When I was young, like most children, I wanted to be an astronaut. I dreamt of the stars. I was fascinated by all things NASA and anything that focused on space shuttles, moon landings, and Star Wars. Now finally comes my chance to be an astronaut; the chance to get in a rocket and head to the Moon. I’m ready for this assignment, I’ve watched Apollo 13 twelve times and know how to wee in space, do some backflips in zero-G and solve complex mathematical equations to do with propulsion. I am ready to Deliver Us The Moon.
The story of Deliver Us The Moon is a good one, and you are thrown into the deep end, straight away, narrative-wise. You see, the future world isn’t doing so well, ravished by dust storms. It’s a rollercoaster of a sci-fi thriller set in an apocalyptic near-future where Earth’s natural resources need building up again. To solve this energy crisis, global powers created the World Space Agency, before heading to the Moon in order to start mining Helium-3.
We colonized the moon and everything was going hunky-dory, until one fateful night all communications with Earth ceased, and there was no energy left. You start the game, years later, where you assume the role of Earth’s last astronaut on a do-or-die mission to investigate what happened and save humanity. You first must prep a rocket to take you to the moon before it’s too late. Will you save mankind? The whole set-up and story throughout is brilliantly created, with you finding out more information about what went wrong with the mission and what exactly happened on the Moon. And then as you work through things, the conclusion is a highly emotive affair, with everything in between the two feeling well-composed and presented. The amount of work and detail that has gone into everything found in Deliver Us The Moon; the notes, pieces of text, and world-building you find dotted throughout, all needs applauding.
Gameplay consists of a multitude of sections that switch between the first person, the third person, zero gravity, and spending time in your spacesuit. You won’t encounter any enemies on your journey or have to engage in any combat with aliens or mad Moon-people. But what you will have to do is engage in some pretty cool puzzle solving, embark on some well-delivered stealth sections, and indulge in some action-centric elements and quick-time events.
It is the exploration that is the best bit about Deliver Us The Moon, as you get to explore the space station and examine all the decaying architecture and design. You will be accompanied by a small floating robot which you control remotely, and can travel through air ducts to enter rooms that are locked to you. You will discover audio and hologram files that you can watch and listen to, and these will deliver a great history to what happened before the blackout and clues as to what you need to do next in order to progress. The best thing of all though is that you get the chance to launch a rocket into space – with you in it – and drive a Moon rover around the rocky surface of our Moon. What else could be better than that?
The puzzles that you are left to solve aren’t so tricky that they will ever annoy, but they will need some hard thought and time ploughed into them. Thankfully, this never tires and they are immensely enjoyable. There is a really good mixture of different types of mind-benders and obstacles to conquer. For example, you may have to remember codes you have seen in order to use them to open doors or computers, or even hunt down objects that you can move around, positioning them so you can climb up to certain areas.
The action sequences meanwhile use a mix of ideas; you will be found flying rapidly through space as you try to clamber back to the space station, attempting to keep your oxygen topped up with canisters scattered through the darkness. There is a terrifying last sequence with a reactor that needs split-second timing, and throughout the whole space experience you’ll need to bring your very best platforming skills to the table. There are also specific stealthy moments, mostly centred around getting past some rogue sentry robots, and it has to be said that some of these sequences work better than others. Personally, I have found the stealth moments slightly annoying, as it’s all a bit random as to how you get spotted. But those which thrust you out into the darkness, flying through space, works brilliantly when mixing heart-stopping action with a need for skill. With zero-G taking hold it’s easy to disorientate yourself but everything has been so well-designed that it’s rarely a chore and is instead a great way to experience that astronaut feeling.
Looks-wise and overall the visual style is very good. The space station looks very sci-fi and space clean, but it is obvious that it has decayed and is broken from years of inactivity. The devil is in the detail, and with Deliver Us The Moon it’s no different with some solid attention to the designs, creatively researched and put into every display panel, poster, and corridor on offer. I especially like how the overriding narrative is told through hologram scenes, whilst being out on the Moon in the rover really does allow you to contemplate the vastness of space.
The soundtrack is excellent as well, much like how an epic space movie would sound on the big screen. There are enough shades of dark and light, action, and emotion in the score that are hugely appreciated from start to finish. All the effects are excellent as well, and when you are found in zero gravity you really do get a sense of the vacuum of space. There is a lot of voice-over included and this has been performed with relish by all the cast. A big shout-out goes to Nola Klop for the part of “Sarah”, who brings tremendous heart to the story, selling it with an emotional punch.
Deliver Us The Moon on Xbox One is a game that I have thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish, fully immersed in its 6-hour or so running time. There is a nice range of puzzles to play with, a great piece of storytelling on offer and some excellent exploring to be had. It’s all helped along by good visuals and some wonderful sound in both the music and voice-over departments. There are sections – like the stealthy bits and some of the action sequences – that can come across as a tad annoying and unneeded if I’m honest, but overall if you love everything space related and have always wanted to be an astronaut, you need to get out there in the dark expanse and Deliver Us The Moon.