I’ve recently found it hard to give my attention to a game with a 40-hour narrative arc (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy VII remake), so when I crossed paths with this adventure game from KeokeN Interactive B.V., I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Playing through was like experiencing an action movie as the hero, and I could definitely see cinematic influences like the movies 2001, Gravity, or Interstellar.
Deliver Us the Moon is set in the near future. Helium-3 has been found in abundance on the moon, and a colony is set up on the moon to harvest it and beam the energy created in a special reactor back to Earth. The world is thrown into chaos when the colony suddenly goes silent, and the lifeline of energy is shut off.
Amidst the chaos of world ecological and economic disaster, the last few available scientists and engineers band together to launch one final mission to send you the player to the moon by rocket to restart the life-giving energy supply from the moon.
The launch of the mission is fraught with challenge as you navigate the abandoned launch center and get systems up and running. After getting everything back online, the rocket successfully takes off. Shortly after separating the booster rockets, the action picks up as you dock with the space station. Most of the station has powered down and bouncing around in zero gravity, you have to get it back online. In one of my favorite sequences of the game, you have to frantically make your way back to the station after being thrown off by an explosion. As if dodging space debris wasn’t enough, you also have to grab oxygen canisters along the way.
Once the station is finally powered up, you descend to the moon’s surface via the impossibly (but scientifically possible) space elevator. There at the main base, you awaken a robot named ASE who helps you unlock security doors and access holographic memories, and the true quest to Deliver us the Moon begins.
When I first started the game, I was worried that it was going to just be a walking simulator. I shouldn’t have worried, because there are plenty of environmental puzzles to interact with, and even multiple ways of moving through the world. Most of the game is presented third-person looking over the shoulder of the astronaut, but the zero-g gameplay is all from first-person perspective, as well as when you are controlling ASE through ducts or other obstacles. You fly by rocket, move by space elevator, monorail, and moon rover. The moon rover is fun to drive over the barren craters between stations, and I can’t help but compare it to the Mako in Mass Effect. Several times in the game, there are obstacles or situations with short time limits and you are forced to run and jump like a moon Mario. Thankfully these sections are short and done well, because there’s nothing more frustrating than poor 3-D platforming in a game. Believe it or not, there’s even a mine cart racing section in the game.
Movement is fun and varied throughout the game, but what about the puzzles? Overall, I loved the puzzles in the game for their variety and connection to the world. You find yourself in situations where things are broken, and you have to use what’s available to you to get things running again. Sometimes that means powering down one area of a station and moving the power cell to another area, or you may find yourself manipulating 3D objects to reassemble equipment.
Many games get lazy providing you with background information on the world with notes and codexes strewn over the world. Deliver Us the Moon does have some notes, but the game also provides audiologs and holographic recreations to fill in the back story. These holograms provided by your ASE are very effective at fleshing out the mystery of what happened to the colony with long winded dialogue or cutscenes.
A few things drew me out of a perfect experience with Deliver Us the Moon. I could tell there wasn’t much of a character artist budget in the game. The developers were very creative with this by always keeping the main character in a space suit and sharing the past through holograms. The landscapes and structures of the game were very cinematic, but the textures of objects were very simplistic and often repeated. Then again, a moon base wouldn’t have marble walls, would it? The last thing might be silly, but I had a hard time believing there would be so many vending machines on a moon base.
The strengths of Deliver Us the Moon are its pacing and ramping up of difficulty. The first few areas of the game are very cinematic and fast paced, getting you into the world and acclimated to the environmental puzzles. By the time you hit the moon’s surface, the challenges begin to open up and vary, but they build on the ones before. The game has a near perfect mix of exploration, puzzle solving and action that kept me engaged the whole way through.
If you’re looking for an out of this world experience you can enjoy in one or two sittings, strap into Deliver Us The Moon. All of the elements of storytelling, environmental puzzles, and cinematic action sequences fire together to launch the player into a memorable adventure to save the world.
A PlayStation 4 copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this review.