I just finished the game and thought it was incredible! The music is wonderful and the story is very touching.
This thread's now quite long and I haven't read all the posts yet, but I agree with what Logo98 said in the OP. I'd also like to offer my ideas/thoughts:
For the next episode I hope to see a far more interactive story where you actually have to travel back and forth to piece together clues. I like the idea of working backwards for the first act or the first part of the game as that keeps you learning gradually about the person's life without revealing too much at once. When the first part is over then all or most of the memories could be 'unlocked' and now you must traverse through them and become more involved in the story (talking more to the characters and such). The timeline at the top is neat, but it didn't serve any real purpose. The client is almost always on screen anyway so you can tell just by looking at him what his age is. The timeline could actually be used as part of the interface to travel through memories, for instance.
Another great idea from the first episode that's ripe for adaptation is the idea of the patient's deteriorating health and running out of time. Perhaps each "trip" to a different memory location would subtract a little bit from some sort of time/health meter, and when that runs out, you lose and have to start over from your last save. Perhaps taking a stroll through a happy memory (or doing something that excites or brings joy to the client) would fill the meter back up a little bit.
Along these same lines, the memory manipulation element is really clever, but the player never gets to directly control any of it. It would be neat if you could add and delete characters at will (pulling characters the client knows/remembers into a specific memory that they weren't actually in, to agitate or propogate some plot element, or removing them if they prove to work at odds with the end goal, or with each other). Also messing with other stuff (like Watts does with his clothing in the NASA presentation scene) would be neat and could even provide an opportunity for some open-ended puzzles.
An idea I think could work very well is a lot more direct interaction with the client (and choices of where and how to do this, with the end goal in mind). For instance, if you say something the wrong way, it might mess everything up and force you to restart that memory or level (working forward in time toward the goal). Then you can reply with a different answer to influence them in a different way. This was used in a limited sense but I think there's a lot of untapped potential there.
As Logo98 mentioned, a longer story would be great, especially since an entire life is such a huge span of time that 20 or so (even emotionally charged) memories can't quite do it justice. Granted, I did actually like the length of To The Moon, it felt just about right. But I wouldn't complain at all if it was a bit longer
I too found the gameplay (puzzles) to be a bit cumbersome; many times I was stuck looking for the fifth memory link for quite some time. The memory at the doctor's office (where River is diagnosed) took me ages to figure out where the last piece was (talking to the Johnny in the waiting room). I felt it did get in the way of the story a bit as I was always so eager to get to the next piece of the story but instead I'm forced to hunt around for five random things. Also, the walking/exploring seemed a bit awkward; a lot of times I would click somewhere and nothing would happen, while I'd expect the characters to at least walk in that direction. Most of the little background elements actually blocked the movement path which seemed kind of unnecessary. This was especially true with the horses and those little flowers that seemed to be placed at exactly the worst spots. Even just having a well-defined track to race around would have been much better; it took me quite a while to track down Watts.
One other nitpick is the crazy thing with the Evazombies and traps was a bit too much for me. I found myself struggling to enjoy that part; it lasted far too long and I found it quite difficult and annoying. I did chuckle occasionally at the ridiculousness of it all, but it seemed a bit out of place, like it was slapped in at the last minute, where there could have been something more interesting or substantial instead (perhaps a choice of whether to side with Eva or Watts in resolving the problem?)
I think the changes to the gameplay a.k.a. "memory system" could also be justified by having them haul in a larger, upgraded thing into the next client's house/room.
I agree with previous statements that it didn't feel like a game so much as a highly interactive movie, and I think those two things work at opposite purposes. With a movie, I want to sit and relax and not have to think or interact to move the story along - with a game I want to control and influence everything possible. The way it is currently, it's a somewhat arbitrary mixture between the two, and it feels like (especially with exploration/movement) we the players get stuck doing mostly the boring parts, just to get to the good stuff. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the gameplay elements, but again, they take away from the enjoyment of the movie elements, and vice versa, rather than building up and supporting each other.
In the end, mine is just another opinion and these are just suggestions, so take it for what it's worth. Overall, I felt the first episode was a complete triumph, and I would not hesitate to purchase an episode 2 even knowing it used the same system and gameplay elements as this one. I'd get it for the story and music alone. Please keep making games, and thank you for To The Moon! If my thoughts are found useful or helpful in making the next one, even better.
I did have one small question I could never figure out - what did Dr. Watts do when he ran outside and made excuses to both Lily and Eva? I don't believe it was referred to again, and I can't possibly imagine what he was doing, if not exactly what he told them (taking a leak and I can't remember what the other excuse was). This happens just as Eva is returning from getting the roadkill (he meets her on his way back to the area by the road).