HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewThe Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV...

The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller Review


2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon, the legendary Pink Floyd album. You might think that The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller is here to commemorate the fact, but you’d be wrong. It’s an unrelated conspiracy thriller which, now we think of it, the increasingly bonkers Roger Waters would probably appreciate. 

Having come off the back of reviewing Wales Interactive’s Ten Dates, we were well in the mood for some more FMV delights. But The Dark Side of the Moon is not from the prolific Wales Interactive stable: instead, this is the debut game from Tayanna Studios, a family outfit in North Yorkshire. There’s a thank you to Wales Interactive in the credits, so presumably there’s been some chumming up between them, but this is a new voice, and a new studio dipping its toe into FMV narrative games. 

the dark side of the moon an interactive fmv thriller review 1

The comparison between Ten Dates and The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller doesn’t benefit the latter. From the opening moments, it’s clear that this is a lo-fi passion-project, more home movie than blockbuster. So, we put that comparison to bed. 

The story zeroes in on the Hamilton family, living in the sleepy Yorkshire village of Marywine. Dean is the dad, and he’s been single-fathering two children, Ruby and Andrew. It’s not clear what happened to Dean’s wife, Sarah (Sarah Hamilton may be a Terminator reference – we’re not completely sure), but she’s no longer around. And he’s barely holding on, drinking heavily in the evenings and falling asleep on the sofa.

News reports pop in and out (Marywine has its own local news station, which – for some reason – was the moment we stopped and went ‘well, that’s not believable’), making it clear that an eclipse is approaching. Apparently, it’s best viewed in Marywine, so everyone and their dog is coming to see it. We won’t question why Marywine looks empty whenever Dean walks around it. 

So, everything’s heightened and something is clearly off. It peaks one night when Dean goes to sleep and wakes up to find his children gone. It’s out of character for them and, panicked, he heads out to find them. Cuddles, Ruby’s plush rabbit, has been left in a den miles from their home, and Dean suspects the worst. He calls the police, opens a missing person’s case, and then gets approached by Alyx, a conspiracy nut who believes the kids have been abducted by aliens for their DNA. We will leave you to guess whether she’s on the money or not. 

It is, clearly, absolute hokum. Look at it one way and it’s conspiracy theorist wish-fulfilment, where the government is to be mistrusted and aliens presumably walk the earth. Look at it another way, and it’s B-movie mush that we don’t get to watch much anymore. There’s some Prisoner and Battlestar Galactica (70’s version) in there, and that might be ambrosia to some people’s ears.

the dark side of the moon an interactive fmv thriller review 2

We feel like we’re wandering into a kennel and kicking puppies, but the performances are, clearly, from a family of non-actors making their first game. Dean, Sarah, Ruby and Andrew are all played by actors with the same surname, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realise they’ve been roped in by their enthusiast dad. The performances here are earnest, and when they’re performing together, they’re natural too. But they’re distractingly overblown, sometimes wooden, and about what you’d expect from a home movie. This is not high art. 

A touch more energy, if not gravitas, comes from the two actors playing Detective Blackwell (Rupert Booth, The Singing Detective) and Alyx, the wild-eyed conspiracy nutjob. They chew so much scenery that they’re spitting out tables. But they’re watchable and offer a few of The Dark Side of the Moon’s quotable lines. 

While a lot of FMV games stick you in a minecart and let you occasionally pull a lever to change course, The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller is a little more ambitious. It does still offer you those switch-tracking moments, as you can choose to put your kids to bed or take the bins out (hilariously, allowing you to pop down the pub if you wait long enough to do neither), but you are mostly deciding where Dean goes in the village. 

You can head down to the pub, the church, a winding woodland track, Alyx’s house and a neighbouring lane, and they often have people and items for you to interact with. It’s moderately refreshing to have some much agency in what Dean does. FMV games tend to back off from the amount that’s offered here. 

But it introduces a host of problems, and ultimately, fatally, knackers The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller. While there is the odd clue of what to do next, most of the events are happenstance. You need to wander into a location that the designers have arbitrarily decided is the trigger. There’s a character waiting in your back garden, a person needs to be called on your phone, or an item has suddenly appeared in a room that you were in thirty seconds ago. 

the dark side of the moon an interactive fmv thriller review 3

Knowing that The Dark Side of the Moon is prone to wanting you to revisit locations, it means that you get into a pattern of revisiting everywhere. We visited the church more times than we care to remember, but one solitary action happens there in the entire game. But the problem is that progression could be there, so back we go, tapping Forward, Forward, Forward through umpteen paths and stairs, hoping that a giant-eyed alien would be there. And then Back, Back, Back we would return. 

The same goes for item interactions. We had to revisit a location three times to search it for three different items, as Dean presumably didn’t spot them on the first search. A phone can be used to call people, but the game arbitrarily decides when they’re available, so you’re going to be calling plenty on the off chance that they fancy a natter. And you’ll have perfectly logical solutions for a problem, but The Dark Side of the Moon won’t want you to complete said puzzle just yet. 

You have to salute the ambition of The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller. It’s a conspiracy thriller that goes to the moon and back, delivering world-ending stakes with a budget that probably only stretched to a box of Yorkshire Tea. But for all its adorable ricketyness and hammy acting, the sticky-backed plastic does eventually come apart. The by-the-numbers ending and tiresome backtracking eventually topples it. 

Full marks for effort then, but The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller is only for the fiercest of FMV fans.

You can buy The Dark Side of the Moon: An Interactive FMV Thriller from the Xbox Store

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials


Our current writing team


Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x