To The Moon is an adventure game that tells a unique and interesting story about an old man on his deathbed whose dying wish is to visit the Moon. He hires an agency that specializes in memory manipulation. Basically, they delve into his memories and then alter them in such a way that he not only believes he went to the moon, but actually remembers it. It is a truly fascinating and intriguing premise.
The two young doctors who are tasked to perform the procedure and controlled by the player are Eva Roseline and Neil Watts. However, the true lead role of the game is the patient John whose life memories will unravel over the course of the game. Eva and Neil have to travel from the most recent to the most distant memories in order to make the necessary changes.
This is achieved by collecting mementos and solving a simplistic recurring puzzle before each jump. This pretty much makes the entirety of the gameplay. Needless to say, it gets rather repetitive. There is an awful but thankfully brief action segment near the end, but the game would be better off without it. To The Moon is all about the story, the player is more of an observer than an active participant. It truly feels like the developers had a great story in mind and then forcibly made a game around it.
But that's not the biggest problem. While To The Moon delivers some truly touching moments that will cause you to pause and reflect, the writing is not particularly strong. Most of the "funny" banter between the two doctors falls completely flat and some of the dramatic dialogue is completely unconvincing. To The Moon tries to straddle between comedy and drama, but it is a tough line to pull off and best left to more competent writers. Also, while To The Moon needs to be praised for trying to tell a story about real people in ordinary situations, it needs to be scolded for not trying to use the medium's possibilities regarding storytelling.
The game was created using RPG Maker and as such has no real value in terms of visually describing any of the intended emotions or moods. Presenting the game in a more unique visual style would have gone a long way in achieving this. Happily, the superb soundtrack is up to the task and will regularly tug at your heartstrings.
It's hard to fully endorse and recommend To The Moon. The game design is subpar, but the real problem is the inconsistent writing. However, it is a wholly unique experience with a fascinating premise and a poignant finale.