Over the past several years, we have seen quite a few of these sci-fi adventure games. Some have been good, and some not so much. Rarely, though, do we get one of those games that looks as good as Deliver Us The Moon – a story-driven sci-fi thriller set in a future where the Earth has run out of natural resources.
Good storyline. Given that Deliver Us The Moon is a story-driven game, one would hope that the story itself is good. Fortunately, this is something that it does really well, offering up a story that picks right up from the start and doesn’t stop from there. That’s not to say that the story is fast paced (rather, it is actually pretty slow), but that it never really has any lulls. There’s always some new story development or event around the corner and it managed to do so at a pretty consistent pace.
What makes it even cooler is the way that the game goes about telling its story. This is not like a walking sim where the story is told entirely through narration and the environment. In Deliver Us The Moon, the story is told through several different means. You have the narration and the environment, but then you have various audio logs, letters, notes, magazines, posters, and other physical objects that all add to the story. And on top of that are a variety of cutscenes, both in present time and recordings of what happened in the past. A lot of this content is missable as well, so there’s an incentive to do some exploring. Granted, the overall story is a bit simplistic, but I really liked the manner in which it was told. If anything, it made the game much less of a walking sim.
Excellent atmosphere. A large part of why the story works so well is that the game has an equally great atmosphere to match. Although it isn’t technically a horror game, Deliver Us The Moon pretty much nails that feeling. You’re in a large space station devoid of all life, with bits and pieces of what used to be scattered throughout. This not only creates this overwhelming sense of loneliness, but one of dread as well, a feeling that perfectly aligns itself with the type of story the game goes for. It’s a unique brand of horror that shows that you don’t need jump scares, creepy monsters, or even an enemy to get that atmosphere, something that I wish more games like this recognized.
Great graphics and detailed environmental design. Another one of the game’s selling points is its graphics, and for a very good reason. Although I did not get to play around with the RTX features, I found it to be a visually stunning game regardless. From the excellent use of lighting, to the high-res textures used across the board, there’s a lot to appreciate from a graphical standpoint. The fact that the game runs really well on top of that just makes it even better.
And of course, there’s also the environmental design. This is something that Deliver Us The Moon really excels at, which is a definite plus given that a lot of the story is told through the environment. Just doing a little bit of exploring will uncover tons of little details, such as the little trinkets on someone’s desk or the notes attached to the inside of lockers. These not only add a ton of detail to the environments, but actually add to the story in some areas. Combine that detail with the high-quality graphics and you got quite the combo for a story-driven game.
Lackluster gameplay elements. As Deliver Us The Moon is a more story-focused game, the gameplay does take a backseat to it. This doesn’t mean that the gameplay is entirely bad, but that it is noticeably lackluster in some areas. From the relatively simple nature of the puzzles to the constant reuse of the same gameplay mechanics, there really isn’t a lot going for it here. For example, there were not one, not two, not three, but four entire gameplay sequences where I had to climb a power relay tower and realign it before proceeding, a process that not only consumed a decent bit of time but wasn’t really all that exciting. In fact, there were numerous areas in the game where it felt like it was deliberately designed to consume time – to pad the overall length when it really wasn’t that necessary. The game is already short enough at just 3-4 hours, so these segments are just that much more noticeable.
Floaty camera. When first loading up the game, what immediately caught my attention was how floaty the camera was. It didn’t feel like it was directly taking input from my mouse, but rather applying some sort of nasty mouse smoothing onto it. Looking into the settings shows that there’s no option to toggle it, so I just had to deal with it my entire playthrough. This smoothing was likely implemented to maintain a cinematic style, but it honestly bothered me more than anything.
Deliver Us The Moon is a game that does well on its main front: its story. It may lack on the gameplay side of things, but the story and detailed aesthetic and atmosphere more than make up for it, providing for a very cool cinematic experience. Granted, I could see many not enjoying the game because of its more cinematic focus, but it’s a solid game regardless and one I would recommend, especially for those into such story-driven experiences.
You can buy Deliver Us The Moon on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.