To the Moon OST: Disjointed Just Right
“To the Moon” is one of the few games that have made me cry (in a good way). It’s an adventure RPG where you play two scientists who have been hired to alter a man’s memories on his deathbed – the idea being that he’ll have no regrets, and can feel like he did everything he wanted to during life. First you go back through his memories to get an idea of his life, then go forward again making the alterations necessary to fulfill his final wish. There is a huge disjoint, of course, in the game – the two scientists just trying to do their job (often with comedy relief) contrasts sharply with the poignant, often sad memories. This disjoint makes the soundtrack feel incongruous, but in the game it really works. However, if you’re just going to look at the soundtrack without playing the game (which, while acceptable, is a bit of a travesty), you should take it in two parts.
The first part is the Action RPG that makes up the gameplay, focusing on the scientists. “Bestest Detectives in the World” exemplifies this section perfectly:
It’s playful, it’s investigative, and it’s even a little hectic at times. These are the parts when you’re free to roam the world, you’re looking for clues, and you focus on the relationship between the two scientists. This part of the soundtrack gives you these upbeat ambient pieces, ominous pieces, and even battle music; you can consider this the soundtrack to the game.
However, I don’t think the strength of To the Moon is the game: the strength is the story. The other half of the soundtrack is the background music to the memories that the scientists see, interact with, and even manipulate.
These are the gorgeous piano or violin pieces that you hear while watching this man’s memories play out in front of you; these accompany the important conversations he has, or the decisions he makes. Where the other ones are soundtracks for the game, these are the soundtrack for the story – and they match its bittersweet dedication perfectly.
I love this game and highly recommend it. If you’re interested for a more in-depth review, read NightmareMode’s review; I think they explain it perfectly. If you want to play the game or not, the soundtrack is lovely and available on Bandcamp. While it’s hard to listen through without playing the game, the disjoint really makes the game that much better.