A nostalgic story, short but intense, which for years and years has conquered the hearts of the players who approach it. First released in the distant past November 1, 2011, at exactly ten years old we retrace the history of To The Moon, the team title Freebird Games that thrilled us from the first approach. Authors also of the most recent Finding Paradise, it is a touching story, born from mixture of science and emotion, keeps us hanging on a thin thread between life and death, giving us a narrative that knows how to touch the strings of our soul. After exploring the desert sands of Journey and losing your mind between Cuphead levels, now it’s time to take a new journey by rediscovering this title in our “Indie to Discover” special.
To the moon, a magical story
In a mix of genres between adventure and puzzle, To the Moon tells the story of two doctors, Eva Rosalene e Neil Watts of the Sigmund Agency of Life Generation. It is a company that allows those who are dying to be able to fulfill one last wish. Like? With the implantation of artificial memories. The two doctors reach a house on a cliff, next to a lighthouse, where there are also the housekeeper Lily and their two children. The elder Johnny, owner of the house and close to death, therefore asks to grant his last wish. None other than going to the moon. A request that, however, does not seem to have an explanation, leading the two doctors to examine his memories and retrace his life. The goal will be to understand the motivation that leads him to go there.
As can be imagined, precisely because of this request let’s retrace the journey of existence of this old man, who takes us by the hand to meet his wife, River, and we will be able to discover the deepest secrets of Johnny’s soul. Not only that, it is also possible to go back to the conception of the same house next to the lighthouse and delve into the darkest and sometimes negative memories of man. An almost psychiatric operation of recovery of his unconscious, able to give us back the most painful notes of a life lived intensely and in an attempt to forget what remains written in history. It will therefore be the task of the two doctors to resurface these missing links to understand their patient’s experience and take him to the moon. A literally short but intense journey lasting a few hours.
Fly me to the moon, ma in poco tempo
Precisely by virtue of this inner and emotional journey, we can travel through the different stages of Johnny’s life in a relatively short time. In fact, the title leaves us with magic and wonder in a few hours. To the Moon is a title with decidedly reflective notes, which lead us to discover more and more by quickly scrolling the short time necessary to complete it. As we can imagine, being a title focused on narration and the sense of what we want to be transmitted, the gameplay is rather basic. It’s about a graphic novel in 2D and in single-player, with very few actions to perform and, being available only on Steam, performed only by clicking on the screen.
Unfortunately, we do not even have multiple choices, but only to sometimes put ourselves to the top search for objects and solving puzzles to explore the various memories. A narrative simplicity that is also reflected in the graphic style and in the overall artistic sector. The game in fact turns out to be elaborated in stile pixel art, with settings cut out on the screen and small in size, while the soundtrack is an essential component. With its melancholy, sweet and poignant notes, it reaches us straight to the heart with its melody, composed by Kan Gao himself.
Why play To the moon still today
Being able to objectively evaluate the history of this title is still a difficult undertaking today. In the eyes of each player, in fact, he manages to arouse strong emotions, inducing us to empathize with each other tied to Johnny. It is a truly unique video game, which in principle can be attractive to pixel art lovers, but not only. To the moon is a game that lends itself not only for lovers of amarcord and puzzles, it would be a decidedly limited and limiting judgment. The work of Freebird Games is something unique, almost a book in videogame format that unfolds in front of us, revealing events of human life that are sometimes difficult to accept. We admit it, nothing too strong or shocking, no plot twist that is too unpredictable, but certainly a delicacy in the choice of themes and life experiences that touch us deeply. A “must” to be rediscovered in independent videogame production that in no way deserves to be put in a corner.