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Video Game / To the Moon

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"I guess the music's kinda nice."
Developer's Aunt

To The Moon is an Adventure Game/Visual Novel designed by Canadian Kan Gao (of Quintessence Game) and developed by Freebird Games. The OST, also by Gao, features Laura Shigihara.

20 Minutes into the Future, Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts work for Sigmund Corporation, a company that is able to use technology to rewrite the memories of dying people to allow them to die happy, as a kind of for-profit Make a Wish foundation. The game unfolds as they attempt to fulfill the request of their latest client, Johnny Wyles. Johnny's in a coma, and his last wish is to go to the moon... Except he doesn't know why. As Neil and Eva work backwards through his memories, the game reaches its emotionally affective core as true intentions are revealed.

The ending of the game confirmed that it was to be the first in a series, although the name of said series has yet to be revealed.

A holiday-themed story named "SigCorp", the first of a series of "minisodes", was released in 2013, and details Neil and Eva's work life. The second commercial instalment in the series, named A Bird Story, was released on the 7th November 2014 for $4.99. Taking place before Neil and Eva's time, the game is an hour-long interactive narrative without any dialogue whatsoever, that focuses on a boy who will grow up to be their patient in the second episode of the series. The boy, who remains nameless in the story, comes from a Friendless Background, and lives mostly on his own, with his parents only leaving him notes on the door and fridge. One day, when walking home from school, he rescues a bird being chased by a badger, and begins to bond with it.

A second minisode was released on the 18th February 2015. The minisodes are accessible in-game as free DLC.

Episode 2, Finding Paradise, was released on December 14th, 2017. In this episode, Eva and Neil are tasked with helping a new patient named Colin Reeds. They are faced with the problem that Colin's final wish is not only vague in its wording, but also seems quite paradoxical in nature: he wants them to give him a life without regrets, yet change nothing at all.

Episode X, Impostor Factory, was released on September 30th, 2021. The trailer can be viewed here. The story is somewhat unusual, starting out following a young man, Quincy Reynard, who finds himself invited to dinner party in a strange mansion deep in the forest, hosted by two enigmatic scientists, Dr. Warden Haynes and Dr Alise Yu. Quincy finds that the hosts, the house staff, and the other guests for that matter, are behaving rather weird and often speaking in riddles, and things soon escalate when Haynes and Yu are suddenly murdered by an unknown culprit. But what starts as a rather archetypical murder mystery, soon turns into something stranger, and is revealed to be connected to the previous games in the series in unexpected ways...

An animated feature film adaptation is in the works, produced by Chinese company Ultron Event Horizon. The film will be a Chinese-Japanese International Coproduction, and Gao will have input in the film as a script editor/advisor.

While the film is in production, full-scale games will be put on the back-burner, but smaller projects will come out, including "Just a To The Moon Series Beach Episode", announced in August 2023, which likely follows on from the events of Impostor Factory.

It should be mentioned that as a narrative-heavy series, the games are best experienced without spoilers. Read the spoilers below at your own risk.

This game provides examples of:

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    Episode 1: To The Moon 
... I've always thought they were lighthouses. Billions of lighthouses, stuck at the far end of the sky."
  • Abusive Parents: Johnny's mother refers to the main character as Joey, as a sign of being a replacement goldfish. Additionally, she later demonstrates Parental Favoritism to Joey and eventually uses that as a nickname to Johnny after the tragic car accident.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The creator posted a "novelisation" of the first scene of the game on the Freebird blog which adds a few details, such as Neil preferring to go by Dr. Watts because it makes him sound like a Mad Scientist or super-villain, and recounts how he went as far as buying one-way mirror glasses to avoid meeting the gazes of nosy strangers.
  • Always Save the Girl: Once you review Johnny's life chronologically, you'll find that nearly all his life seen from his memories revolves around River, starts from his teenage years to her death. And then it's revealed that they actually met for the first time when they're really small children, long before they even become teenagers. This is even more evident in the new memory where River was moved from Johnny's teenhood and he's still able to subconsciously call her back to his new memory. It's a wonder that Eva and Neil at first dismissed her as "not their client" until they realize how important she is to Johnny's life.
  • Anachronic Order: The order in which Watts and Rosaline experience Johnny's memories is from old age in reverse to high school, and they then jump from memory to memory to push him toward his goal.
  • An Aesop:
    • Most of what man aspires to achieve is done solely as means to reach another goal entirely. One should be careful to not sacrifice the end for the sake of means. Case in point, the very reason Johnny thought he wanted to go to the Moon was his metaphorical promise to River, and, without the memory of her, literally going to the Moon was meaningless. Johnny's true aspiration was his devotion to River, not to become an astronaut, so when his memories were rewritten, his true end was actually sacrificed for the sake of means. Fortunately, Johnny's subconscious desire results in River coming back in his rewritten memories anyways, and the last thing he remembers is them together.
    • Also, even if events happened long ago and were forgotten or followed by tragedy, it doesn't mean that those moments are meaningless or that they can't be appreciated. Although Johnny didn't remember his first meeting with River, it still resulted in their love and life together. Additionally, when Eva rewrites his memories to exclude River from his early life, Johnny still subconsciously wills her back, because he really cares for her more than the Moon.
  • Arc Words: "Tell me what you see".
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: Some beta-blockers, especially propanolol, are indeed used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (although the treatment is still considered experimental), but they usually do not induce amnesia (what they do is more in the line of allowing someone to relive a traumatic memory without experiencing the trauma). That said, memory-loss is a rare but possible side-effect of beta-blockers; however, it's still a stretch that they were used in a deliberate and controlled way to cause the effect as the game implies.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: From a symbolic perspective, Johnny and River. Johnny, the common guy who wants to stand out, has brown hair and brown eyes (the most common colours for those traits), while River, who hates standing out and wants to blend in, has red hair and green eyes (arguably the least common (natural) colours for those traits). This also applies to their clothes: Johnny tends to wear drab colours - typically browns, greys, and dark greens - while River prefers wearing brighter, more vibrant colours (blues, whites, and the occasional patch of yellow).
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The fake movie that Eva implants a memory of in order to make Johnny want to go to the moon. A cheesy line of dialogue is the only thing we hear of it, but after, Eva apologizes and blames the bad film on her lack of sleep.
  • Batman Gambit: After altering Johnny's memories by "removing" River, and successfully seeing that Johnny makes it to NASA and met River there near the end, Eva admits that while she expected Johnny to reunite with River at that point, there was a probability that it might not have happened.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Isabelle feels that by acting "normal", her "true self" has been lost.
    • Johnny had this trope forced upon him by his mother, losing memories of his childhood and becoming her substitute for Joey.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Johnny's memories are altered; he lives a full life with his brother still alive in his new memories, and he gets to fulfill his dream and promise. This does come at the cost of his teenage memories with River, but he does reunite with her at NASA. But he never actually did any of that, and his wife died knowing he never did. Also The Stinger shows Neil, clearly in some sort of pain, quickly taking some painkillers, giving dark implications to his own health...
  • Book Ends: In the beginning, just when the credits begin, there is a brief image of Johnny and River sitting on a bench together. At the end of the game, the two are seen sitting together, this time in Johnny's alternate memories.
  • Call-Back: In one of his more recent memories, Johnny plays "For River" for River, who asks him "Why so cliche?" regarding the title. In the altered memory at NASA, River's told by a coworker that the song's called "To The Moon", which she approves of.
  • Cannot Spit It Out:
    • When River realizes that John has forgotten about their first meeting, she tries reminding him. However, because of her condition, she is incapable of properly explaining the entire situation. This is the reason why she starts making the many paper rabbits.
    • Eva seems to have a thing for being cryptic for its own sake (although, granted, so does Neil to a lesser extent, leading them to at one point have a conversation about Asperger's Syndrome where neither of them ever actually say "Asperger's"). It comes back to bite her at the climax when her failure to explain her full plan to Neil causes him to turn on her.
  • Chekhov's Armory: There are at least six recurring elements in the game that culminate in one extended Wham Episode near the end - River's constant "What else?", the origami rabbits, the hackeysack, the moon, River's fixation on lighthouses, and the stuffed platypus.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • At the very beginning of the game, Eva and Neil run over a squirrel as they arrive at Johnny's house. Later in the game, Eva and Neil find that they can't travel any farther into Johnny's memories because they were suppressed by beta blockers shortly after a traumatic event that took place in that scene. Incidentally, the smell of roadkill was present in the brief glimpse of said memory, so they were able to use the scent of the dead squirrel to get Johnny to remember the full scene.
    • One that's referred to immediately before a Wham Line - Johnny had a bunk bed in his room, with the top bunk belonging to Joey.
    • The bottle of pills that Eva tosses out of the car when she's looking for something to carry the roadkill with, along with Neil's urgent running off in that scene, turns out to be part of a Sequel Hook of sorts at the very end. Neil is ill, possibly dying, apparently needs to take those pills regularly, and he doesn't want Eva to know...
    • When altering the memory, Eva once again disables Neil's controls, just as she had to force him to eat pickled olives.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Johnny and River have known each other since childhood. Unfortunately, Johnny lost his memory of their earlier meetings, eventually meeting again in high school.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Eva appears to callously delete River from Johnny's memories to ensure that he remains motivated on becoming an astronaut. Instead, she simply sent her away so Johnny would continue to strive toward his goal, and trusted that Johnny's love for River would ensure he would subconsciously bring her back later. He did, they still got together in the end, and with the bonus of Joey still being alive as well.
  • Diegetic Switch: At the end of the game, the beeping of the rocket is actually the beeping of Johnny's EKG, and when it flatlines, the tone forms the base of the closing music.
  • Disappeared Dad: Even in the earliest stage of his childhood, Johnny's father is nowhere to be seen or mentioned, which doesn't help at all when Johnny's mother accidentally killed one of their sons Joey and forced Johnny to be the Replacement Goldfish and thus nobody is ever around to call her out on it.
  • Downer Ending: In the end, River sacrificed her life for nothing. She denied treatment hoping that Johnny would eventually remember how they met by using the money to finish building the house. However, he did not remember, turning every effort and sacrifice River made to remind him utterly pointless.
  • Dramatic Irony: In-universe example, since Eva and Neil travel backwards through Johnny's memories, so they (and the audience) know how future events will transpire.
  • Dream Land: Most of the game takes place in a world built out of Johnny's hazy memories. In the third act, this changes to a fantasy world extrapolated wholly from a combination of public data and Johnny's beliefs.
  • Dream Melody: "For River" becomes one. Originally encountered as a tune on Johnny's piano in the real world, we later hear Johnny play it for River in a memory, and then, when his memories are changed, he still remembers it enough to play it for an audience of NASA workers.
  • Dream Weaver: The main characters are this. Their job is to alter dying people's memories so they believe they managed to fulfill their failed life goals. The SigCorp special implies that this practice is highly controversial as protesters group outside the Sigmund Corporation offices.
  • Driven to Madness: It is said by Eva that Johnny's mother mind snapped after she accidentally killed her favorite son, Joey.
  • Dying Dream: With the added suspense of Eva and Neil needing to finish the contract before Johnny dies.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the main characters suffer from some dysfunction, Johnny suffering parental neglect and brainwash memory loss, River with her condition, from Eva and Neil, who bicker nearly the whole time.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Johnny mentions lies that adults made up in his childhood memories:
    "Santa, Easter Bunny, kangaroos..."
  • Exact Words: Johnny asked River to go watch a movie with him on their first date, and River interpreted it as watching the same movie, at the same time, in the same movie theater regardless of if they do it together. This comes into play during The Reveal, as River likely used the same rationale to explain Johnny's absence the next year at the fair.
  • The Faceless: Many people in the patient's memory have their faces, bodies, and clothes blurred, to indicate that the patient can't properly remember them anymore.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Johnny admits in his memories that he doesn't really remember much of his favorite childhood book series, Animorphs, and doesn't really read them anymore. This can be attributed at the time to the fact that people's tastes do change. It is eventually revealed, however, that this is because he never really cared for the books. His brother Joey liked the series, not him, and he simply forgot due to the beta blockers.
    • The bunk beds in Johnny's room, seen shortly before the reveal that he had a twin brother.
    • Johnny's mother calling him Joey during his wedding, which he brushes off as her nickname for him — we find out later that his mother treated him as a Replacement Goldfish for Joey.
    • Neil suddenly stepping out of sight to do something while Eva gets the roadkill makes more sense after The Stinger, where he's implied to be dying from something and is taking painkillers.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Johnny and River met for the first time in a carnival when they were children, something he forgot because of his memory suppression. Deconstructed in that this causes a great deal of resentment in River toward Johnny.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: One of the very last shots of the game, where Neil and Eva are standing on the bridge watching the shuttle launch, there is a quick montage of shots. In one of them, two Neils are visible, one standing close behind the other. Although the creator has said that this is a glitch, the release of the second minisode suggests this was likely intentional...
  • Greek Chorus: Eva and Neil mostly fill this role, particularly in the first half of the game as they go backwards in time observing Johnny's memories. They take a slightly more active role in the game's second half, but their main purpose from a literary perspective is to observe and provide commentary on the drama unfolding between Johnny and River.
  • Grow Old with Me: River and Johnny. From the player's perspective, this actually happens backwards, as we see an aged Johnny and a newly-deceased River at the start of the game and their early relationship is explored as the game goes on.
  • G-Rated Sex: In the memory of Johnny and River's wedding, they are shown spending their entire wedding night in the lighthouse with their silhouettes dancing.
  • Happily Married: Zig-zagged. Though John and River clearly love each other, there are several factors that put serious strain in their marriage. John is at times frustrated with his difficulty to understand River because she's so aloof most of the time due to her mental illness. He even mentions that sometimes she just stares. Meanwhile, River is upset that John doesn't remember their first meeting in their childhood and evidently remains upset for the rest of her life but Cannot Spit It Out in addition of not knowing John's supressed memory. In memories featuring them as married couple, we only see them arguing once which happens in the first memory showing elderly River (which, due to Anachronic Order, is before we learned she has mental illness). As many real life couples would testify, the lack or even absence of arguments between married couple is clear sign that their life as married couple is not going well.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: In their later life, after a cliffside talk where Johnny admits the truth behind their "first meeting", seemingly tainting its memory, River suddenly shows Johnny a hackysack, asking if he can throw it as far as he can off the cliff. Confused, Johnny throws the hackysack almost without thought, and a suddenly distressed River very nearly jumps off the cliff to chase it. River wasn't testing if Johnny could throw it, but if he would - the hackysack was Johnny's, which he had given to River at their actual first meeting in childhood along with her platypus plush, both of which she had kept as precious items for all her life. Johnny failing to recognise the hackysack and throwing it away like it was nothing told River that Johnny had truly forgotten their real first meeting, sparking her obsessions in old age.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Johnny and River, in the game's reality. Eva forcibly removes River from Johnny's high school memories, only for her to return in his young adulthood.
  • Hollywood Autism: Averted. River and Isabelle are both females and have managed to lead lives as fulfilling as a neurotypical person can be expected to.note 
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • River, which leads her to carry resentment when Johnny tells her otherwise. She starts making the origami rabbits to remind him she once told him this when they met.
    • Isabelle states that while she may appear to be normal, it's just an act she has perfected with years of non-stop practice, and it's furthermore an act she does not wish to keep up. However, due to Becoming the Mask, and the "fake" Isabelle being who other people know her as, she has lost the option to go back to who she really is.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Johnny. This is largely why Johnny becomes interested in River in the first place. At least, that is how he rationalizes his interest. This takes on new meaning after it's revealed that Johnny is actually a twin (read: a copy), and his twin brother, Joey, was always the favoured one by their mother. After Joey's death, his mother treated Johnny as though he was Joey, expecting him to act the same way, have the same tastes, and even calling him by Joey's name. Johnny wants to be special because he has never had the chance to be his own person.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Pulled off between Eva and Neil near the end, regarding Eva's plans. It turns out that Neil was missing a step. Eva thought that River would reappear in Johnny's new memories, just at a later time. Neil never considered this a possibility until he saw it happen.
  • Important Haircut: River cuts her hair and starts folding paper rabbits to try and remind Johnny of their very first meeting as children, which Johnny can't remember.
  • Insert Song: Laura Shigihara provides the vocals for "Everything's Alright", which plays as River is slowly erased from Johnny's memories in order to grant his wish to go to the moon.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Neil starts as a rather sarcastic guy who doesn't seem to take things seriously... until the end, when he is confronted with deleting River from Johnny's memories. He then shows how much he cares for Johnny and River's happiness, and is actually not so cynical.
    • Eva appears to be an aloof killjoy who abuses her coworker (insulting him and forcing/tricking him into eating a foodstuff he hates), enjoys being cryptic to the point where she'd rather attack a man with computer-generated zombies than let him in on the full details of her plan, and takes a huge risk with her client's happiness in order to avoid a lawsuit... but when it looks like her secret plan failed and she really has erased River from Johnny's memories, she seems genuinely upset and apologises to Neil, and it's her idea to let Johnny's caretakers into his memories (implicitly against protocol) so they can see him happy before he dies.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The memory technology works by backtracking through a subject's memories to reach childhood, then implanting their dying wish in their childhood to alter their memories from then on.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Neil comments that he can't believe Johnny remembers basketball court lines as being square instead of round, a shot at the inaccurate graphics of the gym.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: It is heavily implied that Johnny taking the beta blockers was at the behest of his mom in order to intentionally make him forget everything about his dead twin brother Joey.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When the scientists get to the alternate memory of Johnny at NASA, they note that the best parts of a rocket ship are the top and bottom, then pity those who can't get to them. Of course, the player's overhead view of things means that those are the exact parts we can't see.
  • Leitmotif: The melody of "For River" underlies practically every song that's played, including the bittersweet "Everything's Alright".
  • Let Them Die Happy:
    • The point of Eva and Neil's mission is to rewrite Johnny's memories so he dies thinking he achieved his dream. Neil even explicitly says as much near the end.
    • Zigzagged with River. Johnny attempts to lie to her so she can live, but she forces him to tell the truth and promised to use the money to build the house so he could see Anya so she can die happy. It initially appears this was doubly-subverted as it appears he broke the promise since he is not seen with any character named Anya in his later memories, but it's later revealed that Anya is the lighthouse.
  • Lighthouse Point: Johnny bought a house near a lighthouse, which makes River very happy, though Johnny doesn't know why. It's because when Johnny and River first met they discussed stars, and River believed they were lighthouses. River names their lighthouse Anya.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: As a commercial, privately-owned business. Sigmund Corporation has a machine that rewrites people's memories, and because of the ways the technology can be misused, it is only allowed to be used on people who are dying.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed. Johnny desires to be unique so one of the reasons he is attracted to River is because she is a quirky girl, but River is extremely self-conscious of her "weirdness". These two opposite forces end up greatly contributing to their emotional rift.
  • Meaningful Echo: River asking Johnny to describe her origami rabbits is a direct echo of their first meeting.
    Describe it... what else?
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Johnny - the normal guy who wants to stand out and be different is given one of the English-world's most common names. This takes on an even deeper and more meaningful aspect when you realise that Johnny has forever lived in the shadow of his twin brother Joey, even after the latter's death, to the point where his own mother treated him like a copy.
    • River - the girl who hates standing out and just wishes she could be normal has an unusual and unique name to fit her status.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The stuffed platypus. Johnny gave it to River at a carnival when they were kids. Ditto for the hackey-sack, which explains why River was so attached to it when Johnny threw it away (at her direction as a test).
  • Mood Whiplash: Johnny's story is as serious and well-made as it can be, seen through the goofy and light-hearted framing story of the constantly bickering Neil and Eva.
  • Moon Rabbit: While signaled by the large number of origami rabbits, the rabbit itself makes a non-traditional appearance. Namely, Johnny and River see the clusters of stars above and below the moon as the rabbit's head and feet, and the moon itself as its body.
  • Noodle Incident: Neil mentions a particularly difficult patient called Nora who caused them some trouble in the past. That's all we get, though.
  • No Social Skills: River, justified because of her condition. In school, she is seen alone until Johnny approaches her, and there are a lot of awkward moments when he doesn't know how to respond to her statements or silence.
  • Odd Friendship: Eva and Neil. Eva is serious, no-nonsense, clinical, and emotionally detached in her approach to the job, where Neil is a laid back, somewhat irreverent snarker who enjoys getting under others' skin but is nonetheless shown to be deeply emotional when it comes to certain aspects of the job.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: A Foregone Conclusion, since the main point of the game is manipulating memories, not reality: it means that the happy ending is only experienced by the main character, while the real life counterparts suffered and died in vain.
  • Opaque Lenses: The novelisation of the first scene on the Freebird blog reveals Neil actually wears one-way mirror glasses so no one can meet his gaze.
  • Parental Favoritism: Johnny's mother is shown to have had a preference towards Joey, which might explain why after Joey was killed, Johnny became his Replacement Goldfish in his mom's mind.
  • Please Wake Up: Done by Johnny after his mother backed over Joey.
  • Precision F-Strike: The only uncensored curse in the game comes in its Wham Episode when Eva realises that the memory they are in is the day Johnny watched his brother Joey die.
  • The Promise: The real reason why Johnny wants to go to the moon is that when they were children, he promised River that they could meet on the moon.
  • Red Herring:
    • The rabbit that got run over on Johnny's and River's wedding day has nothing to do with the paper rabbits she obsessively makes later in life. Though, given that rabbits hold a special place in River's heart because of their first meeting, it certainly did affect her; it just wasn't for that reason.
    • Additionally, River's obsession, is later implied to be the result of Johnny admitting that he had initially approached River out of a desire to appear special because on her "strange" personality, rather than out of genuine love, causing River to snap now that their first meeting was "tainted". While it is technically part of it, the real reason was because River realised Johnny had forgotten their actual first meeting, and spent the rest of her life trying to indirectly remind him of it.
  • Replacement Goldfish: After Joey's death, his mother started treating Johnny as if he were his dead brother, even calling him by his brother's name and forcing him to adopt his brother's hobbies and food preferences.
  • Rewriting Reality: Rosalene and Watts's job. The technology they use alters people's perception of the past. But since doing so carries a lot of very troubling implications and has many possible ways it could be misused, it is only legal to use on people who are dying.
  • Rule of Symbolism: All over the place... Much of it tied to River.
    • She is heavily symbolically tied to lighthouses, spelled out by herself when she explains that she thinks that stars really are lighthouses that are trying to communicate with each other over vast distances, mirroring how she is trying to communicate with other people over the "distance" her condition imposes.
    • Her favorite plushie that she carries with her her entire life is a platypus, an odd Mix-and-Match-ish Critter that doesn't seem to fit in anywhere with its duck bill, otter body and beaver tail, much like how she, herself, is the odd girl out with unusual hair and eye colours, a very unusual name and a condition that sets her apart from most people... The moments when she cannot be seen with her platypus close at hand is generally when she and John are connecting with each other.
    • One of her favorite childhood stories is The Emperor's New Clothes, a tale about how only someone who does not understand social grace and guises can see that what everyone else for social reasons pretends is real is not so, which is especially poignant in light of how John and Isabelle are both faking who they are. John by having been Joey for the most part of his life and Isabelle by having acted like she's "normal", both of them having been at it for so long that they've forgotten who they really are.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Neil adopts this attitude when he learns that the only way to fulfil their contractual duties is to screw with Johnny's memories of River.
  • Self-Deprecation: Every time the name "To The Moon" or the song "For River" comes up in game they are given a gentle ribbing. The dreadful film Eva makes up is titled To The Moon and dismissed as pretentious by one viewer (saying it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi), and "For River" is described as an odd song using the same notes over and over.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The corporation is called "Sigmund," as a shout-out to Sigmund Freud. The game's use of repressed memories and childhood events having an effect on future behavior also makes it a Meaningful Name.
    • Neil at one point claims his name is Lorenzo von Matterhorn, which is an alias that Neil Patrick Harris's character on How I Met Your Mother uses in one episode.
    • There is a point where Neil fights clones of green Evas, comically named "Zombievas," with potted plants. The reference makes sense, considering one of the two people responsible for the music in the game.
    • Whenever Neil breaks the memento, you're guaranteed to get a comical one:
    • Upon looking at a piano, Eva and Neil discuss how someone would manage to put a piano in the TARDIS.
    • Upon answering a phone: "Morpheus?"
    • Neil was expecting Zordon to appear on one of the screens at NASA.
    • You can find a Princess Luna figurine on a desk at NASA. Additionally, during the horse-riding segment, Neil's (blue) horse briefly appears with a rainbow-colored tail and its speed is described as "nineteen percent more than I can handle", referencing the character Rainbow Dash and her quote "20% cooler".
    • Hidden in the computer code during the memento unlock sequence is the phrase "Step twice into the river of life." This is a reference to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus' quote, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."
    • Animorphs books show up more than once.
    • A book on origami is described using text cribbed straight out of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • When Neil is looking for the key to the "funny room in the basement", you come across a book called "Dusklight": "The tale of a girl who fell in love with a zombie who emitted the smell of daisies when showered with gentle sunlight."
    Neil: (upon finding the key in the book) The man sure knows where to hide things.
  • Snow Means Death: When Eva and Neil first try to traverse to Johnny's childhood memories, they are met with a large snowy void, which separates them from their destination and foreshadows Joey's fatal accident.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: After breaking the shield around a memento, you have to, for some unexplained reason, solve a flip-the-squares puzzle (similar to "Lights Out") to activate it..
  • The Stinger: One with unpleasant implications, and a Sequel Hook. Watts is holding the bottle of painkillers, implying that he may be hiding a debilitating illness.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The scientists. The story is really about Johnny and River.
  • Take That!: To The Twilight Saga — sorry, Dusklight. If you try to read it, your character says "maybe another year", and when you find a key hidden in the book, a comment is made that "[Johnny] sure knows where to hide things".
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: "For River" underpins the majority of the soundtrack used.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Neil and Eva are legally bound to fulfil Johnny's last request to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, it eventually becomes clear that the only way to fulfil that request is to remove all his current memories of his beloved late wife. They argue about what to do, with Eva advocating "lawful" and Neil advocating "good". In the end, Johnny's subconscious belief that his wife would eventually find him anyway allows for a third option of sorts, which Eva was secretly banking on.
  • Together in Death:
    • In a sense; the very last memory Johnny has is of himself and River heading for the Moon. They turn to each other and hold hands, and then Johnny flatlines.
    • After this, the final image before the credits roll is child!Johnny approaching child!River at the spot where they'd first met, albeit with a white background, and giving her the stuffed platypus. And given that this is long after Johnny had flatlined, it can be safely assumed to be this trope.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Subverted. The beta blockers Johnny takes after Joey dies make his childhood memories inaccessible, causing him to also forget the first time he met River and his promise.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: It seems the only difference between the game's world and our own is Sigmund Corp's memory rewriting technology.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: A few: the Whack-a-Mole game, avoiding the zombies and spikes summoned by Eva, and the fake RPG battle near the beginning. Although the last one is more of a parody of this trope.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Dr. Rosalene has a few of these, mostly vegetable-based.
    "Oh, what the corncob."
  • Wham Episode: The entire sequence when Eva and Neil (along with the player) learn why Johnny wanted to go to the moon.
  • Wham Line:
    Eva: Didn't you see it in his room, Neil? ...Johnny slept on a bunk bed.
    • Immediately followed by:
      Johnny: JOEY!!!
    • At the culmination of Eva and Neil's contract, at Johnny and River's real first meeting, finally revealing the reason that Johnny wants so badly to go to the moon:
    Johnny: We can always regroup on the Moon, silly!
    • After the game's credits:
    "Episode 1: To the Moon"
    • After River and Johnny's first meeting, Eva spoils the good vibes with a line that immediately strikes a note of dread, even if you haven't sorted out what's about to happen.
    Eva: I suppose now... we know what we must do to send him to the moon.
  • White Void Room: A suppressed memory is just a white void.
  • You Know the One: The words "autism" or "Asperger's" are never uttered. Autism spectrum disorder is always referred to in-game as either "the condition" or "it".
    • When River is diagnosed, the condition is referred to one time as a "Pervasive Developmental Disorder" (now known as Autism Spectrum Disorder since the DSM-5 in 2013).
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: At one point, you are asked what David's main morph was in Animorphs, and you can speak to a character nearby to get the right answer. This is simple enough, but it becomes a problem if the player is familiar with the books and knows the answer because the game gets it wrong. The expected answer is a cobra, but David's actual main battle morph is a lion. Marco is the only one who ever morphed into a cobra (although incidentally he acquired the morph from David's pet cobra). This was likely changed to keep people from solving the puzzle too early. This is lampshaded by River, who tells Johnny that he could have just Googled the answer instead of asking her. Later, it turns out that Johnny was never a huge fan of the books to begin with, and it was actually originally Joey who was the fan, meaning the discrepancy likely comes from the fact Johnny never knew the series well enough to have the correct information in his memories.

    To the Moon Minisodes 

Minisode #1: SigCorp Holiday Special

  • Breather Episode: It's more of a fun holiday special than an important part of the canon storyline. The only point that is established to the canon at the end of the game is that SigCorp's work is more controversial as we thought, as the episode ends by showing the protest group outside of SigCorp.
  • Stylistic Suck: Neil makes a video game based on the events of the main game. All characters are represented by disembodied heads, the scenery is extremely pixelated (one pixel of the scenery is the size of one RPG Maker tile) and story is extremely vague, being told by Neil getting items from various characters and placing them elsewhere to open doors.

Minisode #2

  • The Aloner: Neil tries to be one. He wants to stay in the Sigmund Corp HQ by claiming that he would enjoy living in that 'mansion' by himself. He, of course, has his own reasons. See Dark Secret below.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The minisode drops quite a few of these moments between Neil and Eva.
  • The Cameo: Lily from Episode 1 makes a cameo with her two children.
  • Cool Big Sis: Eva's big sis, Traci. It's her idea to host a dinner together with Eva, Lily and her children, Dr. Winters (one of Sigmund Corp scientists) so Neil won't be left staying alone in the building.
  • Darker and Edgier: Surprisingly enough, yes, despite being a minisode! See Dark Secret and Nothing Is Scarier for details.
  • Dark Secret:
    • Neil appears to be hiding something for himself. He calls someone with his cellphone, but he doesn't talk at all despite whoever he called keeps calling on him. It appears to be his family.
    • Neil has another one, after Eva and other scientists of Sigmund left the building, he's trying to use the memory machine, which he secretly hides in his office, for an unknown reason.
    • Eva is definitely doing something suspicious too, given at the very end, it is implied that the whole episode is a memory that she has altered.
  • Happily Married:
    • Eva's sister is married and has a son.
    • And if the intro sequence is any indication, the McMillans are this, being quite... frisky for their age.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Eddie asks Eva to press the elevator button for him, since the elevator always seems to show up almost instantly every time she presses it, she chalks it up to just being luck.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • While Eva is driving her car, she suddenly sees a shadow/hallucination of herself in the middle of the road, which disappears afterwards.
    • The ending, the freaking ending, which played after the credits: what appears to be heartwarming after-dinner goodbye between Eva and her sister, the scene very unexpectedly switch back-and-forth between this scene in the Sigmund Corp building with another scene where Eva is sitting alone in a dark room, with the memory machine she's using. The previously-mentioned shadow/hallucination of herself appears to be her present-self, as a result of her using the machine.
  • Sad Clown: Implied with Neil, due to his Dark Secret.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Traci, Eva's sister, who scolds Neil when he hit Eva with a broom as he mistook her for a thief.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: The McMillan couple is a rare elderly example of this trope.
  • They Really Do Love Each Other: For all Eva and Neil's bickering, this minisode makes it clear that they really do care about one another.
  • Understatement: Lily's kids falling off the cliff would be — suboptimal.
  • Wham Episode: This episode hints at some huge twists.
  • Womanchild: Dr. Roxanne Winters, who acts like Cheerful Child most of the time. Eva even bribes her with ice cream when she asked her to take Lily and her children to Sigmund Corp office for Christmas dinner.

    A Bird Story
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The bird and the kid play fetch with a paper-airplane he makes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The boy is forced to set the bird free, and everything becomes bleak to him, as even though he has become popular at school, he still misses the bird. However, when the bird returns to him and shows him its new friend, he realises that the bird will be where it belongs, and although the two say their final goodbyes, the boy is happy that the bird will be able to live its life, and stops throwing paper airplanes for it to bring back.
  • Chase Scene: There's a bizarre and hilarious sequence where the teacher and the vet chase the kid through a number of Scooby-Dooby Doors. He even pretends to be following a passing duck as one of its chicks at one point. It's like something out of The Benny Hill Show.
  • Friendless Background: The boy has no friends, and at one point sits on one side of a see-saw with no-one on the other side. He ends up befriending the bird instead. Averted near the end of the game when he becomes well known and has people happy to acknowledge and play with him after bringing the bird to show-and-tell.
  • Head Pet: The bird travels on the boy's head while they are riding the large paper airplane.
  • Lighter and Softer: The creator has gone on record as saying this isn't intended to be as complex or as much as a Tear Jerker as the original game. It's a simpler story with a fair bit of humour, though it does still have a few sadder moments.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: You won't see a word after you click "begin". Even the note the kid finds is obscured, and when characters speak the content is implied or represented by an icon in a speech bubble. And yet, somehow, the facial expressions and animations manage to perfectly convey emotions, and the story still manages to be as engaging as the last.
  • No Name Given: All of the characters in the story, although the boy's name is revealed in Finding Paradise.
  • Not a Morning Person: After staying up late reading the boy wakes up bleary-eyed and with a special "groggy" version of his home's music, "Bright and Early".
  • Oh, Crap!: The boy's reaction when the vet appears in his classroom.
  • Parental Abandonment: The kid comes home to an empty house every evening, finding only a note on the fridge, implying his parent or caretaker is never able to see him. There seems to be some affection there though as he gets an umbrella left out for him on rainy days and he keeps every note he finds. The closest interaction they have is when he falls asleep reading and finds someone has put a blanket over him while he sleeps.
  • Schedule Slip: invoked Intentionally averted for Episode 2 at the end of the game - instead of giving a release date, the text just says "Coming One Day".
  • Scenery Porn: One Imagine Spot features a flight over some truly beautiful landscapes.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The kid engages in this in an attempt to avoid the vet and his teacher, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song of Yakety Sax playing.
  • Shoo the Dog: Eventually the boy is forced to give up the bird and let it fly free.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with a picture of the boy's timeline, similar to Johnny's in To the Moon, shows he'll grow up to be the next patient for SigCorp, and will feature in the sequel Finding Paradise.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The game appears to be a mix of memory and imagined scenes (like the flight on the paper airplane depicted on the logo). We see locations blending together and the landscape literally changing to force him to where he needs to go. It's unclear whether the more realistic scenes have been embellished too.
  • Visual Gag: Where do the boy and the bird get sent when he's boosted into the air on the see-saw? To the moon, of course!

    Episode 2: Finding Paradise 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: When Faye stands in Neil's way, he unleashes the superpowered armor that he programmed in, with a minute's worth of a Sailor Moon-style transformation. Subverted: it breaks into hundreds of itty-bitty pieces when Faye launches an attack at it.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Since Colin's wish is to fix several of his biggest regrets, most of the moments Neil and Eva witness are those regretful incidents, rather than his happiest moments. Neil eventually lampshades this when he notices the open photo album in the living room.
  • Always Second Best: Much to Neil's chagrin, he and Eva are not the best employees of Sigmund Corp that their boss mentioned. It's Dr. Robert Lin and Dr. Roxanne Winters, instead. While Eva doesn't seem to care, this realization turns Neil into Super Saiyan somehow.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Whether or not the owner of the private airport where Colin trained to be a pilot is a mafia boss. Eva and Neil believed it's just an exaggeration of the memory. Keep in mind that it was Faye who first suggested that he might be a mafia, and Faye never even existed to begin with.
    • When Neil goes to the car at night to find his painkiller pills, he meets... someone, who looks at him suspiciously while riding on a bike and their face is hidden under their helmet. Not too long after he noticed them, without even saying a word, they immediately leave on the bike, confusing him. While Neil makes a Bait-and-Switch Comment that he only paid attention to the mysterious person's Cool Bike, it raises a question of who the person was: Faye? The apartment manager? The bully girl? Or just a Red Herring? Adding to the confusion, someone wearing a motorcycle helmet (more correctly, their silhouette) appears in A Bird Story, riding in the elevator with the boy.
  • An Aesop: It's okay to have regrets as long as you can still be happy with the life you've led.
  • Anachronic Order: Even worse than with Johnny, as Neil and Eva skip from Colin's most recent memory to his earliest memory, for reasons revealed at the climax of the game.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Colin has birds, as in A Bird Story. Birds are often around in his memories, he feeds the ducks at the pond as an old man, and Faye sports a giant pair of bird-wings when fighting Neil and when saying goodbye to Colin.
    • It's implied Faye is the bird from A Bird Story, at least in Colin's mind, as indicated by her saying that he'd already said goodbye to her "a long, long time ago."
  • Art Evolution: From the mundane — the basketball court at school now has rounded markings instead of square as in To the Moon — to some genuinely beautiful visuals.
  • Award-Bait Song: Courtesy again of Laura Shigihara, with "Wish My Life Away", which plays near the end of the game.
  • Book Ends: The first and last memory of Colin's that the player sees is his most recent one where Sofia is sprawled out on the bed asleep.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Inside of Colin's memories, Neil and Eva square off against Faye, who uses every means at her disposal to protect Colin's memories - and by extension, herself - from Sigmund Corp's memory edits.
  • Call-Back:
    • When a young Colin trips, falls and lies motionless, Neil asks if he's dead, to which Eva replies he can't be since they saw him as an old man. Neil responds by asking, "Maybe it's his twin?"
    • Eva and Neil are deciding on a course of action to take for Colin, and Neil wonders if it'd be best to just remove Faye from Colin's memories, and then throws out that Eva "would know more about that." Eva doesn't seem pleased.
    • The school that Colin attended is the same school that Johnny and River went to. In fact, River was Colin's seatmate until he moved to a different seat so Johnny and River can sit together.
  • Continuity Nod: Colin attended the same school as Johnny and River and was sitting next to her but decided to transfer places because of him noticing her feelings for Johnny.
  • Character Customization: Played for Laughs. At one point, Neil showcases this feature on their equipment to Eva, much to her chagrin.
  • Chekhov's Gag: After witnessing the memory where Sofia comes to terms with Colin wanting to sign up with Sigmund Corp for their services, Neil jokes how she should also sign up with them to wish for a life where Colin never signed up with Sigmund Corp. At the end of the game, he is the one who proposes that in order to fulfill Colin's wish, Faye needs to remove him, Eva and the existence of Sigmund Corp from Colin's memory. This makes it appear to Colin like he never considered signing up in the first place.
  • Coming of Age Story: Unlike Johnny whose life revolves around River, Colin's life is more like a coming-of-age story. His life starts with friendless childhood until he befriended Faye the girl across his balcony who was seemingly his childhood love interest. Faye apparently teaches him to play cello (which he hated at first) and encourages him to pursue his dream to become a pilot. They're drifted apart as they grew older and Colin met Sofia, the woman he married in the present day. Around the same time, the airport where Colin trained to be a pilot closes down and Colin mentioned that he has applied a job as airline pilot. Colin took his last flight to a cliff where he and Faye played music in their childhood.... where it's finally shown that Colin admitted that Faye is all in his head and he had to let her go. His adulthood only truly starts after he let her go and never sees her again until nearing his death after he lived his life with his wife and son.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Eva suffers from a case of this with jellyfish at the aquarium.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • First of all, gloomy music plays more often than in To the Moon. Considering this video game series is known for its awesome and heartwarming music, that's saying something.
    • Whereas To the Moon had the patient whose family/caretaker's family were supportive of Eva and Neil's work, the patient's family in Finding Paradise are a bit... cold to them, at least at first, showing that Sigmund Corp employees may face disagreement from their patient's family sometimes, unlike what the first game might've wanted you to think.
    • In To the Moon, Eva and Neil traveled backward through Johnny's memory quite well and the only problem was the repressed memory that prevented them from accessing Johnny's earlier childhood. In Finding Paradise, on the other hand, after viewing a handful of happy memories with Colin's family, Eva and Neil somehow leap to the earliest possible one of Colin's childhood, much to their shock as they thought they'd skipped his entire life. The gloomy music makes the situation sound even scarier.
    • In some parts of Colin's memory, there's a suspicious-looking shadow person, seemingly watching Colin and his family ominously. It was Faye, who desperately wanted Colin to see her again for the last time before he died.
    • Unlike To the Moon, only Neil temporarily leaves the patient's mind to do something else, meaning that Eva is left behind in Colin's mind. Sure enough, just like most Let's Split Up, Gang! scenarios, she later disappears and Neil has to desperately find her. Made even worse that this happened because the doctor just found out about Faye's true nature and she's really not happy about what the doctors intended to do to her.
    • Finally, there is Faye's true nature. She's the patient's imaginary friend, but not only that. To someone who enters the patient's mind with Sigmund Corp's hi-tech machine, she's basically a Guardian Entity Humanoid Abomination because due to the nature of the Journey to the Center of the Mind, this makes her a Not-So-Imaginary Friend in the patient's Mental World.
  • Dramatic Irony: As in To The Moon, the non-linear retelling of Colin's memories means this applies In-Universe. Before disappearing and bidding Colin farewell, Faye promises to return at the end of his life one last time, to celebrate the happy life Colin will have led by then. Unfortunately, having already seen his last memories, Neil, Eva and the player are all well aware that Faye never came back - meaning Colin never got that happy life Faye wished him to get (at least, he believes he hasn't).
  • Edible Theme Naming: Potato, who gets bullied by Amber for her name in Act I, gets a baby brother in Act II. When their mother Carola says that she's got "another potato" to take care of, Neil hopes that "Potato" isn't his name. Carola clarifies that that's just his nickname... for his real name is Spud.
  • Fission Mailed: After acrophobic Neil got shoved and fell several hundred feet and had to cling to a plane to try and not fall, when the plane lands he lies down on the ground. When Eva asks if he's okay he claims otherwise, and the screen fades to dark suddenly, with the RPG Maker "Game Over" screen fading in. Eva quickly chides him for it and he promptly gets back to his feet.
  • Foreshadowing: A handful regarding The Reveal, but the most prominent happens not too long before - Faye sidesteps Eva to avoid colliding with her, despite her and Neil being invisible to Colin's memories, hinting at Faye's true nature.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Just as the screen fades completely to white after activating the first memento (Colin's contact with Sigmund), a mysterious figure quickly pops in just behind Colin. From later events in the story this is implied to be Faye, trying to stop Eva and Neil's mission before it even starts but showed up just one second too late.
    • In the memory of the airport's closure, there are a few details that can be easily missed:
      • When Neil and Eva draw the fake smile on Colin's face and discuss what to do with Faye, Faye herself drops some subtle hints in her body language to show that she is eavesdropping on their conversation, foreshadowing that she could see Neil and Eva all this time.
      • When Neil re-enters Colin's mind after Roxie revealed that there was never any record about Faye's birth, death, or existence at all, look again at Faye's sprite. Not only does she keep caressing her hair despite the memory supposedly being frozen at the time, but she also occasionally watches Neil with hostility and is fixated on him no matter which direction he goes, further cementing the fact that she could see him and Eva all this time and thus she's overheard that they intended to remove her from Colin's memory. She also glares at Eva immediately after Eva told him that she's not real.
  • Friendless Background: As in A Bird Story, we find that Colin had such a dearth of friends that one of his memories has him sitting on the see-saw alone. And then he met Faye, who helped bring him out of his shell but further in, we learn that she was all in his head.
  • Genre Shift: Colin is a noted fan of horror films, and this starts gradually influencing the overall tone of his memories, to the point where once Faye's true nature is revealed it overtly turns into a horror story with Faye as an Implacable Man. Neil even lampshades this:
    Neil: ...Dammit, this isn't even the freakin' genre of patient I signed up for!
  • Grass Is Greener: The aesop of this episode, as the ending shows that part of why Colin was dissatisfied with his life was simply because he thought he could change it. Colin's case was resolved by removing the existence of Sigmund Corp. from his memory, so that he wouldn't second-guess everything he'd done. The ending song all-but namedrops the trope.
    All the grass on the other side // is it only greener in my mind? // I'd still want it the same, because trading my yesterday // Is to wish my life away.
  • Happily Married: Colin and Sofia, despite the occasional Like an Old Married Couple moment.
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • As a child, Colin enjoyed watching Rudog... and The Godfather.
    • As a teenager, Colin decides to train as a pilot - upon hearing that the nearby airport is family-owned, Faye suggests that it's mob-affiliated. Then Colin meets the owner, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song to "The Godfather Waltz".
      Owner: Yet you come here, on the day of my own daughter's flight exam... to request my hospitality, to make use of my facility without an offer.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Colin's parents were never around, and nobody played with him at school. It wasn't until Faye showed up that he actually had someone other than his toy dog to talk to. Because he created her for that purpose.
  • Insert Song: "Wish My Life Away" plays as Collin's life plays out exactly as it did in real life, but with an emphasis on the most positive moments in his life and Sigmund Corp removed from his memories.
  • I Want Grandkids: Colin and his wife Sofia have been trying to set up their son with a friend's daughter for this reason. The son is appropriately embarrassed.
  • Invisible Writing: Colin's journal wasn't actually blank, the words were just written in lemon juice.
  • Kamehamehadouken: After being complimented by Eva for not engaging in his usual antics when opening memory links, Neil finds out that they're Always Second Best — causing him to go Super Saiyan and name-dropping this trope to break open the memento. Eva snarks in response that she is rather impressed by the fact that he has somehow managed to find a way to potentally be sued by two IP holders in one move.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: When Eva starts eating an apple, she mentions that her young nephew have a rather peculiar tradition with decorating the family Christmas tree with apples. When Niel is amused by this, Eva immediately realizes what is going to happen, and annoyed tells him not to say what she knows he is planning on. Neil still can't help himself, and asks her if that wouldn't make them "pineapples". Eva's reaction is stuff her apple in his mouth and grumble that she has lost her appetite.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall
    • In a similar scene to To the Moon, when the characters are in a plane, Neil reports that the view from there is amazing, and that he pities anyone who can't see it. Of course, with the angle for the player, the view is nonexistent.
    • When Colin recounts the events of A Bird Story to Faye, he says that everyone he's told the story to found it either too long and boring or too saccharine. Faye responds by saying it can't be helped that the story didn't resonate with everyone and that different people will have interpretations of it, referencing the mixed reviews and opinions of A Bird Story when Finding Paradise was still in development.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Colin and Sofia's relationship consists mainly of playfully snarking at each other.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Faye's cheerful wackiness contrasts Colin's more quiet nervousness. She's everything he needs her to be.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The opening of the game starts out zooming in on a squirrel running into the road, with ominous music accompanying it. To The Moon opened with Neil running over a squirrel. Luckily, Eva is a better driver.
    • "shoe" is an attack in battle again.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Some of the graphics are reused from To The Moon. This gets lampshaded when the characters hypothesize that most of their clients grew up in the same neighbourhood, and thus went to the same schools.
  • No Name Given: Lampshaded when the medical doctor doesn't bother to tell Eva/Neil his name and insists being called "doctor", much to the player character's chagrin.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, some time has passed since To the Moon as the medical doctor mentions the names of other patients besides Johnny whom he treated alongside Sigmund Corp.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Neil points out that Faye is just a less techy version of Sigmund Corporation - someone to take away the painful reality and put something happy there instead.
  • Obsessively Organized: Played for Laughs with Eva. When you explore Colin's house before you enter his mind, you can enter the bathroom in the lower floor to examine a toilet paper not being put at the right place. If you're controlling Eva, she will get irritated seeing it and immediately put it to the proper place. If you're controlling Neil, he will quip that Eva is going to like this and call her via his cellphone, where Eva impatiently tells him to put the toilet paper at the proper place.
  • One-Winged Angel: Faye gets two wings when she fights Neil to keep him and Eva from altering Colin's memories.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The boy from A Bird Story is the patient this time around.
  • Puff of Logic: Questioning Rudog during the boss battle will cause it to disappear.
    Flavor Text: The imaginary dog is being questioned and ceases to exist.
  • Recurring Extra: The medical doctor is the same guy from To the Moon.
  • Red Herring: As with To The Moon, the player is initially led to reach certain not-so-savory conclusions about Colin and his cryptic wish from his initial memories, particularly regarding the existence of Colin's Childhood Friend Faye, who is completely absent in his later life with his wife Sofia. All of these are completely upended by The Reveal that Faye is actually Colin's Imaginary Friend, who willingly disappeared after Colin started getting his life together.
    • Faye is revealed to have been the true driving force behind Colin's life passions (and in one particularly eyebrow-raising moment, is even revealed to be the true source behind Colin and Sofia's scale duet, which arouses Neil's suspicions). Despite this, Colin appears to have harbored zero romantic feelings for her, and they seem to drift apart in adulthood after Colin meets Sofia (Colin even having the audacity to ask Faye for dating advice to her face). Neil (and the player) are led to the initial conclusion that Colin's true regret is not choosing Faye over Sofia, which he couldn't articulate to his family for obvious reasons.
    • The second mystery is what happened to Faye in Colin's later life. Eva posits the theory that Faye was killed in a plane crash sometime during Colin's adulthood, a theory that is given alarming weight by Colin cryptically telling Sofia he learnt to fly in order to find a friend who "went somewhere far away".
    • On multiple occasions in Colin's later memories, the scientists spot a shadowed static figure (in the shape of a woman in a dress) watching him from afar, which are surprisingly unnerving moments for what seems to be the life of a simple family man. The theory is unspoken, but as more memories are revealed, the implication that Faye is stalking Colin in his later life, having not gotten over her childhood crush, cannot be easily overlooked - at least until the reveal clears things up.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Almost all of Faye's actions and interactions make more sense after The Reveal.
  • The Reveal: Faye was just Colin's Imaginary Friend... one that's not too happy to be erased.
  • Sequel Hook: The Stinger features Neil showing Roxie and Rob the copy of Faye he made while he was in Colin's head, apparently having thought of a use for her in their work.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: During the memory of Colin's first flight, Neil, and then Colin himself, express their dismay with the situation using the exact same phrase.
  • Stylistic Suck: At their aquarium date, Colin and Sofia both sketch a clownfish. Sofia's sketch is rather lovely, but Colin's is awful.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: When Faye is eventually defeated, Eva and Neil finally have the opportunity to change what Colin remembers, to comply with their contract. However, Neil has second thoughts, feeling that maybe what Colin actually wanted wasn't what the contract stipulated.
    Neil: Aw, c'mon, Eva. When has the contract ever stopped us?
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Due to Neil messing with the system, the game sometimes shifts to a shoot 'em up, a fighting game, and a turn-based RPG.
  • The Unreveal:
    • The boss of Sigmund Corp finally makes an appearance. Unfortunately, it's only in Colin's memory, and Colin can't even remember his face. All we know is that the boss is male.
    • This episode sadly doesn't explain the Nothing Is Scarier nature from the second minisode. (see above)
    • The player never learns what Colin wrote with invisible ink in his seemingly-blank journal, despite the question being threaded throughout the game. The context implies it was intended for Sofia anyway.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Colin. Lampshaded by Neil:
    Dr. Watts: The guy surely takes liberty with his own memory.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: When Colin proposed to Sofia, he decided to ask his former skywriter friend to help him out with it. Unfortunately, said friend got kicked out of skywriting due to his illiteracy. Instantly, "Regret: Misspelt Proposal" pops up, and Sofia herself is left in Visible Silence.
  • Wham Line:
    • Delivered by Roxie over the phone regarding Faye's true nature.
    Roxie: The thing is, not only is there no plane crash, there's nothing else to her record either.
    • After the above reveal, the final memory culminates in a twofer, the first revealing the core of Colin's unhappiness, due to the scientists and player already knowing that Faye never came back.
    Faye: One day, you might look back and realize how fast this precious life has passed you by. And on that day, I'll come back once more.
    • And the second revealing where Faye really comes from - the bird from A Bird Story, whom Colin had bid farewell to many years ago in his childhood.
    Colin: I still... haven't said goodbye yet.
    Faye, hugging Colin: You already have, Colin... (unfurls bird wings) ...A long, long time ago.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If you choose Neil to confront the bully at the start of the episode, you'll later run into Potato, who will thank you for getting rid of her. She'll then rather pointedly mention that "a woman in a brown dress" retrieved her teddy bear from the duck pond, all without even touching the water. This woman and this event are never explicitly brought up again. There's a decent chance this woman is supposed to be Faye, as she is always seen wearing a brown dress, but she doesn't exist outside of Colin's head and Neil's backup... which raises all sorts of other questions and seems to suggest this detail is a subtle Sequel Hook.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Colin's parents, though both seemed largely oblivious to it. The ending shows them giving him the Rudog plushy while he slept, along with a score of other happy memories that Neil and Eva never got to encounter due to the nature of his desire.
  • You Keep Using That Word: In Act II, Potato says that Colin once "literally" beat up Amber for her. She then asks her mother if that's the right word, but she corrects her, saying that she meant "figuratively".

    Episode X: Impostor Factory 
  • But Thou Must!:
    • If the player has Quincy try to leave the party from the first screen, he is instead dropped off yet again at the mansion's gates.
    • At a point, Lynri asks Quincy to help her with an experiment. It is set up as a question, but the only options offered to the player is "Yes", "Yes", and "Defintely yes".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The flow of time in the simulation works differently for Faye, so she tells Quincy and Lynri that for her, "time is a place". "Time is a Place" is the name of one of the theme songs from Finding Paradise.
    • One of the scenes in a montage near the end shows Eva helping Neil cheat through his entrance exams for Sigmund Corp, which is also mentioned by Eva in To the Moon.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: When Quincy finds the dead bodies of Dr. Haynes and Dr. Yu, the partygoers assume that he murdered them because he was not only the one who discovered their corpses but also the only one without an alibi at the time of their deaths.
  • Cosmic Motifs: Lynri is associated with the night sky. When her father asks her what she wants to be, she replies that she wants to be one of the stars so that she can illuminate the lavender fields for everyone else to admire.
  • Death of a Child: Tobias is unable to overcome the complications of his premature birth, and he dies at a very young age.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Deconstructed. Lynri has an incurable genetic disease that causes her to frequently pass out as a child. As she grows up, she pours everything into her research, which eventually plays a pivotal part in the development of the memory-transfer machines used throughout the game series. Instead of being "cute," Lynri grows colder and distances herself from the world in order to avoid getting attached to anything that could distract her from her illness-driven goal.
  • Existential Horror: The Quincy the player is playing as is not the real Quincy. He is a digital reconstruction of Quincy in his youth, based on Lynri's memory of his personality, but without any of his own memories. Digital Quincy is understandably quite disturbed about the implications of this when he finds out.
    Quincy: It's been a rough day. First there are the murders, and then I find out I don't exist... Even for an optimist that's a bit much.
  • Grief-Induced Split: Losing their son Tobias to preemie health complications leads to the end of Quincy and Lynri's relationship.
  • House Husband: Lynri's partner Quincy stays home and takes care of all the cooking while she spends long hours at an intense job.
  • Hidden Eyes: When we see Lynri at Tobias' funeral, her eyes are conspicuously hidden.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: When Quincy helps Lynri run her experiment, Lynri tells him "there might be bodies in the bathroom. You should visit." Quincy quips that despite him knowing the context, it stills sounds rather sketchy.
  • Layered World: The Reveal is that Quincy and Lynri are Neil's parents, and he's simulated multiple sub-realities to test every variable he can based off his mother's work, which was itself the basis for Sigmund Corp's technology.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Tobi's early birth leaves him debilitated by an unknown terminal condition. Throughout his childhood, he's seen using oxygen tanks, breathing tubes, and a wheelchair.
  • Malaproper:
    • Quincy eventually asks Ricebot if the deaths of Dr. Yu and Dr. Haynes in the simluation have something to do with "Shroom Digger's Cat". Ricebot asks if he means "Schrödinger's Cat", and then adds that no, it doesn't have anything to do with it.
    • Ironically enough, it can be said that the experiment is similar to the Schrödinger's Cat hypothesis, since the simulation requires Quincy to observe the two doctors in order to run the next iteration of the simulation.
  • Platonic Cave: The core of the story is about Quincy trying to come to grips with the nature of his reality and the role Lynri plays in it.
  • Premature Birth Drama: Quincy and Lynri are forced to choose between delaying Lynri's treatment and inducing their child's premature birth. After they choose the premature birth, their child, Tobias, dies at a young age, which destroys Lynri and Quincy's relationship.
  • Rays from Heaven: Blue rays shine down from the "sky" at different points in the game, even when there's no "sky" to speak of. These are later revealed to be from screens through which Neil is watching Lynri's memories unfold using the machine.
  • Recursive Reality: Act III reveals that The Lynri who created the player character's version of Quincy is herself a creation of a memory-based simulation, which itself is a simulated reality, and so on. To complicate things further, the various recursive realities are branched from the prime reality rather than a linear stack of realities. Incidentally, the prime reality's computer still has to simulate each of the nested recursive realities...
  • Shout-Out:
    • The track "Double O Six Point Five", that plays as the secret underground laboratory under the mansion is revealed, is a Musical Pastiche of the James Bond theme, and refers to the superspy's codename 007 (Double-O-Seven).
    • When Quincy goes to investigate the underground lab, Ricebot will tell him, "IT IS DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE. TAKE THIS!" and then pushes the Cat(?) over towards him.
    • When Quincy investigates the underground lab, the Cat(?) suddenly starts flashing as a Musical Pastiche of the Evolution jingle from Pokémon, culimating in the Cat(?) turning into a stronger and scarier looking version of itself, with boxing gloves.
    • Tobi's full name, Tobias Reynard, is a reference to Toby Fox. As explained in-universe by Quincy, the word "reynard" means "fox" (in French).
  • Ship Tease: Played to the extreme here with the perfect reality created by Faye for Quincy and Lynri. In this reality, Neil ends up marrying Eva and even having a child with her.
    • The subsequent comic, "The Bestest Dancers", shows what happened after the in-game Epilogue: as much as Neil takes after his father's personality, he also inherited his mother's tendency to keep others at arms' length, with Eva finally convincing Neil to take a chance on a relationship with her.
  • Take That!: During the gender reveal party, the original Lynri remarks to the original Quincy that while the event was already spoiled for them since they were the first to know the baby's sex, at least smoke wasn't used for it. It's a shot at parents going too far at making their gender reveal parties grand, with one infamous case causing a wildfire.
  • The Un-Reveal: Quincy can notice A Glitch in the Matrix, namely that the angel statue on the mansion's garden fountain is present in Lynri's memory, but it seems to be missing in the most recent reconstruct. Quincy makes a note that he should ask Lynri about it. When the player actually gets the chance to ask her, choosing the option to ask the angel statue causes the simulation to glitch out for a moment, so Quincy never actually gets to ask.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Inverted. At the end of Act III, when Faye offers the simulated Quincy and Lynri the chance to live out their lives in "the perfect timeline," Lynri laments that there's nothing new or even real to see in there. Quincy then points out that since this is the only reality they have ever known, it will be just as "real" to them as anything else has been.

Alternative Title(s): A Bird Story, Finding Paradise, Impostor Factory