REVIEW: ‘Deliver Us The Moon,’ A Masterpiece Mired by Its Ending (Xbox One)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Deliver Us The Moon
Deliver Us The Moon is an adventure puzzle game published by Wired Productions and developed by KeokeN Interactive. In the future, the earth had been depleted of her resources. In order to sustain humanity until a permanent solution can be found, a lunar colony is established to supply the earth with energy. But something has gone wrong. One day, with no warning, the power stopped coming. Now, years later, a desperate attempt is made to find out not only what went wrong, but to get the power flowing again. If the mission fails, humanity’s days are numbered. As one lone astronaut slips the surly bonds of earth, they bear with them a single directive. Deliver us, the moon.

Ever since I got my hands on the demo for Deliver Us The Moon at PAX East 2020, I’ve been hyped to play the complete game on my Xbox One. Now that I’ve finished my playthrough, I have so much I want to give praise to about this game. Unfortunately, the performance isn’t as flawless as it almost was. While the entirety of the game may not be perfect, the aspect of the game that does land perfectly is its setting.

Like many gamers, I’ve had my fair share of digital space adventures. Whether I found myself side by side with Jedi or mowing down Covenant troops as a Spartan, I’ve seen lots of space battles. In fact, at some point, it stopped being all that special. It wasn’t something I took note of conquering anymore. It was just another place. Deliver Us The Moon restored space as something to be wondered at; to look at in awe. Even though there isn’t a moment of combat in this roughly six-hour playthrough, I feel more accomplished with this conquest than many of my past adventures. I conquered my adventure, but I merely survived space.

This feeling of the vast impressiveness of space permeates the experience. From the moment you work through the various controls to launch your shuttle to the moment the credits roll you are reminded of how small you are within this vast place. This is doubly true for the portion of the game that takes place on Pearson station, in orbit of the Moon.

For this sequence, as with a few other spots, Deliver Us The Moon shifts its perspective from its usual third-person to a first-person view. And I am so grateful it did. The portion of the game is hallmarked by your character’s weightlessness. Navigating zero G is, again, something I have experienced before, or at least I thought I had. This game took the sensation of maneuvering in a weightless environment to a level I’d never experienced before.

Often times discovering I’d accidentally flipped myself upside down was disorienting, confusing, and completely authentic feeling. The need to counter your movements with pushes in the opposite direction to stop momentum spins felt so natural. The passion KeokeN Interactive has for this project is instantly apparent. That numerous parts of this sequence were accompanied by a ticking oxygen gauge reminding me of how quickly this mind-bending experience would kill me gave the whole situation a terrifying beauty. I will be thinking about this sequence for a long time to come.

Even though the highlight for me was the space station, the superb quality of gameplay didn’t end once Deliver Us The Moon got me to the titular planetoid. As problem after problem rose up,  I found myself constantly being challenged to use my environment and various tools to set the lunar colony to right.

Deliver Us The Moon

While several of these puzzles proved a significant challenge, none were ever frustratingly difficult.  This is in large part due to the excellent clarity KeokeN Interactive applied to what you can and cannot interact with. The consistency of visual design always let me know what objects might be useable. This kept me from ever feeling like I needed to walk around pressing against every table and desk in hopes of an interaction prompt. I knew as I entered a room if anything important was there.

Allowing the player to move through the obstacles at a fairly smooth pace was, in my opinion, a great choice. With earth hanging in the balance, it would have felt weird for the games pacing to halt story progression for hours every time I entered a room. This approach allows a feeling of accomplishment without sacrificing story pacing.

While I’ve gushed about Deliver Us The Moon‘s setting, its story also deserves its own attention. Told through written notes as well as audio and holographic recordings, the story allows the player to learn what happened both to the colonists and the astronauts that came before you trying to save the station. KeokeN does another excellent job with how it parcels out its story. While the most critical information can’t be missed, there is enough extra side content to please those who love hunting for clues.

But while the puzzles, settings, and story all get high marks, there are a few problems this game struggles with. Most are minor technical issues. The only one big enough to call notable of these was the excessive presence of rumble whenever you are piloting the lunar ground vehicle. It ran so hard constantly I had to take breaks as my hands were going numb. Even upon turning of the rumble feature in the menu it still wouldn’t relent. Hopefully, this will be something that’ll be remedied quickly upon launch. But, even though this technical hiccup was frustrating it wasn’t nearly as bad as my only true complaint about the game. The final challenge.

Every task throughout Deliver Us The Moon was mechanically easy. Once you know what to do the implementation of the solution ranges from slightly difficult to straight-up simple. Until you get to the final challenge. I’ll be vague to avoid spoilers, but the controls for this last task are so oppressively difficult it tarnished my entire appreciation of the ending. I can see where the developers were going with this final test. I can see them trying to create something that would be so challenging you’d be cutting it down to the finest margin of victory. But, at least for me, they cut the margin a bit too thin. My tension quickly evaporated, to be replaced by frustration and anger. It only hurt more to fall to this low of a feeling given how high the rest of the game made me fly.

But, even with the stumble that I found Deliver Us The Moon‘s ending to be, I still, overall, loved the experience. If you had told me that such a grounded sci-fi tale could make me feel wonder where the greatest space operas could not, I never would’ve believed it. I am awestruck still by many of the moments Deliver Us The Moon created for me and eagerly hope this game is followed up by something even greater by KeokeN Interactive. Especially if next time, they can stick the landing.

Deliver Us the Moon is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and through Xbox Game Pass.

Deliver Us the Moon
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

I am awestruck still by many of the moments Deliver Us The Moon created for me and eagerly hope this game is followed up by something even greater by KeokeN Interactive. Especially, if next time, they can stick the landing.