Deliver Us The Moon Review – Sitting in a tin can far above the world

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Deliver Us The Moon promises a harrowing adventure where the Moon brings us hope, giving Earth one more chance at salvation, but has the depleting of resources driven it too far from being saved? Deliver Us The Moon looks to answer that foreboding question.


Pros:
+One of the most beautiful yet haunting scores to date
+The story keeps drawing you in for more at every turn it makes
+Physics for the moon feel almost believable as the astronaut jumps about
+Puzzles are challenging and require patience and memorization skills

Cons:
-Framerate jumps on PlayStation 4 do make it slightly difficult to enjoy from time to time


As a child, I often wanted to travel into the darkest reaches of space, seeing the vastness that it has to offer in an unlimited and unparalleled way. I often dreamed I’d start at a colony on the Moon, spending time to make friends, observe the beauty that is the planet that we call home. I would lay quietly in a field, staring at the skies above, nudging my brother Shane and our best friend Eric as we imagined what space was like.

I’d often imagine it was beautiful, quiet compared to home, that I would get to see sights that had yet to be seen and make discoveries that no one had. As I grew older, my concerns became more realistic, aiming at problems facing our world today. Overpopulation, resource replenishment issues, global warming in a post-ice age environment, air quality control, and even waste management that has become a very real problem.

However, I never expected a game to grab me by the wrist and dragging me into a world where my worst fears and concerns had grown to an existential crisis that would force humanity among the stars, looking for new worlds to colonize and call their home. That game would come in the shape of action-adventure title Deliver Us The Moon from developer KeokeN Interactive and publisher Wired Productions.

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Oh Fortuna, Deliver Us The Moon to give us a fighting chance to save our home

Unexpectedly, I would be drawn into one such title I hadn’t expected to draw me in the way it did. The beginning moments, in a way, were farfetched in its apocalyptic future. Earth is dying, the Energy Crisis had exceeded what those called Earth their home had come to expect. My first moments would be intense in every way imaginable. In Deliver Us The Moon, we don’t see this crisis happen until 2030 when the great energy crisis began.

As a result, the World Space Agency – WSA for short – would be formed in search of a brand-new energy source to help maintain life on Earth. Their solution was an abundance of Helium 3 that would be found on the Moon, forcing the WSA to begin the formation of a lunar colony in 2032. However, decades later in 2059, the WSA has since shut down as communication from the Moon came to a screeching halt, the energy transfer from powerful MPT station that funneled valuable energy to Earth ended and the fallout would see the WSA shut down.

years later, a small group of former WSA employees would work in secret, building a rocket and a way to get one of their own up to the Moon in hopes to restore MPT functionality in hopes to give Earth a fighting chance once again. This is where you come in as you take on the role of a former WSA astronaut, heading to the moon to investigate what went wrong, why the MPT reactor quit, and how you can restore all functionality to the MPT itself.

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The adrenaline gets pumping and rather quickly

One thing that impresses me about this game is that Deliver Us The Moon is one I couldn’t put down once the ball got rolling. For some, the game isn’t what you would expect when you hear the term action or adventure in a single grouping. The game, for what it’s worth, doesn’t follow in the steps of titles such as Alien or Pandorum where you’ll find your odds of survival are rather slim.

What it does do is deliver something more down to Earth, something tangible that comes to life in this absolutely stunning-looking 3D adventure that tag teams some psychological horror elements into the overall experience. From the opening moments, you’ll find that time is of the essence as you make your way to the makeshift rocket, initializing it as quickly as you can as the seconds begin to count down as a sandstorm hurls its way across the desert around you, seeking to put an end to your adventure before it even began.

From there, you’ll find that it doesn’t slow down as a catastrophe hits the Lunar approach as you arrive to its bays. Those moments, while subtly horrific is only amplified by the idea of being alone in outer space, no one there to help you as you begin to drift among the stars. Your only hope of survival is your ability to solve puzzles as quickly as they are thrown your way.

Some are simply coming to terms with your ability to navigate floating debris as it comes floating by. Your only hope is to take note of the paths before you and the resources you will need in order to survive.

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Puzzles are the challenge that you must overcome in order to survive

As you already know, the story itself may seem dull at first, after all, we had something slightly similar from that movie Interstellar, which ended with humanity among the stars, exploring those of which humanity would begin to call their home. For our unnamed protagonist, that’s not the case. Your hope to survive, for Earth to Survive, for your handler and friend Claire’s hope to survive, depend on the success of the mission.

During your time on the Moon, you will not find combat to be a key element, but rather, the isolation of the moon, the lack of oxygen that can fill your lungs at every corner. Rather, it’ll be that knowing that if you fail, Earth will crumble before your eyes, that you are the salvation that mankind needs. That your mission is all that matters. Each puzzle does come in various forms, some are simply a stealth-like experience as you run from lethal robots that have been programmed to take out intruders.

Some come in the form of putting Helium 3 power cells into random fixtures in specific orders in order to open up once heavily sealed pathways. Some will unlock your story, giving you a better idea of why things went dark, why the people who once called that station home had disappeared, and what went absolutely wrong. Your only friend? Claire Johanson, the lead scientist at Mission Control who will help you on your journey throughout the station.

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The gameplay is simple and quite easy to learn thanks to minimalistic control designs

The game itself is minimalist in design, making it so that your hud isn’t filled to the brim with hud-based elements such as health, oxygen levels, a compass, and navigation guidance to your very next objective. Rather, all of those elements are tossed out the window with only a few remaining completely intact which includes an oxygen monitor and your health, which is indicated by the fuzziness of the screen and the light on your backpack.

To help make things even simpler and less cluttered, your objectives and side notes are hidden away in the Dossier, which can be accessed with the simple touch of the touchpad. Because the fact we did review this on a PlayStation 4 Pro, it is worth noting we did take advantage of what a 4K TV would give us to offer. For us, the graphics popped thanks to the limited use of a HUD. This also made the various on-screen prompts and various on-screen guides actually work rather well.

Each of them was added into the game itself as part of the overall atmosphere, allowing KeokeN to deliver a magnificent experience where players would find themselves drawn into the game for deeper immersion than any other title on the market. Exploration works much the same as you expect, you’ll find that as you explore through the empty hallways (albeit absolutely a devastating experience), is a haunting ordeal, making each location seem all the more hopeless than the other.

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While there are dossier elements, holographic events, and journal entries, the story is more atmospheric than anything else

Whether it was the moment I arrived at Pearson Space Station (one of the few first-person perspective moments in the game), I felt as if hope had begun to quickly become something of the past. This deep-seated hopelessness would grow even more despairing as I arrived at the Copernicus Moon Base, making my way through its empty hallways, seeing the devastation brought upon the facility by a catastrophe of its own.

I would find these gorgeously rendered environments to be filled with immaculate attention to detail, each one littered with personal artifacts from those that called the Moonbase, Huygen’s Research Facility, and even the Reinhold Station home. I would find the belongings of a child (chessboard, books, etc) that are strewn about while a voice log gave us a deeper idea of what had unfolded on the base.

The environment itself would seem cozy, lived-in at one point or another, which would not pale in comparison to the stark contrast to the lunar landscape that these very facilities were built upon. The soft, yet noticeable attention to detail would expand even further with safety posters placed tactfully on the walls, containers, crates, lockers, and various other maintenance items would be left open as if their owners had left in a hurry.

The overall realism to the experience would drive what Deliver Us The Moon would come to offer even deeper in our minds. The reason why? This could really happen if science pushed us to those limits, to live among the stars, away from the planet that we called home. Forcing us to build colonies on places that we shouldn’t depend on in any one way or another.

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The attention to detail isn’t just the environment, but also how zero gravity and simulated gravity works and the overall sound design

As you might already have noticed, something has gone wrong on the Moon. Gravity, at times, is a delicacy here, forcing players to come to terms with the game’s use of gravity itself. You’ll find that moving past floating objects that will realistically react to your touch does exist. You’ll also find that it happens more often than not. This does add to a sense of disorientation when moving around in the first-person view through select segments of the game.

However, it’s also hard not to appreciate this attention to detail as it is a common-place throughout the entirety of the game. Even then, these elements remain in third-person view as well, showing that KeokeN wasn’t holding back as they brought their story to life. You’ll find that as you move about, it won’t be uncommon to hear muffled thuds of your boots as they make contact with the ground. You’ll also find the vacuum of space is empty, terrifying even as explosions sometimes erupt before your eyes.

Each element of the game’s overall design brings this haunting experience to life, beckoning you to go even further to get a chance to see it all. To uncover the truth of what happened across the lunar colony and why you haven’t met another living being yet outside of your ASE (robot) companion).

This companion only helps to push each stylized element of the game to life, often showing it bring holograms to life so that you might see the truth unfold before your eyes, allowing beautifully designed holograms flourish before you as the story begins to unfold. We won’t talk about that though, spoilers there.

This is where sound design also comes into play. This game has some of the best voice acting you can imagine featuring a wide array of talent, especially that of Engineer Sarah Baker who unwittingly becomes a major key player in the overall experience. Her voice actress makes the world feel even more alive than before, giving hope, reason, and understanding of the catastrophic events that have happened.

It’s here where the story becomes more heartwrenching than ever before. It makes each locale all the more hopeless as each one seems less promising than the other. However, that’s not always the case as every element also brings hope for a better tomorrow.

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Performance does, at times, take a drastic hit

One of the things I did notice throughout my entire adventure was performance did take a slight hit from time to time. This could most likely be due to how the auto-save system actually functions when getting a chance to play the game. Often-times, you’ll feel as if your system is about to freeze, locking your astronaut into place as you begin to dart about a corner or come off an oxygen refill station.

However, that’s not the case and soon you’re back on your way to move about and continue your 10-12 hour journey. It does break the immersion, unfortunately, making this adventure slightly jump and hard to enjoy once that level of immersion is actually broken. While I do say this, I more-often-than-not found those to be the perfect places to stop and take a small break in a single session.

In moments where the game became the most intense, I also found performance to get slammed when framerates begin to drop from their respective 60fps at 1080p. It’s cringeworthy, especially for such a standout title that has more drawing power than others on the market. Hopefully, this will get fixed in the future and the save feature won’t seemingly freeze the game between each and every sequence.

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I promise that I’ll Deliver Us The Moon – The Conclusion

When it comes to discussing this game and not trying to spoil almost anything, it is hard to do as this is one of those few titles that have drawn me in the way it has. Unlike most titles I seem to enjoy, Deliver Us The Moon is unique in the sense that it focuses on realistic issues, each one giving us a deeper look at where humanity could be headed in our current direction we are headed.

It’s a game filled to the brim with psychological twists and turns, each one possibly being just as anxiety-inducing as the other. That’s the charm though, that’s what makes those science-fiction thriller moments stand out from the rest. It’s one that will stand equally among other titles of its kind such as the impactful title that has grown on me by the name of The Town of Light.

 

Deliver Us The Moon
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: KeokeN Interactive
Publisher: Wired Productions
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $24.99

Thankfully, KeokeN Interactive shows a lot of promise as an indie studio with Deliver Us The Moon and if things work out, they’ve given us even more hopes for a prequel, one that will let us explore the events that led up to this title in further depth in the future. When all said and done though, a part of me hopes that they don’t as this is a masterpiece that might just go down as one of the most beautifully told stories this generation


Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


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About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable.  You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!

 

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