Keoken Interactive has been working on the full release of Deliver Us The Moon for quite some time. It seemed as though the developers had the vision of creating an episodic experience, or rather a game with DLC to be added. During its initial release, many ended up confused regarding the short length and the lacklustre conclusion of the game, and now the game has been released simply as Deliver Us The Moon, rather than Deliver Us The Moon: Fortuna, with more content added. While a lot of us at Gamereactor didn't get to experience the initial release, we found the issues in this 2019 launch as well, but more on that later.
Deliver Us The Moon follows a lone astronaut that leaves for the moon to find out what happened to the colonists sent out before, as well as to get the 'MPT' - the 'Microwave Power Transmitter' - back online. The MPT, we're told, is a means to an end, giving colonists the ability to send not only transmissions, but also resources to the Earth's surface - a planet with little to no natural resources left - and the colonists previously sent up by the World Space Agency have gone silent, the MPT has gone dark, and the colonists haven't been heard from for a long time. Something has happened on the grey-cratered celestial body.
The venture to the moon is not an easy one, and the ascent itself is actually a pretty amazing experience. As a player, your introduction to the game will be to get your spacecraft ready to go, with you having to rush to fix the rig up, get in your seat and, at the end of the introduction, complete some launch sequences in a puzzle-like manner. Taking off truly feels epic and as you witness the ascent through a first-person view, it's mesmerising to witness the ordeal through the window panels on your craft.
As you get to the lunar surface, you'll soon realise that not everything is as it seems and you are not welcomed by desperate individuals that have lived in silence. Instead, you'll find holograms of people and their helper robots, which is how the story is mainly told to the player. The robots, called "ASE", are put on the moon to help humans with some crucial tasks, but in the player's case, one very specific ASE will act as an infiltrator, hovering through tight crevices and ventilation systems as well as acting as the only friend available. This robot makes the game feel like a bit less of an isolating experience, but not too much. In fact, Deliver Us The Moon's sense of isolation is one of its very strengths.
When exploring the various areas, you'll come across not only hologram recordings, but also various bits of information, letting you know exactly what has happened at the location you're in. You'll come across audio files, magazines, information boards, pamphlets, and scrambled recordings that unlock once you've explored enough. There are plenty of secrets to uncover and that's what truly makes the game shine. As you go through the massive halls, tight corridors, oxygen-depleted rooms, and vents, you'll be on the edge of your seat, considering there's something to find pretty much around every corner.
As a space thriller, the game has you move through deserted space stations and hubs and even venture into space, both willingly and unwillingly, and there's something about being alone in space that just hits you hard.
Going through these areas, there's not a ton of mechanics to keep track of. You move with WASD, run with shift, pull your objective/collectible menu up with tab, take control of your robot friend with C, and fire your cutting tool with a press of the left mouse button. The latter is used to cut lock mechanisms to either get further in the story and to cut locks to grab more oxygen. You see, as you move around the various environments, you'll occasionally come across areas where there's no oxygen (more often than not prompting you to toggle oxygen flow back on). Here, you'll have around three minutes until your personal oxygen supply depletes, but you can grab additional tanks, adding some seconds to the timer displayed on your back. This, of course, also applies to moonwalking, although you'll typically be able to get in a vehicle when out in the wild, and at times you'll even take the monorail.
Deliver Us The Moon truly is immersive and hard to put down. The puzzle sequences within are fun and not too difficult to solve, the exploring is incredible and the story is engaging - however, the game has some issues. The frame-rate is often sub-par (even though we did notice a huge difference with a pre-release update, so that could change for the better soon), and while the textures are usually decent and sometimes even fantastic looking, occasionally there's a texture issue, making text on notes (like a door code) hard to read. On top of that, the missions can get repetitive as well, despite their immersion factor.
With that said, however, Deliver Us The Moon is a fun experience that grabs the player early on and never lets go, and for a game starting out on Kickstarter, it's certainly an impressive feat for Keoken Interactive. It's certainly worth boldly going with Deliver Us The Moon, and exploring the rich world on offer.
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