First things first: I feel I have to apologise – mostly to myself, partly because it’s myself that I’ve let down and partly because nobody else probably cares – for not being very active on here the last week or two. As I’ve mentioned, things are a bit tricky in the old personal life right now, but I’m trying to soldier on through. Second things second, let’s just get straight into part two of To The Moon.
When we left off, we’d just taken control of Number One Best Technician-Specialist-Memory-Doctor-Whatever in the Whole Wide World: it’s Neil, everybody! Neil! Yeahhhhh. We’ve been tasked with wandering around the house of Johnny Wyles, our not-yet-quite-dead client, in order to find out a bit more about him so that we can do some ill-defined thing with his memories or something.
I head in the direction of the stairs, intending to find Sarah and Tommy and see if they could show me around, but Johnny’s doctor stops us as we make to leave. It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!
It’s a remote patient monitor, which will allow us to keep tabs on Johnny’s status as we explore. I hope this isn’t some sort of timer system whereby he’ll just die if I hang around too long à la The End. Anyway, we’ve now got a way of making sure Johnny’s okay while we’re off on our escapades around his house.
You can see the monitor at the top of the pause menu there. Downstairs, the kids are playing a new tune on the piano; well, more accurately, a more advanced version of ‘For River’. I’m a slightly-less-than-half-decent pianist myself, and I’m quite impressed that the kids can play this even with two of them.
Sarah’s pretty blunt. Much as I’d love to let them keep playing, I do need to get to work lest Johnny (nearly called him their granddad, but remember that their mum, Lily, is his carer so they’re not strictly related; I guess they might think of him as a grandfather figure, though) passes away before we can do what we came here to do.
Neil asks Sarah and Tommy if they can show him around the house like their mother asked. Sarah’s response is a non-committal ‘maybe’, which throws Neil off a bit. Clearly, this is a quid pro quo sort of household; I hope this little girl isn’t going to ask me to fetch her twenty bear asses before she’ll show me the house. The music that plays while we talk is ‘Bestest Detectives in the World’, so with any luck these kids know their stuff. Neil asks what the kids want, eliciting this hilarious response:
Lucky for us, there is an alternative demand which might be a bit more realistic.
Well, then the simple answer would seem to be just to do the chores, but if us fetching the candy cane for them will mean they’ll help us advance the plot without needing to somehow accumulate a trillion dollars, I guess we’re in.
I’m so tempted to tell them to cut the crap, but I never can bring myself to be mean to kids, even simulated ones.
My thoughts exactly, Neil.
I’m guessing this must be the kitchen. The kids are playing their version of ‘For River’ again; in a nice touch, the music fades slightly as Neil moves to the adjacent room.
Amusingly, Neil’s not tall enough to reach either. Luckily, there’s a table in the room that we can move over.
Such a badass.
I wonder how you pronounce a candy cane symbol in spoken language? Is Neil actually saying ‘I got the PICTURE OF A CANDY CANE candy cane’? He wants to know where to start our investigations; Sarah’s got a pretty good idea.
When asked what sort of funny room it might be, the kids will only say that they don’t really like it much and it’s ‘weeeeeeeird‘. We need to get the keys before we can access the place, which ‘the old man’ apparently hid in a book in the study. Taking an educated guess as to where the study might be (based purely on the fact that it’s the only other door on this floor), I check out the room to the left of the main door, next to which are some stairs leading down.
Jackpot. Wonder why Wyles even bothered hiding the key if everyone knows exactly where it is and what it opens. Silly bugger. I did want to have a look at the painting down in the lower left of the room, but Neil won’t investigate it.
Wow, I wonder what that could possibly be a reference to. Makes you wonder, though, if somebody did go to the trouble of rewriting Twilight to be zombies instead of vampires, how successful would it be before anyone realised? I mean, Fifty Shades of Grey started life as Twilight fanfiction. Anyway, Neil refuses to read any further, but he does manage to find the key we need.
Sarah’s making a strong case for being next in line for Neil’s title of Biggest Badass of the House.
The kids follow Neil around as we make our way from the study to the stairs.
If this was a different RPG Maker game, I’d be worried about a jump scare down here, but I don’t get that sort of vibe from TTM. Always a chance, though, so the first thing we do is turn on the light, then unlock the door.
Tommy tells us they used to find all sorts of things in the basement, like mouldy buckets, mouldy books, mouldy cheese… all sorts, apparently. Sarah’s flavour dialogue explains that Tommy fell down the stairs once. She’s ever so nice to her brother.
We head into the so-called ‘funny room’ and turn on the lamp to reveal… I’m not sure what. A room full of what looks like origami rabbits, with a platypus-like teddy bear on a table. There’s a weird sound effect that plays in the background here, though I can’t find it as an OST track on the playlist I’m using.
Platypus it is indeed! Neil doesn’t appreciate it, but I think it’s rather cute.
Naturally, I opt to poke it, which causes it to fall over. I do then opt to take it with me, since I suspect I might need it later.
The only other thing in the room that Neil can inspect is the music box, since he seems unwilling to walk through the rabbits. I guess the platypus is what we came for, then.
Tommy claims they don’t know anything about what the rabbits signify or what they’re doing in there; since Johnny never wanted anyone to go in the room, they never admitted that they’d been in by asking about the rabbits. The music while we speak is ‘Lament of a Stranger’, which might be my favourite track yet; so far, the OST is probably the thing standing out to me the most about this game.
Sarah replies with a simple ‘heehee’, to which Neil makes a mental note never to try to keep anything locked away or hidden from the two of them. We get a choice at this point to stay and wait for the machine or head to the lighthouse, even though it is a bit windy out. I decide that the lighthouse is probably the right move.
Neil’s just made it pretty clear that he intends to hang on to that Most Badass championship, I think.
I paused the game at this point to go and get a drink, and was rewarded with the interesting tidbit that Tommy doesn’t like turtles.
We wander up around the side of the house – and a very nice house it is too, I might add – and find the lighthouse. Unfortunately, however, the entrance is down on the ground and we’re up on a cliff. I would have thought that a world with memory traversal technology might also have some sort of instant ladder or something like that, but I guess we’ve got to roll with it!
On the way down, Tommy solves the mystery of the weird-ass boulder, then decides to hide it so he’ll never lose it again but nobody else will get to have it. Neil protests that we don’t have time for this, which seems pretty accurate, but we get a nice little cut and Tommy’s apparently just gone ahead and done it unopposed. I like these kids.
Ugh, Dr Rosalene, am I right?
We wander around the site of the crash, to the sounds of ‘Uncharted Realms’, and up the other path away from the main road, where we encounter a squirrel – or, in Sarah’s words, a ‘squirwel’. My fiancée’s entire family pronounce it ‘squirl’ (being a West Country dweller does funny things to people’s pronunciation), so to each their own. We head up and say hello to the little guy, which causes… an RPG-style turn-based battle?
Is this for real?!
There’s even a pretty neat little battle theme playing while all this happens, though I can’t find it on the OST.
Luckily, Sarah intervenes and warns Neil that she’ll tell their mother he’s an animal abuser. The squirrel buggers off into the woods, which is probably for the best.
As we approach the lighthouse, we get a little pan down from the moon to the ground, mirroring the game’s opening. ‘Uncharted Realms’ is still the BGM; I feel it works better here than it did in the house.
As we open the door, Neil turns and seems to notice something to his left. We pop over to check it out, and it turns out to be…
Called it. The kids don’t know who River was; they’re just pretty eager to go and check out the lighthouse, so I’ll oblige them.
It’s not the most welcoming of buildings, once inside, but we head up the stairs and into a room containing more of the paper rabbits.
After expressing his disdain for Johnny’s prolific origami work, Neil gets a call.
A tiny touch that I really like about this part is that the ringtone gets louder once Neil takes the phone out of his pocket, like how the kids’ piano playing faded if you moved a room away. It’s the little things that I appreciate.
Well, I think we can guess who the call was from, at any rate. We get warped straight back to Johnny’s room without having to walk there, which I can’t complain about; when we get there, it appears we’re all ready to go. Johnny’s got some sort of weird colander-type thing on his head – I won’t question it, what with being a mere layperson when it comes to memory traversal technology.
Well, that sounds intense and a little bit intimidating. Why do I get the feeling Eva might have said this to Neil before..? (Serious answer: because it’s what they do, so she probably has said it before. Immature joke answer: rough bangin’.)
The helmets bleep – syncing up, I guess – and everything fades to white. When the screen returns, Johnny’s room is sepia-tone and empty. Eva and Neil appear with a little digital warp-like effect, and at the top of the screen there’s a briefly visible scale showing a person who I assume is Johnny in his various stages of life. Eva says that this ought to be the last accessible memory as the scale settles on Johnny as an old man, so I guess we’ll be visiting Johnny’s memories from several ages or important moments in his life.
I imagine we’ll find out what this means, but I can’t quite work it out right now. Does it mean that Memory-Johnny will be able to hear Eva and Neil speaking to him, but nobody else appearing in the memory will? Or does it mean that Eva and Neil will only be able to hear Johnny, and not any other characters, speaking?
There’s that scale again, a bit clearer.
In the absence of any obvious objective, we head down the stairs. I decide that the lighthouse seems like a pretty important landmark, so we’ll check that out; sure enough, Johnny and Lily are there.
I guess this clarifies the speech thing, at least to the extent that it confirms that Memory-Johnny can interact with us. What follows is an exchange that sort of explains what we’ll presumably be spending the game doing, as well as introducing us to Johnny in non-comatose form, so I’ll let it speak for itself.
Lily disappears at this point, and Johnny starts backing up towards the edge of the cliff.
Well, that was kind of lengthy, but I felt it was best just to let this part do the talking for itself. So what have we learned? Well, Johnny wants to go to the moon for reasons unknown even to himself; we can help him do this, or perhaps more accurately we can alter his memory to make him believe that he did. I guess we’ll have to jump backwards gradually through his memory to influence the young him to change his life path so that he ends up doing it, and on the way we’ll presumably learn a lot about the man he’s become and the man he could have been.
I guess the next step is to use the platypus teddy or the paper rabbit (I can’t remember which was the one Johnny decided would be effective, but I’m sure it was one of the two) to make a small jump back in time and get to work on his memories.
Mind-altering corporations for teh wins!!!111