Good sci-fi centres around human stories. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This juxtaposition between the familiar and fantastical is what makes the genre so enticing, allowing us to explore wondrous worlds through the relatable lens of the human experience. Deliver Us The Moon, the debut from Dutch developer KeokeN Interactive, stays true to this blueprint, offering a compelling, contemporary tale of solitude and survival.
In a near-future where Earth’s natural resources have been exhausted, man has colonized the moon in search of a solution. With the World Space Agency (WSA) having secured a new energy source known as Helium-3, mankind seemed to have renewed its hope of survival. Yet when a sudden blackout in 2054 halts all communications with Earth and with it the planet’s access to Helium-3, all seems lost. Now, years later, as Earth’s last astronaut, you must venture to the WSA’s lunar base to investigate what happened on that fateful day and reestablish the facility’s link with Earth in a final bid to save mankind.
Beginning your journey on the now desolate surface of our once blue planet, Deliver Us The Moon’s opening chapters establish an enthralling atmosphere while sowing the seeds of its intriguing narrative. Richly detailed environmental design, atmospheric lighting and a sweeping synth score conjure an uneasy ambience which successfully sets the stage for the game’s tumultuous events. Notes, diary entries and crew holograms strewn throughout the environment build an immersive sci-fi world that finds effectiveness in its authenticity, leaning more into scientific realism than high-concept fiction.
This authenticity extends to Deliver Us The Moon’s gameplay which combines simulation mechanics with environmental puzzles and exploration. Actions like launching a rocket, docking at a space station, repairing equipment, and aligning radar dishes all rely on your input, each finding new, inventive ways for you to interact with the world. Following a launch sequence feels tactile as you flip switches and pull levers, the flickering lights of the cockpit and roar of the engines giving you a thrilling sense of feedback. There’s something satisfying about how deliberate every action feels, and even the more typical puzzle sections which have you powering generators, moving objects and dodging hazards hold a physical and narrative weight than makes them meaningful. Some slightly clumsy platforming sections do prove that not every idea is quite so well implemented but these a few and far between and do little to hinder either your progress or the experience at large.
Varied gameplay and excellent pacing help further this sense of purpose, rarely having you dwell on one task or technique for too long. One sequence switches from third to first person as you navigate a space station, struggling to maintain your orientation as you float through its claustrophobic tunnels and chambers. Soon, with the introduction of a wrist-mounted plasma cutter and a series of airlock sections, this objective becomes increasingly more complicated as you juggle managing oxygen levels and clearing obstacles with the unwieldiness of zero gravity traversal. This eventually culminates in an exhilarating cinematic setpiece that sees you hurtling through space debris before inching your way on the brink of death back to safety.
Deliver Us The Moon excels at balancing subtly and spectacle. Much like Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity —clearly an inspiration — it’s the contrast between intensity and serenity; calmness and calamity that work to amplify one another with such resonant results. This story is as much about the micro as it is the macro, focusing on both the grand endeavour to save humanity and the bonds and schisms that lie at the core of this seemingly unachievable goal. While some inconsistent voice acting and the fatigue of having to read the majority of exposition hinder the game’s narrative, my investment in completing my mission never wavered and thanks to several poignant moments that punctuate the story, including its excellent ending, my effort never felt futile.
Deliver Us The Moon is an excellent work of science fiction. Stellar visual design paired with atmospheric lighting and audio present a convincing hard sci-fi setting that interweaves the intimate with the infinite. Engaging, varied gameplay matches this authenticity with sim-inspired environmental puzzles and rewarding exploration while a compelling story, while inconsistent in its telling, make this an intriguing adventure from beginning to end.
Deliver Us The Moon PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Deliver Us The Moon is one of the most refreshing sci-fi experiences in recent years. Favouring scientific realism over high-concept fiction, this rich, atmospheric vision of a bleak near-future presents a compelling journey beyond the stars. While inconsistent storytelling hinders the otherwise intriguing narrative, diverse, deliberate gameplay ensures every action is meaningful.
- An authentic hard sci-fi world brought to life with excellent visual design and atmospheric audio.
- Varied sim-inspired gameplay makes every action meaningful.
- An intriguing, contemporary sci-fi story.
- Hit or miss voice acting and some tedious written exposition make for inconsistent storytelling.
- A few clumsy platforming sections.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Max is a lover of games, carbs and soft-faced dogs. Often seeking out games that Chris dubs “artsy sh*t”, Max is Pure PlayStation’s resident indie games zealot, passionately championing anything underground or underappreciated. His other hobbies including leading a cult, being an art school dropout and telling everyone he’s vegan.