Review – Deliver us the Moon

It’s the future, the world is dying and the last lifeline for humanity, the MPR system on the Moon that provides clean energy to the Earth is offline. Before time runs out, you launch into the heavens with a simple mission – Deliver us the Moon.

The Good

In Space no one can hear you Panic: One of the best things Deliver us the Moon does is create a sense of panic and urgency. The lack of environmental sound—or muted ones as the case may be in the vacuum of space, the countdown to your oxygen running out, the sharp but shallow breathing by the character, it all helps create this incredibly tense atmosphere that elevates what could simply be a walk across the lunar surface into a harrowing chase for the nearest airlock.

The Final Frontier: I’ve wondered many times what it would be like to stand on the moon, to walk in low gravity, to see and be among the stars and Deliver us the Moon brought me the closest I’ve ever been to what that experience could be like and despite the pressure to complete objectives or the need to find shelter, many a time I ran or drove across the surface with pure and perhaps even child-like glee. Deliver us the Moon brought me to the moon and it was awesome.

The First truth is, the world is dark: The world in Deliver us the Moon is a frightening future where not 50 years from now the earth will have deteriorated to the point where we either drown from rising sea levels and tsunamis or become buried in constant sandstorms that transform the world into a post-apocalyptic setting. Worse still is that without the moon, the world has reached a point where it can’t sustain itself, can’t produce the energy it needs to power our cities and technology. And despite being fiction, it’s impossible to play this game and not ask yourself “What if?” The desperate state of the world adds to the intensity of the story and the characterisation, a bit of world-building that goes a long way.

Patience, We’re only human: Deliver us the Moon is a game about saving humanity, yet as you’d expect it’s also a story about people, about those on Earth and those on the Moon, whose lives revolve around feeding a dying world and the decisions taken to perhaps secure a better future for themselves. It’s a story of passion and desire vs duty and obligation, about families, the desire to protect what one loves, to ensure hopes and dreams remain alive, but also the question: what’s more important, your desires or those of billions? I found myself engrossed in the different stories running through it.

The Gravity of the Situation: It wouldn’t be a game set in outer space without Zero-G mechanics and movement and I loved how disconcerting it is at first and how slowly you get used to it, to the point where changing your axis of movement feels as natural as sprinting across the moon’s surface. The initial section, before reaching the moon when you’re moving along space debris is a wonderful example of everything this game does right, not only in the Zero-G movement but also on every other point I’ve mentioned, audio, atmosphere, stories, etc.

The Bad

One small step for man, a short leap for players: Deliver us the Moon has enough variety in gameplay to save it from being a walking simulator (in which case it would still be a walking simulator IN SPAAAACE, which is awesome) but it makes the mistake many games make where their puzzles and challenges are too simplistic for too long, so by the time the complex challenges emerge and you’re dying to sink your teeth into the meaty part of the gameplay and story, the experience comes to an end, not with a bang but a whimper. The story ends beautifully, but I would’ve liked more in terms of the gameplay, more length, more complexity, some real challenges. Too many things have very simple solutions, very few of them force you to think and analyse the situations. The overuse of the “push heavy object to incline to break through wall,” was a severe disappointment.


Review – Iris.Fall

A girl wakes up just in time to see a black cat leave her room, only to stop at the threshold and beckon her to follow. Doing so, the little girl dives into a world of adventure, bizarre rooms and curious contraptions playing tricks with light and shadow. This is Iris.Fall. Continue reading Review – Iris.Fall

Review: Return of the Obra Dinn

The Obra Dinn was lost at sea, the souls aboard it missing along with the vessel. Now it’s been found but empty, save for the skeletal remains of its crew and evidence of great violence. It’s up to you, as insurance agent for the most honourable East India Trading Company to find out what happened on the journey before the Return of the Obra Dinn. Continue reading Review: Return of the Obra Dinn

Zen Gaming – Marvel’s Spider-Man

Recently I finished Marvel’s Spider-Man and it’s the first game in months I found deeply relaxing to play. Much like the last title to do so, I slipped into something of a Zen state with this game, my troubles evaporating as I did. Continue reading Zen Gaming – Marvel’s Spider-Man

Review: The Gardens Between

The Garden Between is an adventure game where you play as two friends traversing through strange landscapes created from the fragments of their joint past. The important events in their relationship become worlds to explore, worlds where the characters control the flow of time and can cause things to happen in different ways to open new paths. Continue reading Review: The Gardens Between

Review: Flipping Death

First time I heard and played a Zoink! game was during my first visit to Rezzed and the game was Zombie Vikings, a title I would go to pay, love and review. This year, continuing with Zoink!’s strange fascination with death, we have Flipping Death, a puzzle platformer all about being dead and influencing the living. Continue reading Review: Flipping Death

Zen Gaming – Gorogoa

This weekend I finally managed to finish Hob, and I’m happy to say it was as joyful and relaxing experience from beginning to end. But as I finished the game, I wondered where I could go next, where I could find that same chill gaming experience. Fortunately for me, the answer was already installed on my desktop, a very soothing and highly artistic puzzle game called Gorogoa, by Jason Roberts. Continue reading Zen Gaming – Gorogoa

Brain Game – How video games help me think

Have you ever been working on something and been so stuck you can’t think your way out of the situation? Have you then tried to force yourself to come up with a solution? Has it worked for you or do you find yourself still stuck just more frustrated?

How about when dealing with something personal and internal, some long overdue and difficult introspection, have you ever found yourself growing more and more upset, close to the breaking point and nowhere near that sweet epiphany your hope is at the end?

What do you do in those cases? For me, when I’m in those situations, I turn to gaming. Here’s why. Continue reading Brain Game – How video games help me think

Review – Unforeseen Incidents

Harper is a university dropout handyman. He’s got no motivations and pretty much no aspirations, until a mysterious plague spreads across his town and he finds an infected woman dying on his doorstep begging him to complete her mission. After that, he’s embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy, with dangerous twists and plenty of Unforeseen Incidents.

Unforeseen Incidents is a point & click adventure game, one of the many wonderful titles I’ve been enjoying recently, as more and more developers turn to the adventure genre to give us great stories and characters. Unforeseen Incident might be one of the best games I’ve played this year, a truly engrossing adventure that kept me hooked right up to the very end.

Release date: May 2018

The Good

  • Great Art: I love this art style. Part of it is the way the artist, Matthias Nikutta, draws the eyes, making all characters look bewildered, insomniac or psychotic. They’re wide crazy eyes and it’s phenomenal. But what really makes it striking is how much the important details and the theme of each locale, stand out. For example, Yelltown is a backwater town with a derelict quality to it, but only in its exterior. Buildings, on the outside, look patched together but on the inside they’re nice, and it’s the same with their people, they might seem rough but are gentle, and it’s all expressed brilliantly through the art. Best thing is that it looks wonderful still and even better in motion.
  • The Hero we Deserve: I’ve long complained of adventure game protagonists acting as villains on their way to save the world, hurting others through their actions, cheating and lying to success, which makes Harper stand out. There are instances of him messing with others, sure, but more often than not, he’s getting what he needs by helping others, by lending a hand to a friend in need. And he’s a genuinely good guy, often underestimated despite being quite capable at what he does.
  • Romance Subverted: It’s quite typical in a point & click adventure game featuring a man and a woman as central characters, for them to develop a romantic relationship. It’s been done to death, so I found it extremely refreshing that Unforeseen Incidents subverts that trope and even lampshades it. Near the end there’s a moment of tender embrace and Harper goes for the kiss, for a hilarious reaction by his female lead, Helliwell. It’s fantastic, and it’s not just that moment but an entire game where Harper and the women around him stand as equals, allies and friends without romance shoehorned in.
  • Brain Teaser: I have been stuck in Unforeseen Incidents quite a few times, oblivious to the solutions to the puzzles, even when I held all the pieces in front of me. I love it when that happens, as I have to think carefully about my options. The good thing is that at no point is the solution something so outlandish that you wonder what kind of paint the designers have been sniffing. Everything follows a rational logic, but sometimes the clues are very well hidden. For example, the password for an account in chapter three could be hidden in an item collected in chapter two, but with the username changed based on the pattern made apparent by the last account you used in another system. It’s all logical, as many companies and organisation tend to keep the same naming conventions for accounts, but if you’re looking for an easy answer, you’re gonna have a rough time, or if you’re like me, a hell of a fun time! Favourite puzzle, hands down, if the pressure plate puzzle to recreate a cult’s motto. Loved it.
  • Praise the DJ: Not only is the art style amazing and the puzzles fun, but Unforeseen Incident’s music is also extremely good, from the moment you launch the game, so kudos to Tristan Berger, the composer and sound designer. The title has this intense violin that combined with the sound of a storm in the background just makes you feel like you’re stepping into a thriller. Yelltown also uses the violin but in a much calmer way, along with a guitar, for something of a sad melody, reflecting the abandonment of the town and then you reach Greystone Woods National Park and the guitar and banjo combo just screams backwoods countryside (which is funny when the devs are Backwoods Entertainment). It’s phenomenal how much the music complements the art style in telling you the story of the place your adventuring in. It’s genius.
  • Strong Vocals: I have high praise for the voice acting, especially Harper’s. I love the intensity the actors bring to the characters’ reactions, in particular his bewilderment at other people’s craziness. Greystone is a prime example, with a collection of weirdos living in the area everyone with a stranger story, leaving Harper the only sane man in a few hundred miles and often reacting to the stupid things they say as if they made complete sense, the brothers managing the hydroelectric plant being the best of them.
  • Great Story, Great Villains: Often even the most grounded-sounding point & click adventure game will have a plot that goes off the rails and into cuckoo town by the end, which is why I so enjoyed Unforeseen Incident’s story so much. It’s a bit far-fetched but it makes sense and the villain’s reasons for doing things are freaking genius. They make perfect sense, and nothing makes a better antagonist than one who doesn’t see the evil in their actions but a necessity and stands uncaring in the face of cruelty, all of it part of the plan, another tool in the belt.

The Bad

  • Gratuitous Mini-Game: You gotta know a game is fantastic when the sum of my complaints is that between chapters there is a hacking puzzle mini game without any context. It stands on its own, for no apparent reason, without even a revelation down the line that it’s all been another character hacking the villain’s systems. Nope, just a little mini game to give you a puzzle fix between intermission story points. Yeah, that’s my only complaint and it’s pretty much nitpicking to have something in the “The Bad” section. The game’s perfect, now leave me alone and go play it!


Top Myst-like Games

A few weeks ago I saw that Cyan Worlds had put up a Kickstarter campaign for a 25th Anniversary Collection of Myst, a series of games I adore but because of limitations, mostly incompatibility with modern systems and being unavailable for purchase, haven’t been able to play as much as I’ve wanted to, with some titles in the series completely out of my reach.

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance and spent a ludicrous amount of money on the project, going for the next to last tier, “Writer,” which will nab me the digital and physical copies of the games and a Myst Book Box, which along with the rest of the rewards I’m hoping will be freaking cool. Continue reading Top Myst-like Games