Dutch developer, KeokeN Interactive, with their first game, Deliver Us The Moon, invites players on a solitary journey to the lunar surface in order to solve a mystery.
With all the excitement over the last few months, I overlooked this game. So, here's my somewhat tardy review of a game that's quite possibly worth a look if you've not done so already.
The premise is simple. The game is set in the near future whereby Earth's resources have been spent. Humanity turned to the moon for the supply of energy, relying on a lunar colony to mine Helium-3 to power a reactor and beam the energy to Earth via the Microwave-Power-Transmission network.
Five years prior to the game the lunar colony went dark and the power stopped. Without the energy to launch a spacecraft to investigate it has taken years to put together one lunar mission.
Players take control of a lone astronaut aboard a jury-rigged spaceship sent to the moon, to find out what happened.
Whilst at its core, Deliver Us The Moon is a puzzle game, the setting and mechanics make it so much more. The game doesn't hold your hand. With a deadly storm approaching the launch site in Kazakhstan, players must refuel and prep the spacecraft for take-off.
Once on board the spaceship, the launch sequence must be followed to the letter. It's tense and gives the whole thing a more realistic old-school science-fiction feel. The game feels more Arthur C. Clarke than George Lucas.
Clearly, the developers have done a lot of research. The game is so grounded that it feels almost a simulation rather than a puzzle/adventure game. Realistic sequences like manually docking your spacecraft and theoretical structures like the lunar space elevator add to the authenticity.
The game offers up both the loneliness of being isolated and alone on a distant lunar facility as well as highlighting the inherent dangers of travel outside of Earth's protective atmosphere. Your character floats around in zero-G until you switch on the artificial gravity. Oxygen is a premium if you leave structures or have equipment issues.
Not only is the concept and story that unfolds fascinating, but the game is also constantly surprising you. One moment you are listening to personal log recordings, the next you are flying out-of-control through a debris field (think the George Clooney/Sandra Bullock movie Gravity) in outer space. Deliver Us The Moon really does deliver.
The game strives on presenting a realistic vision of space travel and colonisation. This is cemented by the use of incredible visuals to depict the locations and equipment in the game. Superb lighting effects enhance the almost photo-real graphics.
I played the game on an Nvidia-equipped PC with an RTX graphics card. This treated me to the game's real-time ray-traced reflections, adding extra authenticity to the already stunning visuals. The distorted reflections of off-camera objects giving each frame of the game a cinematic quality.
The game's epic scope, intimate stories, incredible set-pieces, and intricate puzzles all come together in a manner that is so much grander than the game's title and marketing would have you believe.
Outside of the action sequences, Deliver Us The Moon has a slow pace that allows players to take their time to explore the environments. Most of the time there's no hurry, making it easy to read logs to find out what happened and complete the various puzzles without too much stress. On the lunar surface, however, the game introduces a level of tension, via limited air supply, that parallels the risks associated with extra-vehicular activities.
Deliver Us The Moon is a rare sci-fi game that manages to capture the perils and exhilaration of space travel without resorting to fantastical elements. This scientific grounding along with an interesting story and some great puzzles makes for an excellent experience that is surprisingly riveting and entertaining.