To the Moon is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about two workers from a company called Sigmund Corp. going to a man on his death bed to fulfill is one, true wish: going to the moon. They do this by going into his memories and just making him have a memory of going to the moon to fulfill such a wish. Of course, it’s not as simple as it seems. They go backwards in time through his life, seeing everything that happened to him before they can create the new memory.
This game first came to my attention when YouTube Let’s Player Markiplier played it (and cried over it, making everyone who watched it cry over it as well, including me). I bought it just this past June during the Steam Summer Sale and it was well worth it, and probably even more heartbreaking after already knowing the story and living through it again.
I don’t want to say too much, as I don’t want to give away spoilers for this beautiful story, but I’ll try to sum up my thoughts without going too detailed. First of all, while this is a game, the actual gameplay elements are simple, as with most games made in RPG Maker. There are some puzzles here and there, some simple and some that make you think more, but for the most part this game is completely story driven. In most cases I think it’s a better idea to go for gameplay over story, but with games like these, story is so important. Games like these generally have better written stories than a lot of other games that have mediocre gameplay and try to say that its story is more important than its gameplay. Things with simple yet charming gameplay work best with this sort of formula, I think.
There really is very little in the way of gameplay and it’s mostly just a tool to drive you through the story. You could argue that this would work just as well as a novel or comic or movie or show because of this. But really, I can’t imagine it without that element of interactivity. You would lose part of the emotional depth if you took away the interactive part of this story. The main characters are essentially just observers of the story – of the old man’s memories, and so you feel like you are doing the exact same thing as a gamer: you’re nothing more than an observer. You really feel like you are the protagonists, which only makes a stronger emotional connection with them when they have choices to make and you get to see a little bit into their lives.
The story, as I’ve already said, is beautiful but so heartbreaking. Without giving anything away, the premise is to make an old man’s wish come true by going into his memories and then altering them to give him a memory of what he wants. But you go back through his memories, into his past, and see a sad history with his wife which just spirals out of control as you watch their love story in reverse order. When his memories finally are altered, it’s just so beautiful but at the same time so awful because you know none of it is real.
I could say so much about this story, but I may have said too much already in regards to spoilers. If you want a story that will pull at your heartstrings and make you think, this is the perfect game for you. Just be sure to have a box of tissues close by, possibly a tub of ice cream to comfort you.
There are also two DLC “minisodes” (as of the writing of this review) that go a little deeper into the lives of the two main characters. They’re short and sweet, and the second one gives hints at some strange mystery. I hope they release more DLC later on, if not a complete sequel to the game, because the mystery is driving me crazy. They’re definitely worth checking out if you like the main game, and I believe they are free.
To the Moon is a story that can always make me cry. But it can also make me laugh, make me fearful, but it mostly makes me cry. It’s both a happy sort of crying and a heart wrenching cry. If you like those sorts of emotional stories, this is definitely for you. I can’t recommend it enough.
Let me leave you on the beautiful music of the game, which also factors into why I love it so much. This particular song I’ve fallen in love with; sometimes I sing it happily, other times I can’t stop crying when listening to it.
“It’s called ‘Everything’s Alright.'”
“. . .It isn’t.”