When Den of Geek was at the London offices of the gaming trade body Ukie, we had the opportunity to check out a number of upcoming indie games: we’ve already told you how we got on with the soaring battles of The Falconeer and the scary puzzles of Those Who Remain, and now it’s time to chat about the time that we spent with the Nintendo Switch build of the sci-fi thriller Deliver Us The Moon.
Developed by Dutch brothers Koen Deetman and Paul Deetman (through their company KeokeN Interactive), Deliver Us The Moon is an astronaut adventure game that is inspired by their grandpa – he built telescopes and had a deep fascination with outer space. Since they couldn’t become astronauts themselves, Koen and Paul decided to channel this familial passion for the cosmos into an interactive experience. They also took inspiration from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, aiming to capture that rare blend of human realism and high-concept sci-fi.
Deliver Us The Moon is already out on PC, and it has received decent reviews and strong audience scores. But the publishers at Wired Productions were here at Ukie to show off the demo for the upcoming console ports. We tried out the Nintendo Switch version, and based on our experience with this teasing taste of the game, we’re confident in predicting that Deliver Us The Moon will make a lot of new fans on Nintendo’s much-loved handheld platform.
Things start off simply enough. You take control of an astronaut that is due to leave Earth (the planet is on the verge of collapse and in the middle of a huge dust storm), and your first jobs involve picking up your spacesuit and making your way toward the launchpad. Although the not-quite-finished Switch port made the movement feel a bit slow and clunky, it was still enjoyable to wander around this opening level. You can scan items with a gadget on your arm and learn more about each new thing by reading the entries on your tablet. As well as being impressed by the depth of the lore, we also thought that the graphics immediately stood out – everything here seems quite high-end for an indie experience.
Once you’ve got the hang of the basic mechanics, the game throws you a few tasks – to get your ship ready for take-off, you’ve got to flick a flew switches and solve some little puzzles. The game rewards you for paying attention: there is a broken ladder in one area, so you have to backtrack to an earlier point in the game to find the portable stairs that you now need again. This may be quite a simple puzzle in what is essentially a tutorial, but there’s still a sense of reward when you realize that you’ve done something right. Hopefully, the further you get into the game, the more it will ask of you. The game has quite a serious tone to it, so you’d expect there to be serious challenges to match.
At the very end of the demo, we got another glimpse of what this game will entail. We were strapped into our rocket and ready to travel to the moon (in search of answers to Earth’s problems), but there was a complicated procedure to complete before we could take off. Following a series of instructions on the wall, we had to complete a series of checks and flick a number of switches to get the ship ready to fly. It’s worth noting that a lot of these tasks required precise timing. It felt like being in that film First Man, and again there was a feeling of reward to be earned, especially considering that the size of the fonts that we needed to read did look quite tiny on the Switch screen. (The developers are working on fixing that, by the way.)
We had a good time with this demo: the graphics were impressive, the tasks were rewarding, the lore was deep, and the score sounded epic too. There are clearly a few technical issues and presentation problems that haven’t been fully been fixed for the Switch optimization yet, but there should still be time for the developers to fix all that.
The full game should take you around five hours to complete, which isn’t bad considering that it costs less than half the price of a triple-A game. It’s short for a game but aims to be high-end in its quality, kind of like an extended and interactive movie, and here’s hoping that it will do a good job of translating those lofty big-screen inspirations into the world of interactive entertainment. Perhaps, if KeokeN Interactive can deliver a multi-platform hit with Deliver Us The Moon, the world could be their oyster.
Deliver Us The Moon is out now on PC. It will launch on PS4 and Xbox One on April 24, with the Nintendo Switch version following in summer 2020.