad. On the upside, it's easier to know if you're likely to enjoy it or not based on whether you've liked similar games. On the other hand, it's easy for the experience to feel like just more of the same and not worth your time.
The best compliment I can pay to Deliver Us the Moon is that it never felt familiar, even when draped in the essence of lost-in-space media.
If I had experienced the game without any performance problems, it would have made for an unequivocally raving review. Unfortunately, the periods where I was wrestling with solving a puzzle that turned out to have no answer, and resulting periods where I began to question if I was experiencing another glitch when actually I was merely overlooking an element of a puzzle, have to be factored in.
Despite those issues, however, I still whole-heartedly believe this game is worth a look. Just as the interesting minutiae of the plot are enough to overcome some of the issues I had with the macro-level concept, the overall experience was more than enough to make up for having one or two bouts of irritation.
[Note: A copy of Deliver Us the Moon was provided by KeokeN Interactive for the purpose of this review.]