Lifeless Moon launches on PC, offering an atmospheric narrative moon adventure

Posted on August 13, 2023

Lifeless Moon, the “spiritual successor” to 2014’s Lifeless Planet, is an atmospheric, narrative puzzle game that sees players embody an Apollo-era US astronaut. Launching recently onto PC and console, the game opens with the protagonist teleporting onto a crater on the moon, already hinting that there are some weird forces at play. Within minutes of scouting your landing area, an explosion erupts causing platforms to form, offering you a way out of this massive empty space and upwards to further exploration. Why are you on this moon? What entities are causing these weird occurrences? Who is the person talking to you via your comms? Your task is to uncover the answers to these questions during your “Mission 16” expedition via exploration and puzzles.

Within the first ten minutes of the game, you will stumble across an abandoned 60s town, equipped with a gas station, playground, and office buildings. Electricity pumps throughout these structures, though the majority of them are locked, urging you to find a way inside. Exploration is the main focus of Lifeless Moon’s gameplay and with the game giving you a jetpack you can extend this investigation to rooftops, where hopefully you will find documentation that will help you discover more about the moon’s secrets. Documents can be found all over the game’s world and these help not only to piece together the mysteries of the moon and town, but also work to help open up the game’s world so that you can explore it further.

I was able to spend some time with Lifeless Moon and it is a gorgeous-looking game. Colours pop off the screen and I love the retro vibes of the 60s/70s era the game is set in. Little details such as the world reflecting off your helmet visor make the game feel more immersive. However, the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. The jetpack, for instance, lacked oomph, only allowing you to float a few feet in the air and unable to scale higher objects. The game isn’t without its bugs either, the most annoying of which was when my character would get stuck, requiring a restart. A lack of direction and clarity was also apparent—it’s never fun to be confused by a game’s system. Better telegraphing of what was happening and why would have gone a long way here.

With hope, some of these issues and bugs can be ironed out, because Lifeless Moon really is visually stunning and I would like to spend more time within its world. The game evokes a desire for exploration whilst advancing the mysterious and intriguing narrative that unfolds around you. If that sounds like your kind of experience, you can check out Lifeless Moon now on PC via Steam.