Having originally launched for the PC back in late 2018, the stressful atmospheric adventure of Deliver us the Moon has made its way over to the consoles. The world has died, we’ve basically ignored everything that we should have in order to save it and even when we did find a solution? Even that didn’t last for long. Needing to launch a rocket into space before a sandstorm hits and destroys it, you alone are humanity’s last chance to get power running on the space station in order to send that power back down onto Earth so that Humanity can last just a little bit longer.
Deliver us the Moon took me by surprise. The puzzles and the interactions with the environments make it much more than a “walking simulator” as you had to worry about which way to float in zero gravity, you had to worry about your oxygen running out, you had to worry about not being crushed in certain cases and electrocuted in others while you float around. Some puzzles while seemingly straightforward are anything but as you have to go the long way around because of a collapsed corridor or just simply not being able to go through the door right in front of you. Conceptually this title hits a home run but unfortunately the performance doesn’t always keep up but more on that later.
From a design perspective, the team really nailed the silent protagonist and they’ve done so in an interesting way. For the most part, you’re going to be running around and trying to get things back up and running or at least cleared out of the way in order to move forward. You’re going to push, pull, and use a laser to cut locks off to do it. Communications with the Earth are almost non-existent and while they can talk to you, you can’t talk to them. It’s really a one way communication path. So while you hear from them from time to time, and while you see holograms that reenact what happened in certain locations, the inner monologue is your own. I often found myself asking what happened, why did someone do that, where I should be going. So the character had a personality, they had mine and with that they didn’t need to speak until they finally did and everything came into clear focus of exactly who you are.
And I appreciated this. It also helps that oxygen in a lot of locations is limited so to conserve it, you may not want to do anything more than breathe lest you waste it. Floating in zero gravity while on the space station was neat. You can rotate yourself around as puzzles are a bit more than a floor to ceiling approach. Turning around in different angles can really help shed a light on what exactly you are doing in order to move ahead. By contrast, once you hit the Moon’s surface, the oxygen can still be an issue but you’ll at least have a semblance of gravity and a robot companion to help as they can fly around and use certain switches that you yourself can’t.
The stress of it all comes into play when your oxygen tank starts to count down because there’s no life support to help you out. Three Minutes. Three minutes is all you have and while you’re looking for the way ahead, you also have to look for extra small tanks that can give you anywhere between ten to thirty extra seconds. The sighs of relief when you make it into an airlock or back into your vehicle are almost palpable as I found myself holding my breath just to make it through. I was that invested.
So it’s with that investment that I was disappointed that Deliver us the Moon had a few technical issues such as frame rates and audio hiccups. Sometimes while going through the same hallway it would drop in quality, other times it would lag and finally sometimes it was just as perfect as it was meant to be. It was odd that all three types of things could happen and that it was never consistent. Let’s just say I had the chance to do this a few times as I wasn’t quite sure where to move forward at times while looking for that oneeeee little detail that I kept missing. For the audio though, there was scratching that came through in bursts or sometimes for long periods of time but at a lower level. I’m not sure if that was intentional in order to emulate the inside of the helmet’s audio, but it could be grating and I knew it was the title because the headphones have done it on nothing else before or after my adventure.
Even with these issues in scope though, they weren’t enough to take away from the experience. It’s not just the environments either. Heading to launch the rocket, being on the space station, moving down to the moon’s surface, there are books, notes, audio logs and holograms that can either be watched in a cinematic experience or from your actual vantage point that lets you look and listen while still searching around for other things. While you’re alone, these little items make the world feel real and not as empty as it currently looks because people used to actually live and work in these places that you’re exploring.