Having re-launched (pun definitely intended) under the Wired label, Deliver Us The Moon by KeokeN Interactive is one of this year’s most ambitious indie releases. The sci-fi epic is out now in PC with console versions to follow at a later date.
KeokeN originally released Deliver Us The Moon late last year, but circumstances had forced them to do so in an incomplete state. Critics noticed and commented on how the game’s ending came very abruptly, despite also pointing out the game’s abundance of promise – even though it was also hampered by technical issues.
This year, Wired picked up the game, which allowed KeokeN to finish what they started over four years ago. This doesn’t just include technical fixes and optimizations, but also the inclusion of Nvidia’s RTX raytracing technology. In addition, the content that was originally missing from the game has now been included with the Tombaugh chapter to help wrap up the narrative. More or less, at least – more on that later.
For those not yet familiar with the game’s premise from when it was initially released – it’s a sci-fi thriller in which you travel to the moon to find out what happened there. Radio contact suddenly went silent a few years ago, after successful mining operations there helped solve earth’s energy crisis. Along the way, you discover more and more about the mysteries that transpired here, and the motivations of those working on these remote bases.
Not having played the initial release of Deliver Us The Moon, we went into the game with an open mind. A bit slower paced than the trailers might suggest, the game is more about narrative, exploration and discovery than it is about high octane sci-fi action. What’s impressive is that the game takes you on a full journey and doesn’t just start you off on the moon – you live through the launch, your stop at a space station and then there’s your time on the moon, making for an immersive experience that lasts about five hours with the new content added in. I could see a playthrough lasting a bit longer if you take more time to pick up and read everything that’s been left behind, but I promised myself I’d do that on a second playthrough as I was too caught up in the narrative my first time around. There’s a good amount of puzzles along the way as well, most of which aren’t too challenging so there’s little room for frustration there.
The experience is also fairly linear in nature, with a few good set pieces that help propel the story forward. In between, you’re fairly free to explore, look for clues and solve puzzles and dilemmas (mankind’s state has left launch pads and space station to be in a state of disarray, so nothing works outright). The game keeps you on track though, with your main objective always being clear. We did keep an eye out for where the game previously ended, and the subsequent Tombaugh section definitely feels like it was a missing piece since the ending would have indeed felt abrupt without it.
Without giving any of the plot away, Tombaugh continues the story toward a logical conclusion while amping up the suspense a bit more along the way. It does, however, raise more questions about what happened and what is happening outside of the confines of your own story – so for some it won’t be the kind of definitive wrap-up you were hoping for.
Even without the option to test the game with RTX raytracing, Deliver Us The Moon is an extremely impressive looking indie title even though it struggles to keep up in some places, despite the performance fixes that were applied since last year. Environments are far more diverse than you’d expect (here the ‘full journey’ mentioned above helps) and the amount of detail is excellent as well. The environments (and your movements) also change based on the amount of gravity that’s available, which is a neat touch. Some of the backdrops and environments feel a little bare, but that can also be attributed to the loneliness of space.
KeokeN’s journey with Deliver Us The Moon won’t be over until they finish the console versions, but it’s great to see their ambitious project reach its conclusion. It’s not the adrenaline-fueled sci-fi thriller it might seem like from the trailers, but it’s a thought-provoking tale crafted with plenty of love and dedication.