Game: Out of Line
Genre: Action, Platformer, Puzzle
System: PC (also on Nintendo Switch)
Developer|Publisher: Nerd Monkeys | Hatinh interactive, HomeRun PR
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £10.29 | US $11.69 | EU € 9,71
Release Date: June 23rd, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to HomeRun PR
I previously previewed Out of Line and was very impressed by the demo I was given. Now, the developers have allowed me to see the rest of the project, time to share my thoughts on this lovely 2D platform adventure.
You play as San, a small robot looking boy who begins this game escaping from a factory filled with other robot boys like you, as well as some very evil claws that descend from the ceilings. After escaping the factory San encounters some friends outside, one of whom is able to turn evil bug robots good. But the threat of the evil claws is still in hot pursuit. Can San escape for good with his friends? Well, that’s up to you.
Out of Line is a 2D cinematic puzzle platformer. The formula of the game feels reminiscent of games like Limbo and Inside. You don’t fight anything, you move from scene to scene solving a variety of puzzles while occasionally running away from a giant evil claw. The main feature of the game is a yellow javelin San finds early on which you can aim with the analogue stick and throw at the tap of a button. This can be thrown at walls to help you access higher platforms, but can also be used to move platforms and jam gears.
With the tap of a button, you can instantly recall it to your hand much like Thor’s hammer. When the game introduces a new mechanic they show you controller prompts to avoid you getting stuck. Many of the puzzles require you to work with a distant NPC which makes the game feel very engaging. You feel connected to the NPC in their presence and lonely when you separate.
The game moves along at a nice pace and you witness the story play out in-game with no dialogue, just adorable gestures from San and the characters he interacts with. When I played Out of Line I didn’t want to put it down until I finished. But I had to because you gotta eat and drink at some stage, right?
Controls and Difficulty
The controls overall for the game are smooth and responsive and feel quite casual. While there is the odd scene that requires you to run away, you don’t need the fastest reflexes to make it through. When you come across a timed puzzle and find there’s not enough time to get from one point to another, there’s usually a much simpler solution you haven’t quite seen.
Puzzles at times are difficult but they never devolve into frustration. Usually experimenting and taking a step back from the situation enabled me to make it through without feeling the need to look at a guide. In the rare instance where you can die you also instantly respawn at the nearest checkpoint with no loading.
The art of the game is one of its most striking features. The game feels like an oil painting in motion accompanied by some striking environments. From the mechanic factories to the lush outdoor environments covered with mechanical remains and plant foliage. Familiar settings but this game somehow makes it all look new.
You are also accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack. Music is often calming and serene during the puzzle segments but appropriately builds to fear and caution when a threat is looming. You quickly care about Sans’ character who expresses to others with cute little waves and expressions of fear and joy.
Out of Line took around 3 to 4 hours to finish overall. The incentive to replay is to return and try to find all the collectable cubes and possibly unlock any achievements (this may be on PC only). Other than that there is not a lot of reason to return. Difficulty wise the game is not overly challenging. So if you’re looking for a more casual puzzle platform experience this might be for you.
My only main niggle is the game’s ending. The game just abruptly finishes without a lot of context. This feature will not bother most people but it’s a theme I have noticed a lot in games like this, such as Inside. Though up for personal debate I feel Out of Line does this style of game better than the competition.
Wanna try the game out first? There is a free demo available on Steam.
Conclusion – Line Up
Out of Line is a beautiful hand-drawn adventure. The game may be short but I see this being very appealing to busy gamers who don’t have a lot of time on their hands and want to see a game to its conclusion.
The formula here may be familiar but with a unique art style, enjoyable puzzles and well-crafted gameplay Out of Line is an experience well worth your time.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot