LadiesGamers Outshine

Outshine Review

Game: Outshine
Genre: Action, Arcade
System: Steam (Windows, macOS & Linux)
Developer|Publisher: Fishing Cactus | PID Games
Controller Support: No
Price: UK £10.29 | US $12.99  | EU € 12,99
Release Date: November 3rd, 2022

Review code provided with many thanks to Home Run PR. 

Typing Skills at the Ready

The vast majority of games are designed for entertainment purposes. However, every once in a while a game comes along that not only provides that fun gaming fix but might just improve your typing skills. The last time I played a game remotely like this was Typing of the Dead on the Dreamcast.

A bizarre but amusing typing tutor that had you playing through the arcade version of House of the Dead 2, only your gun is replaced with your fast keyboard typing skills. Random words would pop up over enemies and you would defeat them by correctly typing the word as fast as you could before getting munched on. It was a lot more fun than it sounded and even better with two players. Today we have Outshine which comes from the developers of Epistory. Outshine is an excellent arcade experience that will challenge your typing skills and may just improve them in the process.

LadiesGamers Outshine
Keyboards at the ready

Go, Hue

The premise of the game is you are this sort of light entity called Hue, taking on a human form. You have just busted out of your glass chamber making a daring escape from your robot captors, making what seems like an endless dash for freedom. That or possibly a pleasant jog, it’s hard to tell.

Whatever your interpretation of the events in front of you, the focus is more on the arcade gameplay than an actual plot. Outshine jumps straight into the typing action. Each level only lasts a few minutes making this an ideal pick if you’re short on gaming time.

LadiesGamers Outshine
Just a nice jog in the future

When you start the game you are given a brief tutorial to get you used to the controls and mechanics. When a level begins Hue is constantly moving forward. Robots will regularly float in front of you with a word hovering over them. You simply need to type this word out as it appears and Hue will shoot out a light beam to destroy it. Some enemies will attack you if you take too long to type. Others will just sort of float in the background but carry a longer word. This kinda reminded me of the floating saucer in Space Invaders.

You can take 5 hits before it’s game over. Every so often you’ll come up to a checkpoint where you’ll need to string several words together. The level will eventually conclude with an epic robotic boss battle. Usually, long words will be presented in various ways such as spinning them around and temporarily blocking your view. They are a great way to conclude the level.

The main point of all of this is to accumulate a high score at the end. This is improved by stringing words together, without error and avoiding taking damage. For many games, a high score feels like a bit of an afterthought, but this is the first game in a long while I genuinely wanted to best mine.

LadiesGamers Outshine
Don’t forget your shield

Don’t Forget To Move 

Typing is not your only weapon. Press the spacebar and you’ll activate a shield which will block enemy attacks, but be careful not to deplete the bar completely. If you come up against too many words to handle you can activate the return key to fire off a smart bomb to wipe everything out on screen and give you a short breather. If that wasn’t enough to worry about, you need to be mindful of where Hue is running.

Sometimes the road will break and you need to use the left or right ctrl or shift keys to move out of the way. All these mechanics are fine but I kinda wish the game broke you in a little easier. All these are available from the get-go and I was so focused on typing I often forgot they were available. It may have been handier to introduce them one level at a time to highlight each one. But no matter, my wife and I figured out a way to create a fun but awkward two-player experience.

One-Player Game for Two

Since she’s the best typer, she focused on the keyboard and I stretched my arms clumsily from behind handling Hues’ movement and skills. It’s one way to make a single-player game fun for two. Even going solo I gradually noticed myself improving over time. If you’re not a touch typer yet, this game may actually get you more used to that with practice. Once you start it’s quite hard not to try another level.

The graphics feel reminiscent of games like Rez (another Dreamcast reference). I felt like I was playing through a robotic firework display in a neon future. As Hue ran forward shooting out his beams of light blowing up the robots in a wonderful spectacle. Of course, it’s hard to focus on the graphics since the words that appear on the screen are your main concern. But maybe you’ll take a back seat and watch someone else play in which case you’ll be able to enjoy the 3D visuals as well as the immersive arcade soundtrack. 

LadiesGamers Outshine
Expect the unexpected with a word presentation

Calibrate to Your Liking

Typing is a skill that will vary from person to person. Some people need to look down at the keyboard to check letter placement and some folk can touch type. I sort of lie somewhere in the middle, it depends on how focused I am. Outshine has something for you whatever skill level you are currently at.

The overall difficulty can be modified with enemies presenting with longer or shorter words. But what may appeal the most is the variety of modifiers you can activate to make the overall experience harder or more manageable. This includes having Hue move out of the way of danger automatically so you can just focus on the typing. Invulnerability is also an option if you’re really struggling. But if you need it to be harder you can choose the option where you can’t make a typing error meaning you have to type the word out in its entirety. If you go harder it will increase your potential score.

If you go easy depending on the options you choose it may eliminate the score entirely which feels a bit harsh. Even if you need to go for the easier option the game offers the right sort of challenge that you’ll probably want to experiment with without the extra assistance once your confidence improves. With this in mind, its title excels in replay value. 

LadiesGamers Outshine
Better be quick on the keys here

Conclusion – Type-Tacular

Whether you are a slow typer or a super fast touch typer there is something here for absolutely any gamer at any age. Outshine seems a fitting name for this game as it totally outshines all known competition in this small genre. Typing aside this is a fantastic arcade experience all round. Great for short or long gaming sessions. The game may be single-player only but it’s one that can be enjoyed with friends and family. I found it just as much fun to watch as to play. I could not recommend this enough.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up

Two thumbs up

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