It’s 2059. The natural resources of earth have been depleted. The landscape has drastically changed, with sand and dust storms making earth an almost inhabitable place. But, the World Space Agency, WSA, has found a solution. They’ve found out that the moon is home to enough resources to fulfill the power needs of the population on earth. Electricity becomes the primary concern for everyone.
When you launch Deliver Us The Moon, you’ll be told the story how earth has lost contact with its moon base, leading to a power shortage on the planet. To save humanity you are set to travel to the moon to see what has happened. And most importantly, to restore the connection between the moon and planet earth.
This game is developed by a Dutch independent studio called KeokeN Interactive. The company is situated near the Amsterdam Schiphol International airport, so it’s perhaps easy to see why they’ve been looking to the skies for inspiration.
Deliver Us The Moon isn’t the most original story you’ll play this year. It will remind you of all kinds of sci-fi adventures of the past. If you’ve played any indie sci-fi recently, you may perhaps be strongly inclined to liken it to Tacoma. However, KeokeN has managed to deliver on the atmosphere in this game. The sound effects, the music and the graphics are really impressive. The visuals this independent developer has been able to pull off can only be applauded. During some moments, you almost feel as if you are in a big budget space game. The music compliments the emptiness and loneliness of it all very well. A small negative note would be the occasional bad texture you’d see, which you notice even more because the rest of the world you are traversing is so beautiful.
The gameplay of Deliver Us The Moon is rather simple, but effective. You change from a third person perspective to a first person perspective depending on the situation and location you are in. You are following a narrative story, which progresses by doing main activities and picking up all kinds of notes and audio files along the way. During your time in space you’ll be completing all kinds of different puzzles, which get more interesting the further you progress into the game. While the puzzles never got repetitive or annoying, it’s certainly not the strongest aspect of the game.
The developers have taken a big risk going in this direction. This game could’ve ended up as a very generic puzzle game in a setting seen many times. But due to the decent narrative and fantastic audio and graphical design it manages to become more than the sum of it’s parts.
When playing Deliver Us The Moon you are taught to be observant. Clues could be anywhere and they will be needed during your playthrough. The game mostly shines when it nails the rhythm of balancing the relaxing moments of a calm before the storm and the high pressure scenes. Timed scenarios, like when you are almost out of oxygen and have to finish a puzzle are alternated with moments where you just listen to an audio file or look at projections play out a set piece for the storyline.
The story is delivered convincingly with impressive voice acting and enough dramatic moments to keep you engaged. The plot isn’t the most interesting ever seen in video games, but gives you enough to continue exploring every little detail. Every corner of the locations you are visiting can tell a small part of the story. All the audio files, notes and other small parts of the stories you find along the way are stored in a well designed menu. This way you can keep up to date with all the information you’ve found.
The controls however do reveal the budget they may have been working within. When travelling in a zero gravity environment, which felt like zero gravity, you’ll easily feel annoyed by the way your character controls. Not because of the floating around or the fact that up and down and left and right don’t matter no more, but because you’re constantly bumping into things as if your character is a car with just a ‘forward’ and ‘reverse’. But overall the controls are sufficient enough for this type of game.
Overall Deliver Us The Moon is a solid walking sim puzzle game. With a fantastic atmosphere and a story that keeps you engaged during this 3 to 4 hour campaign. The variation in first and third person perspective is an interesting choice, which really works in the game. The production value of this ambitious title from an independent developer can only be applauded. With good voice acting, sound design and visuals and decent gameplay, this game rises above being ‘just a sci-fi game’ in a convincing way.
The game is available on Xbox Game Pass on console and PC. This review was based on the PC version of the game.