Preview Build provided with many thanks to Home Run
Out of Line is an upcoming puzzle platformer with beautiful hand-drawn graphics which is looking to make its mark on the gaming world this Summer. The developers were kind enough to provide us with a demo build on PC so I can share my early thoughts on this promising new contender.
You play as a robotic looking child called San on a quest to escape an unpleasant robot factory and take his chances in the unknown world beyond, in order to find his purpose in life. The game presents with no text boxes and the story is told by immersing yourself in the experience.
The two things that stood out straight away to me with this game was its beautiful hand-drawn art style and its atmospheric soundtrack. The art style of this game feels like you’re playing a painting that is in motion. San’s innocence is brought to life with his simple facial expressions, showing curiosity to the world around him as well as displaying fear when the gigantic robot claws tries to seek him out and capture him.
Then there is the incredible use of sound. The game does an impressive job creating a sense of uncertainty and fear during some of the game’s intense moments but also providing some nice relaxing sounds during the downtime while you solve puzzles.
Throw Your Spear
The gameplay takes inspiration from games like Limbo and if you’re old, like me, Another World. Atmospheric puzzle platformers where the narrative is baked into its gameplay. Nothing is obviously explained to the player leaving things to your own interpretation.
To help San solve the puzzles he makes use of a handy golden spear. Which you can throw about and then recall to your hand at the tap of a button, much like Thor’s hammer, only cute. It is a mechanic that feels very satisfying to play with. This is never used to defeat enemies, instead you can throw this at walls to jump higher, use it as a switch and even get it stuck in cogs to keep doors open.
The puzzles were constantly changing so it never felt like you were repeating the same thing over and over. The difficulty is mild to moderate. The game does give you hints with the controls but you’re left to your own devices to figure out the puzzles. Some basic experimentation will see you through to completion.
A Helping Hand
The demo allowed me to play through this haunting robotic factory where other Sans were running around in the background. There were unique moments where you had to work together with another San on a different floor to progress to the next section. After this, I was able to play through a short section set outside the factory where you had the assistance of bugs. Though only just meeting these fleeting companions, there were engaging moments where I cared for their safety, doing my best to make sure no harm came to them.
The game is single-player only, but with such a unique art style I could see this being an enjoyable game to play together with a friend or loved one where you swap the controller and help each other with the puzzles.
On the Right Line
Out of Line looks to be something quite special. The demo ends on quite the cliffhanger and I was certainly eager to see what comes next. With a great art style, atmospheric sound and unique puzzle hook, this is a game that looks to be a line above the rest in terms of competition and I for one look forward to its final release.
Out of Line is looking to release Summer 2021 on PC and Nintendo Switch then later in the year on PS4 and Xbox. Keep an eye out for it.