An emotional journey back into the memories of a dying man so that his last wish can come true.
The last wish: To the Moon
Neil Watts and Eva Rosalen are two scientists working for Sigmund Corp. The company aims to artificially make the last wish of the dying come true. In order to do this, it is necessary to run through the patient’s mind his life memory after memory. This operation is irreversible. The newly reconstructed life will be the last thing the patient remembers before taking his last breath.
“Can you take me to the moon?”
The patient Watts and Rosalen have to take care of is called Johnny. Johnny is a very old man, and working with him is not going to be easy. Sigmund’s futuristic machine needs a memory to anchor itself to and manipulate in order to obtain the desired result. That’s where the problem arises: Johnny wants to go to the moon, but can’t remember why. Jumping back and forth in his memories, Watts and Rosalen uncover more and more fragments of his past until they understand why such a fragile man would choose to go to the moon.
A 16-bit visual novel
To the Moon has a two-dimensional graphic style and isometric view, similar in this respect to some great J-RPGs but profoundly different in terms of game mechanics. We could define To the Moon as a sort of “interactive story”. In order to complete the “work”, it is necessary to explore the crucial moments of Johnny’s past and identify which objects are able to activate the fundamental memories. This quest is punctuated by simple puzzles and marginal mini-games, a consistent choice given the desire to focus on the narrative.
Art and quotationism
Throughout the story, Shigihara’s soundtrack accompanies and enhances the sense of immersive experience. On top of that, a riot of film and video game quotes, the exchange of jokes between the two very different scientists and many other small details sprinkle the narrative with a sense of strong identification and tenderness. It can be said that Freebird have succeeded in raising the quality of video game fiction. To the Moon deals with a theme already seen, for example in Nolan’s Inception or Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but does so in a different way, thus proving victorious. It shows that sometimes it is genuineness, simplicity and clarity that make the difference.
To the Moon is an unsettling game for traditional gamers: there’s very little to play, but the hours spent on this title will leave a melancholic warmth in your heart. This terrifyingly poignant adventure makes you reflect on life, the importance of memories, choices made and missed opportunities. The theme of death, which hovers throughout the story, is not tinged with gloomy notes. To understand how full of emotion this experience is, one has only to experience it, letting oneself be gently transported to the moon together with the characters of this fantastic title.