Being an extrovert in a global pandemic is hard. I was furloughed from my career nearly two months ago, and I spend most of my time at home. Playing and writing about video games has helped me to stay busy by becoming immersed in vibrant, imaginative, and most importantly, character-filled worlds.
Until, that is, I came across Deliver Us The Moon. This game is the illegitimate love child of the popular Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar, and the card game, Solitaire.
DUTM is a unique Sci-Fi thriller developed by the obvious introverts over at KeokeN Interactive. The story takes place in the future where Earth’s natural resources have been depleted due to disastrous climate change. A World Space Agency (WSA) was created and locates a valuable elemental resource on the moon. The WSA creates several lunar colonies to harvest and transmit the resource back to Earth, providing energy for the humans stuck on the God-forsaken dust rock. Suddenly, all communication with the lunar colonies is lost and the resource is no longer being transmitted. As the last astronaut to save Earth, you must hike up to the desolate, grey desert (known as the Moon) and figure out what happened.
Let’s back up for a second.
I’m an extrovert. My batteries are recharged when I’m around people. I become whole through conversation, shared laughs and intellectual discussions. The prerequisite for all three being other people. Besides audio snippets of conversations and 2D, shadow-like video transmissions scattered about, you’ll find not one other soul to engage with throughout your journey through the land of green cheese. You are, however, accompanied by a helpful robot unit known as an ASE.
Playing this game was challenging for me. It pitted me against the one thing I try to avoid the most – being alone. Running around the empty and barren lunar colonies is enough to drive any extrovert into madness. I wanted nothing more than to encounter another person to engage with. However, like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, I was presented only with solitude (ew).
Once you’re up on the moon, the game takes on an eerie, suspenseful vibe. There’s no noise in space, so you only have the minimal game sound effects to accompany you with your overwhelming responsibility to save Earth. It’s basically a horror movie, but without any monsters or jump scares.
DUTM does a great job utilizing suspenseful, ambient music to really get your nerves twitching. This is especially evident when you’re solving puzzles on a limited oxygen supply (which is often). Not only is it bad enough that the MC is running out of air, but the soundtrack becomes increasingly insufferable to remind you of your imminent doom.
DUTM relies heavily on engineering-oriented puzzles to drive you towards the climax. If you ever wanted to be an astronaut growing up, or you currently have aspirations to dance with the stars, then this game is probably your best bet at experiencing a toned-down version of what it’s like to dawn a nifty space suit. You get to do a bunch of sweet astronaut things, including (but not limited to) launching a rocket and cruising around in a moon rover.
Ironically, I’m not STEM-inclined whatsoever. When I was in high school, I was terrible at math. I thought to myself “Well, at least you’re good at science.” Then I took chemistry, a nefarious combination of both subjects. That’s when I accepted my fate I’d never leave Earth (not that I wanted to, but it was good to know).
Although I’m griping heavily about DUTM’s inherent introversion and engineer-based game play, it’s still quite good. The graphics are done well and the puzzles are challenging enough to have you thinking for some time. And the reason I wanted to keep plowing forward after each puzzle is the story.
As mentioned earlier, all communications with the lunar colonies suddenly vanished. With Earth in dire straits and the Moon in possession of a valuable resource, could it be possible that someone else might have other plans? Plans that don’t involve Earth’s rescue, perhaps?
*sigh* Leave it to humans to always be their own Achilles’ heel.
This game really touches on a sensitive dichotomy between those who believe in global warming and those who do not. For those who do, a barren, desert-like Earth portrayed in DUTM is a frightening reality we may face. Sadly, even the believers in climate change aren’t exactly jumping to make drastic changes to their everyday lives. But, c’est le vie, amirite?
All in all, I enjoyed the game, even if I was emotionally exhausted by the end of it. Upon completion, I ran over to my wife and clung to her out of sheer excitement to be in the presence of another human once again.
If you’ve got the time, give this game a chance. Unless you’re even more extroverted than I am. If so, perhaps play something else.
Have you played DUTM? What was your experience like? Drop a comment below and fuel my narciss-… *coughs* I mean “extroversion”.