Despite my dislike of Kickstarter and Crowdfunding in general, the system has brought us a number of great games in the last few years, projects which actually met their goal and produced a game which resembled what was promised within the campaign. Deliver Us The Moon from KeokeN Interactive was successfully funded (HERE) back in 2016, following up with a few demos for the backers and a change of publisher, from Starbreeze Studios to Wired Productions.
I’ve played a number of space-based exploration puzzle adventures over the last few years, so I was really keen to try this one out too.
Glancing over the original campaign targets, I can see a few goals which weren’t successfully reached, goals which would have added a lot to the final product. However, does the game itself hold up to the original promise and expectations, or did it fall short? Let’s find out…
Deliver Us The Moon‘s story is fed to us through a number of exposition points, such as notes you find, audio logs, visual recordings, and narration/conversations with Earth. As such, most of the story we’re learning as the protagonist is, so it’s a mystery to both of us. Earth has exhausted all of its natural resources, leaving the planet in a crisis which affects every living person. As such, scientists and engineers discovered they could harvest an invaluable power source from the moon and beam it back to Earth in order to deliver unlimited energy.
Everything was going fine, from the point of the people on Earth. However, one night everything went dark – Earth lost communications with the moon bases, the power stopped being delivered and the people were back in the same situation they were in before this miraculous discovery. It’s been five years since the blackout, the government has been prepping an investigation team to go and check out the reason for the lack of communications and re-establish the link. You are the investigation team, one sole astronaut on an adventure of discovery and survival.
Although technically on your own, you’ll gain support from a floating robot (ASE) who you can directly control to help you overcome the hazards and obstructions you come across during your journey. Not only will you be faced with having to survive on an oxygen-free Moon, but you’ll also have to make sense of the fragments left behind – discover what’s happened to those who once resided there and if there are any survivors to shed a light onto the mysteries left unspoken.
During my time with Deliver Us The Moon I was reminded of a number of games I’ve played over the last few years. As an adventure game which focuses on its narrative, puzzles, investigation and mystery, the action may be limited to a single section with hostile robots and survival with a lack of oxygen, but the main focus is clearly the narrative and immersing you within its world. There are similarities between this game and titles such as Tacoma and The Station, as you’ll be wandering around various sub-stations and ships in order to uncover the mysteries via reading notes left behind and watching ghostly video holograms act out in front of you.
Flipping over to VR games, I was instantly reminded of games such as Red Matter and Eden-Tomorrow on the PSVR whilst playing the game, taking control of ASE in order to fly around in Zero-G and move through spaces our beefy protagonist can’t fit through. It’s a mechanic which was also prominent within the brilliant narrative-driven game, Observation. Although ASE is pretty useless in terms of its abilities, with only the process of activating certain panels as its single ability, having this AI tag along with you made the game feel less lonely and isolated at times.
What I enjoyed was the dynamic jump from various viewpoint throughout the game. The majority of the game is played in third-person, which controls ‘okay’ on both keyboard and controller. However, some segments will switch over to first-person, with the bezel of your helmet moving in parallax with your quick movements, just like it would in real life. You also have the chance to drive vehicles on the moon’s surface and operate some rather heavy machinery during a few ‘puzzle’ segments.
I mentioned above that the controls are ‘okay’ – I think this may be a personal and subjective opinion, but it didn’t feel like I was on the moon. The first thing I noticed was the gravity. Whilst in your ship, and within various stations, I imagine artificial gravity has been enabled – allowing you to walk around. I’m not sure what that’s like in real life but the controls felt a little floaty at times. This may be my brain focusing on movies, where gravity is 1:1 with the Earth when in space if it’s turned on, but it almost felt like maybe the gravitational systems weren’t fully operational? If that’s the case, then I take back my issue with it.
Secondly, still in relation to good old Newton, there’s stronger than expected gravity on the moon. Again, if this is something the scientists and engineers have established then I missed that note and that’s fine. If not, why is the gravity on the moon similar to Earth? Sure, as you run, you take much longer strides and it feels like a moonwalk, but as you cut off parts of a ship, drive your buggy over ramped craters, or jump from a decent height, everything falls back to the ground rather quickly – almost like it has no momentum or weightlessness. This didn’t distract from the game, but without explanation, it did remove me from my immersion a little.
Other than those two observations, I have no issues with your abilities and the controls in general. As the game progresses, you get access to a few new toys to play with, such as the ability to scan important items and log them in your on-hand computer, the adorable ASE companion, and you even get a ‘Goldeneye’ wrist laser. Everyone remembers Goldeneye on the N64, right?! Remember one of the first missions, using your wrist laser to cut off metal tabs so you can escape the train before it blows up? Well, Deliver Us The Moon gives you a laser which is almost identical in its feeling, look and purpose as the Goldeneye one – it’s awesome and very helpful.
As a narrative-driven game, Deliver Us The Moon relies heavily on getting the player to interact with the environment as you look for clues on how to open some doors, find items you can use to aid progression, and optionally watch and read snippets on whats happened previously. The puzzles themselves aren’t too difficult, it’s mainly environmental puzzle platforming as you work out how to reach certain areas before your oxygen runs out, or searching for ladders or heavy objects to create a new pathway to progress through. However, there were a few which took a bit of thinking and exploration.
One such puzzle, without giving away the answer, had you stuck in a monorail station as the tram stopped working and wouldn’t move. After looking around, you discover one of the crew members (who is no longer here) has the code. So, you must find a way into their room so that you can access their belongings and discover what the code is and how to reactivate the transportation. This single situation requires the use of an environmental object, your laser, ASE and a bit of exploration.
Although not technically a puzzle, piecing together what happened, where everyone has gone, what the remaining people were up to, and what became of any survivors on the moonbase, is almost a puzzle in itself. Sure, you can storm through the game and ignore most emails, notices, video recordings and audio logs, but if you do, you’re only getting a portion of the story. This reminds me a little of, once again, games like The Station, Observation, Tacoma and even Control, playing the game is only a part of the overall narrative – the rest is found through exploration and taking an interest in things you find.
Zero-G for me!
One thing I love when it comes to space-based games is when you get the chance to go weightless and float around. Deliver Us The Moon reminded me of Detached, a PSVR title, as there are some segments with you outside of the ship, floating around in space with no oxygen. You must float as fast as you can, picking up O2 tanks as you go, trying to get back into a sealed airlock asap. You can also move in a full 360 degrees, bumping into things and watching them float off with realistic weightless physics. It’s so cool!
Kickstarter goals not met
I don’t usually mention these, but there are a few stretch goals the original Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach which I would have loved to have. I’m hoping that, with the help of Wired Productions, KeokeN Interactive can look into implementing some of these features into the game in time for the console ports next year.
1. Local co-op missions. I’m not too bothered by the lack of co-op, but it would open up the game to new experiences.
2. Extra moon bases, vehicle and episode. The game itself is quite linear in its design, despite exploration helping you discover past events in more detail. However, I’d love to replay the game on the PS4 and discover there is a new building I can walk around or maybe even a trophy for driving around and finding things on the surface of the moon.
3. VR implementation. Before I found the Kickstarter (as I only realised it was crowdfunded when the hundreds of names appeared in the credits), the first thing I thought of whilst playing the game was, “why isn’t this in VR?” The campaign achieved 103,000 Euros, it needed 150,000 for VR to be considered. Deliver Us The Moon would be enhanced greatly if it received both PSVR and PC VR support throughout.
I seriously felt like Deliver Us The Moon was made for VR – I hope that one day this becomes a reality.
Despite my PC being rather ‘old’ in terms of modern gaming (i7 2600k with a GTX 780Ti), I was still able to play the vast majority of the game at 1080p with all settings set to ‘high’ with a framerate of 60fps most of the time. There is an ‘ultra’ setting, but my poor GPU couldn’t handle that, so all images on this review are 1080p at high settings. The game itself looks fantastic – the textures all look nice and clean (with only a few fuzzy ones which may be based upon my settings) and the lighting effects with dynamic shadows, showing your shadow as you float around, is done perfectly.
Deliver Us The Moon also supports RTX which I believe isn’t there yet but will be within a few weeks after launch. I’ve seen footage of the game with this enabled and if you have a card and system capable of activating it, you’re in for a treat! However, even without this new feature which everyone is now talking about (even the new PS5 and Xbox will support it via their new APUs next year), the game is visually very stunning to look at and highly detailed – even the cans of soda has the full nutrition and ingredients on the back.
Thankfully, as it was a stretch goal the developers never met, the game has full voice acting throughout the game. Not only that, Deliver Us The Moon is fully voiced in English, French and German, all of which sound great (I played about an hour in both German and French to see what it sounded like). The music is perfectly matched to the content and further enhances the fact you’re on your own in a scientifically advanced space station in outer space with only a floating robot and ghostly images of the past to accompany you.
If you enjoy space-based adventure games or titles which encourage you to look at and read everything in order to uncover the truth, Deliver Us The Moon is for you. Visually the game looks amazing, mechanically it delivers realistic physics and situations, and the gameplay will leave you wanting more as the narrative progresses.
Despite my query over the realism of the movements upon the surface of the moon, the game is very believable and delivers a subliminal message regarding climate change and the depletion of the world’s natural resources. My only wish, I hope we get some form of VR implementation for the launch of the game on the PS4 next year – that will enhance the overall experience tenfold!
Launching at a reasonable price of only £19.99 on Steam and GoG, Deliver Us The Moon doesn’t only deliver said Moon, it also delivers a 7-8 hour narrative journey which will entertain and intrigue you throughout.
** If you decide to pick up Deliver Us The Moon after reading our review (which you should as it’s really good), please consider buying it via GreenMan Gaming through this affiliate link HERE. The small commision we’ll receive will help out the site and you’re bound to pick up the game at a great price! **
Deliver Us The Moon£19.99
- - Visually looks really good. I imagine it'll be even better with RTX capable devices
- - The voice acting and music are very well done and further enhances the experience
- - The overall narrative of the game is interesting and makes you want to explore and discover more about what happened to the crew
- - It has a number of puzzles around finding clues and codes to progress as well as some environmental physical puzzles. None are too tricky and accessible by everyone
- - Has a number of various physics-based effects for various gravity levels, delivering believable movements
- - I would have liked a bit more story within the final moments of the game as I still had questions
- - More exploration and freedom to find new things would have been nice, although I know this was a stretch goal which wasn't achieved
- - Again, this wasn't reached in the campaign but I would love VR to be implemented in the future
- - The 'stealth' segment within the game was a bit annoying and resulted in me just running for my life!