Deliver Us the Moon is up on Kickstarter right now, with a promising concept and a ton of media coverage. It looks and sounds like it could be a great game, a fun space-based narrative full of action and exploration. The Kickstarter page is nicely detailed with all the information any potential backer would like to know.
There’s also a demo, and that’s where things go wrong.
You’ll be surprised to read the moment you notice the demo that it’s not for the game at all. It’s actually a little interactive showpiece called WSA Space Agency. It’s a room, a museum to be fair, full of assets from the game with some commentary about the game.
And that’s it.
WSA Space Agency is a tech demo for tech that already exists, showing off rather drab and generic space assets. The developer commentary isn’t anything new either, it’s all stuff you can read about on the Kickstarter page.
Normally, I’d wonder why this exists. It’s a nice little thing to have I suppose, but why isn’t there a real demo available? The game is supposed to be due in August, and with a Kickstarter that ends in March, it’s hard to argue that there isn’t enough game ready to make a demo. They certainly showed off a lot of gameplay in various trailers and screenshots.
The argument is that demos take a long time to make. However, surely sectioning off a piece of the game that’s already in development would have been faster than creating an entirely new piece of software.
Demos aren’t required for Kickstarters, of course. I’ve backed plenty of games that didn’t offer a demo and I rarely regretted it. But as my father, mother, grandparents, uncle, and aunt would tell me “I’m not angry, just disappointed.” With such an ambitious release schedule, even for an episodic game, it would have been nice to see exactly how far along Deliver Us the Moon was in development.
The discussion would have ended there. A whiny post about a spoiled child not getting a demo. However, as you can see in my video, WSA Space Agency, the glorified tech demo, runs like a dead hamster in a square shaped hamster wheel. Too much?
I don’t have the best computer in the world, however it should be able to run an Unreal game that’s, again, just a room full of assets with ease at the medium settings at least. Cliqist editor and resident sexy beast Greg Micek tells me it ran fine for him, but “did have a slow motion kind of feel to it” and describes the walking as feeling like “moving underwater.” He also said he ran it on Ultra, but it was jerky at times. He also told me he was “bored to tears after a couple minutes” and couldn’t be bothered to play for more than five minutes.
For me, it was incredibly slow, jerky, and crashed four times. The fourth time it actually completely froze my entire computer. I tried the game on two separate computers, and on both of them it ran as you see in the video.
Some might argue that this is better than no demo at all, but I disagree. It’s not demo at all, and feels like a condescending attempt at selling the game. There’s nothing on offer inside, and while it’s supposed to be a fun freebie from the developers, it leaves me with more questions than answers. This is what they give us to sell their game, and after playing it, I’m far from sold.