Lifeless Moon Impressions: Live On The Dark Side

The title is a lie. Lifeless Moon‘s lunar setting is anything but dead — a fact that haunts my every step. I had a chance to boldly go through the first chapter of the game earlier this year and have since made it about halfway through the adventure. So, I expected the tension-filled, though not scary, world’s effects to be slightly blunted.

But no luck. Every new space I encounter leaves me more wary than the last even as I push myself on to finally unveil the mystery at the game’s heart.

Some of the game’s atmosphere actually comes, I should explain off the bat, from its lack of polish. Though the developers have cleaned up the jank I ran into during my preview, Lifeless Moon is not a technical marvel. But the limited camera range and inhuman motion make for an all the more eerie experience.

The game is set smack-dab in the middle of the space race, a war of astronomical technology and prowess. It’s a time of suspicion, hubris, and the unknown. The paranoia and secrecy of the era make it a wonderful period for a planetary puzzler. My character, an American astronaut having just touched down on the moon, is ripped away from the elation of his triumph when his crewmate messes around with a glowing anomaly.

Alone and unsure of what just happened, I push forward. The game’s action mostly takes the form of light puzzle-solving. Things like figuring out what series of buttons to press to open a vault door or arranging components of a laser to successfully hit a target are par for the course. It’s not overly taxing, but not tedious either.

The fun comes from the mystery. Around every corner is a new, unexpected piece of the larger puzzle. Like when I crawl out of a crater at the beginning of the game to find an entire city waiting for me. Revelation walks hand-in-hand with perplexity in a way that compels me to explore further.

I still have a lot of questions to answer in my Lifeless Moon playthrough, and I love that I can’t guess where everything will end up. So far, the developers have created and excellent narrative bread trail, which gives me hope for a intriguing conclusion.

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