- November 13th, 2011
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IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU BLUBBER
I first heard about TO THE MOON not two weeks ago when those homos at RPS gushed about how it made them cry and got them in touch with their widdle feewings. Well they’re British (I think) so that’s OK for them. If I had Kieron’s teeth I’d cry too (Ed. Note: Bill has no idea what Kieron’s teeth look like). Anyway, fine, RPS suckered me into THE PATH but they also wined, dined and 69ed me into PATHOLOGIC, so I’m game.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? Oh Christ nobody told me it was an SNES port. OK, I kid. Sort of. I won’t lie, the obvious Japanese pedigree in TO THE MOON’s development was a bitter pill for me to swallow. Sure, it’s essentially a variation on the Japanese Nakige “crying games.” I can handle that, I suppose. It took nearly half the game, but I did finally accept it.
BUT GOD DAMMIT THE DIALOGUE IS SHITLICKING HORRIBLE. In parts. Lots of parts. You know how we use most of a cow for food, clothing and ammunition? The good dialogue in TO THE MOON is the bit they scrape up off the slaughterhouse floor and make head cheese out of. Or was it sweetbread? Fuck whoever named cow slime head cheese and/or sweetbread. That’s just bullshit. At least call it cow cheese. That’s appropriately disgusting. But I digress.
Back to the writing. It’s horrible. It’s what people who have no idea how actual humans speak to each other think is dialogue. Nothing that’s supposed to be funny is. Insulting people pointlessly isn’t funny despite what the internet tells you.
That’s not to say the plot is terrible. It’s not. It’s goddamned good actually. It’s likely one of the best I have ever experienced in a game, especially a small-scale indie game such as this. And the Far East aesthetic grew on me over time. And the music is fantastic. Laura Shigihara of PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES fame adds music so poignant and necessary it’s amazing. The soundtrack is for sale and with good reason.
I tend to avoid being too spoilery when it comes to short-playing-time adventure games where the adventure is the game, maaaaaaan so I won’t talk too much about the actual plot. I will say the game’s early stages were pretty boring and I would barely have cared but for the awesome score and that a decent mystery begins to unfold, one that genuinely kept me guessing until the end. And even after it was revealed, there was more to the story to keep me glued to the screen. I recommend playing the game in one or two sittings to get the full effect.
I was left impressed by the time the game ended. Considering how much I scoffed at the shitty dialogue – developer Kan Gao decided to replace anything remotely resembling a curse word and with fruits, vegetables and other market goods: “Holy corncob!” – I was legitimately surprised at where the game took me emotionally. Maybe it was the fact that it’s Fall, I’ve been through some things recently in my personal life, fuck I dunno. ANYWAY IT MADE ME CRY. A TWEE LITTLE MOPEY GAME THAT LOOKS LIKE IT WAS PROGRAMMED IN 16 BIT MADE ME CRY. I even let out a sob, an actual genuine gh-huhh like a complete twat. I told a friend and he laughed. Then he told a joke. It was like Ozzy in Paranoid in reverse, or something. Stupid Ozzy. NO MORE TEARS MY ASS.
Anyway, there we go. I have no choice but to fully recommend TO THE MOON. The dialogue is painfully stupid until the end, it shoehorns in gaming mechanics that subsist in a very narrow range between tedious and obnoxious, the flat 2D landscapes almost gave my eyes seizures, but the actual story and music and final act rival a Hollywood major motion picture. The game just kept coming at me and wore me down, what can I say?
Also it manages to imply that Asperger’s Disease is fatal, or something to the effect. Thumbs up for that. More of that in gaming please.