Game: Moving Out 2
Genre: Strategy, Party, Multiplayer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), PS4 and Xbox One)
Developer|Publisher: SMG Studio, Devm Games| Team 17
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £24.99 | EU € 29,99 | USD $29.99
Release Date: August 15th 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Press Engine.
Moving On Up
Moving out has never been a fun endeavour for me in real life, and goodness knows I’ve done a lot of it. But the video game version of the experience provides some much-needed silliness and enjoyment, provided you have some friends to play with. I remember being very excited for the first Moving Out game. It came to my attention during an indie showcase, where an ingenious trailer highlighted the zany premise where you needed to unpack a house and attempt to carry various household items into your moving van.
Since my wife and I are huge co-op fans, I preordered the game (something I rarely do) and eagerly awaited its release. After playing the game, I was satisfied, but it didn’t quite reach the heights of replayability like other co-op greats in the genre *cough* Overcooked. When I heard a sequel was announced, I made myself excited again, as this felt like a great opportunity for the game to refine its formula. After playing the sequel, I’m starting to think maybe the Moving Out series is just not for me. But despite my opinions, this is still a very good sequel that gets a lot right and will no doubt delight anyone that loved the first game.
Across the Multiverse
We return to the town of Packmore and follow the antics of the Furniture Arrangement Relocation Technicians (or F.A.R.Ts). The business has never been better, but the boss has a bright idea to improve business and reduce staff costs by 90%. Only in the process he ends up getting lost in the multiverse. So the game takes a bit more of a bizarre turn into a quest to save your boss by exploring the multiverse and doing what you do best; moving boxes into your van and, in some cases, moving them in (more on that later).
If you’re familiar with the first game, you may remember the very silly sense of humour. Characters will often natter to each other in the text at the start and end of each level. Like the first game, some of the jokes landed, and many felt eye-rolling. It helps if you’re up to date on your pop culture references, but since I’m not hip with the kids, I just skipped to continue to the next level. Still, it’s all innocent and harmless. It all breathes an air of silly, family-friendly fun suitable for all ages. This is likely a game you can easily share and enjoy with the young ones.
This family-friendly theme breathes into the game’s art direction. Cute 3D characters with all sorts of weird and wonderful designs with massive smiles, such as various humans, one with a shoe for a head and a goldfish in a bowl for some reason. Many more can be unlocked throughout the course of Moving Out 2, with additional cosmetics to boot. I will give credit to the developers, including the ability to put any character in a wheelchair. Doing this will not affect gameplay. I just think it’s a lovely feature since wheelchair-bound characters are rarely featured in video games.
Levels also come in a wide variety of designs and themes. The game begins in the familiar town of Packmore, featured in the first game, but soon, you are given the option to explore a futuristic area, a fantasy land and a desert-like area. Each area feels colourful and unique in design. The entire game, in general, feels like one big massive sunshine smile; it’s hard not to be drawn in by all the positivity. Performance was pretty good in TV and handheld, though there were some irritating loading times for small things like unlocking a new character.
Gameplay is similar to the first, with a few fancy new additions. You can play alone or with up to three additional friends locally or online. Online also includes cross-play. I could only test the game in solo and local two-player modes throughout the course of the review. The general premise of each level is the same. There’s a house, castle or other weird location with furniture that needs carrying to your removal van. Grab all of this and do it in a set time limit, and you earn yourself a gold star. Do this super quick you earn another. How you get the items in the van is up to you, carry them, throw them out, slap them, and break a window in the process. No matter the destruction, just get it done.
Controls and Tutorial
Controls are pretty easy to pick up, thanks to a helpful tutorial at the start of the game. The game has this awkward physics feel to its movement. Items all have a specific weight to them, so if you grab something heavy, you will feel it. If more than one player plays the game, a second player is usually needed to help with the really heavy stuff like sofas. Carrying and throwing stuff alone is easy enough, but it felt much more muddled with two people. When throwing together, the game sets up this timed swing which requires good communication to nail. Moving awkwardly shaped items around tight bends proved quite the chore. It feels like more work than it should be.
Play in Single-Player
If you play in single-player, it’s just you, and it didn’t take long for the gameplay experience to feel pretty lonely. This feels like a game where the enjoyment equals the number of players on screen. If you’re lucky enough to grab four players total, I can imagine the gameplay experience is quite a hoot, even if the whole moving endeavour feels like a colossal mess. Moving Out 2 makes an ideal game where you just want to unwind and have fun causally. But things start to get a bit stressful if you’re attempting to get all the stars.
I found the experience to be pretty push-pull for just me and my wife. Some levels felt ingenious, where you use a train to move furniture to the correct rooms or levels where you actually need to move items from the removal van back into specific spots in the house, changing the game to Moving In. Other levels just felt like a massive slog, like dealing with doors that only open one way or trying to put farmyard animals in the right pen, which would immediately jump out and run around the level. The most irritating thing was trying to carry around a wrecking ball-like figure to break walls which felt horribly sluggish. I admire the variety in level design, but not all attempts were experiences I wanted to replay.
Accessibility features are included, which I will admit we switched on to reduce my personal stress meter, making the irritable levels more tolerable. Features include skipping levels, making items lighter and adding extra time. Switching these on didn’t appear to penalize game progress, so you could still obtain starts and unlock new content.
As for additional features, a ton of content keeps you busy for a very long time. When a level completes, you unlock additional side missions, which will award you with another star when completed. Various cosmetics and characters can be unlocked. You can also find what looks like N64 carts which unlock fun little mini-games in the local arcade. There is no shortage of content; if it’s anything like the first game, there may be DLC in the future.
Conclusion: Packed Up
Moving Out 2 is a good game, and I do recommend it, especially with friends or if you’re a parent and want something to enjoy with the younglings. Compared to the first game, the developers have added much more level variety and plenty of variety in gameplay. For me, though, not all of this hit the mark, and I still found the experience at times quite frustrating and not as joyful as the happy characters waddling about on screen. If you played the first game and it didn’t land, then you don’t need to jump into this one. But if you’re new, loved the first game or have friends that want something fun and silly for game night, you shouldn’t be disappointed. If only moving out was this much fun in real life.
Final Verdict: I Like it
If you’re still unsure, there is a free demo on the eShop, so go check it out.