Three years is a long time. But for Soleil and her girlfriend, Esmeray, I’m willing to bet it feels like no time at all has passed since they started dating. Oh, and to be exact, it has only almost been three years, and to celebrate, Soleil has planned a date each day leading up to their anniversary, in From the Sun to the Moon. Sounds pretty cute and innocent, right? Yeah, everything will surely go according to plan.
At least, that’s what I would say, if not for a handful of content warnings being the first thing you see upon starting a new game: “mentions/depictions of child abuse, slight gore, body horror, mild jump scares, and disturbing imagery”. Just because something is pixelated doesn’t automatically make it less unsettling, so do keep those content warnings in mind before playing.
Still interested in my take on From the Sun to the Moon? Excellent, because, varying degrees of light horror elements aside, this is quite an enjoyable and relatively short visual novel. Short, and yet somehow, it features two distinct endings, both of which – much like its protagonists – are almost complete opposites. But you know what they say: opposites attract, something Soleil and Esmeray are more than happy to remind the player, and frequently at that.
Come to think of it, these two are certainly among the most lovey-dovey couples I’ve yet come across in a video game, visual novel or otherwise, and that is not at all a bad thing. Unless you don’t like cutesy stuff, presented in a bright and colourful setting, that is. If that’s the case, well, then I don’t know what to tell ya. Everyone else is in for a treat here, however, with a front seat to the spectacle of our two protagonists on multiple dates across multiple locations… and just generally having a good time.
I don’t know if I agree regarding both endings being “fabulous” (according to the developer), although I will say this: chances are most will reach the same ending after their first playthrough, after which the game asks if they would like a hint as to how to achieve the other one. See, at certain points, the standard visual novel format is replaced with a point ‘n click-ish interface, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say it turns into a hidden object-style game during those.
These are, for the most part, relatively simple; in fact, it’s actually impossible to reach a failure state at any point, as far as I can tell. But a few mysteries did still leave me rather stumped. Might not have been the case for the second ending, had I opted to accept the hint (which I did after trying for a while to figure out what might change something, anything at all, on my own).
Puzzles are also integrated nicely into the story, each date featuring three for the player to discover, at which point dialogue is triggered, and then solve – in order to ensure the date turns out absolutely amazingly. With Soleil being a sparkling ray of sunshine and happiness, Esmeray’s interest in dark humour might sound like something that’ll make the two clash rather frequently, but fortunately, that is not the case at all. Remember, opposites most certainly attract, and what could possibly be more opposite than the sun and the moon?
It’s actually pretty impressive just how much happened over the course of the thirty or so minutes (plus a decent chunk, in search of the other ending (tip: accept the hint)) spent in the company of Soleil and Esmeray, not to mention how varied their expressions were during each date. Weirdly refreshing to play a visual novel with pixel art in favour of the traditional anime-esque style, too, and definitely something I wouldn’t mind experiencing more frequently. That and more characters even half as cute as these two would also be quite welcome.
All in all, this is an easy recommendation, and not just due to its pay-what-you-want price tag. A visual novel that doesn’t overstay its welcome with a nice, simple premise: “Three cute dates between two cute lgbt characters!”, all the way From the Sun to the Moon.
From the Sun to the Moon is available on itch.io.