Game: Out of Space
Genre: Action, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, Xbox One and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Behold Studios | Plug In Digital
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £8.99 | EU €9,99 | US $9.99
Release Date: November 25th, 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Plug In Digital
Going in Blind
When I started playing Out of Space I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I only watched a small gameplay trailer of the game which showed a little cleaning robot cleaning up some alien goo. To my surprise, this game turned out to be a highly entertaining experience, especially if you’re able to share it in co-op.
The premise of the game is you alone, or a bunch of friends in a co-op, are moving into a house in space. But before you can settle in the place needs a thoroughly good cleaning. You need to go from room to room clearing out the aliens and washing up any goo they leave behind. The main tools at your disposal are a bucket which you can fill with water and a mop. Additionally, you can use a variety of tools found randomly in rooms or you can purchase them from the shop. These include a pumpkin plant to keep your hunger meter at bay, furniture to rest on to keep your energy meter under control and various other tools to help in your quest for a clean ship. Some tools need to be hooked up to a battery to work others can just be placed where ever you can find space for them.
A handy feature is that you can also dismantle these tools and resaemble them in other rooms to avoid backtracking or if it helps strategically. The level is complete when you place a battery in all of the power outlets. This task is not as easy as it sounds as the messy alien menace on board is quite malicious. Rooms can become overrun with aliens and their messy goo very quickly. The aliens also vary. Some need to be hit with water from the bucket before being attacked with the mop. When they are stunned you can throw them in a handy recycler to gain extra cash. You can use this device to also throw away the rubbish bags created by cleaning up the rooms. There are other ways to dispose of enemies but I feel that is something best discovered for yourself. Out of Space has lots of creative solutions and no one game will ever play out the same.
For example, when my wife and I played through we almost finished on a stage we only had one more room to power with a battery. Unfortunately, we neglected a room further back in the ship and before we knew it the place was overrun and all the hard work was undone. While certainly disappointing it is easily a treasured gaming memory we will share for years to come.
Animals in Space
Every level is randomly generated at the start. You get to pick a small ship but as you play and progress you unlock new characters, tools and bigger ships. It’s a shame there is no narrative to give context to the wacky world created here. After all, you play as a variety of animals in hoodies which just demands a back story. So I guess I have to settle with making one up myself. So here is: animals are fed up with the humans on planet earth and head to the stars to start a new life only to learn in space some things are just as messy as humans.
The graphics of this game are pretty simple 3D sprites and very family-friendly.
Single but Entertaining Mode
While there is only one game mode on offer here the replay value is enormous. My wife and I were hooked on this game pretty quickly. So much so it led to a double-dip purchase so we could enjoy the game with a buddy in America on PC. Unfortunately, the Switch version is local co-op only.
The controls are fairly straightforward though the barrier to entry may be a little steep for some gamers. Strangely, the tutorial only allows for one player to test out the controls. On the Switch version, the button prompts used to perform certain actions are not made clear. But through a little trial and error, we were able to figure it out. It is not ideal but at least the controls can be viewed in the options menu. Sadly they can’t be re-mapped.
Out of Space does come with a fairly large number of niggles worth bringing up. For instance, when items get cluttered in a room it’s hard to pick up the one you want. This can be especially stressful if aliens come and mess a room up. And when players are far away from each other the map will move out making it very hard to see where you are, this is incredibly difficult to view in handheld mode.
The biggest issue is this game crashed a couple of times, usually when we were quite far into a level which was very unfortunate. Despite this, it didn’t stop us booting it back up to try our mission to clean once again. I guess that’s what saves Out of Space here. The concept is so entertaining and fun to play with others that we were able to press on despite these issues. I still would like to see this game patched though.
Out of Space is a game well worth picking up in co-op. It’s an original and unique concept that I can’t say I have experienced in a game before.
While it has a few niggles it doesn’t stop this from being something you’re sure to create wonderful gaming memories with.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot
While my review may be over it doesn’t look like the developers of Out of Space are finished with the game yet. The description of the game on the Nintendo website does indicate the developers listen to player feedback and intend to improve the experience of the game as time goes on. Time will tell if that is true but I’ll be sure to keep a close eye myself.