As Is it in my apartment thinking about what games I should play, I look and a majority of them are absolute trash. It does not really help that I do not have the money to buy games because of this sweet pandemic. BUT! I remembered that during winter I bought a bunch of games from the Epic Store and one of these game was Outer Wilds based around screwing around and finding your place in an enorumous galaxy while trying to find the reason why time you are part of a time loop.
So, this week it is Outer Wilds, a first person space adventure game developed by Mobius Digital and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game is availabe for Ps4, Xbox and PC and retails for $24.99
You are an unamed protagonist, who I named Brad and is currently ready to launch into space and explore the galaxy and all of the unknowns that come with it. It is known that there is a race of people named the Nomai who explored this galaxy long before the people of your home planet, Timber Hearth came into being. After you learn of this, you experience a moment in the museum that is entirely in the realm of weird as a Nomai statue stares deep into your soul. You retrieve the launch codes and lift off into your own adventure filled with a mysterious and exciting, emotional plot and spooky sub plots. Outer Wilds plot is elaborate and wildly rewarding. The player quickly learns that the galaxy contains almost infinite information that is obtainable through any means. You travel the galaxy in search of the answer to why the Nomai were stranded and why the time loop exists. AGAIN! there is zero hand holding and it is up to the player’s ambition to seek out all of the answers that the galaxy holds. It is quite awesome to see this kind of writing, to be honest. It is all around some of the best writing in a video game that I have ever seen. The whole experience was just great. I wanted to read every single piece of Nomai text. I was excited every moment I read a Nomai triumph and I was sad when they failed.
There are six planets, a meteor and numerous Nomai stations to visit while you are on your adventure. All of these locations are fucking fascinating. For instance, there is a pair of twin planets that sucks the sand off of the other. This is important because the planet holds secrets that will be lost when the sand gets to a certain point, so time is not on your side. Another planet has a moon that slowly destroys the planet to show that in the center contains a blackhole that shoots debris and you to a suffocate in the depest part of space.
This game doesn’t hold your hand. While I was coming to terms with the exploration aspect, I was never really introduced to a plot line to follow or anyone to tell me what to do, it was haunting. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted? If I want to explore the Dark Bramble for hours on end, I was allowed to. There was zero direction and that’s great, until the timer runs out and the Sun goes Supernova and consumes the entire solar system.
The player then awakes to find themselves in a time loop that lasts approxamately 22 minutes long and then resets. It is up to the player to find as much information in that time span as possible. It can be uploaded to your trusty space log in your ship, that is apparently immune to the time loop, for the convience of future runs.
Gameplay is pretty straight forward: You wake up, get to your ship, fly around, land on a planet and investigate until the sun explodes. You are equipped with a translation device, that can interpret the Nomai language and a probe that can be launched so that the player can see in difficult areas. Both of these items are used VERY frequently. There is a moment that the player needs to shoot the probe to locate a missing vessel later on during the game. The most important piece of equipment is your space ship. It holds your spacesuit, it lifts and lands onto and off of planets, and it keeps you from dying in the blackness that is space.
Outer Wilds is filled with puzzles. Puzzles are everywhere and solutions usually borderline cleverness. Using the quantom crystals to walk up the side of a wall and utilizing the probe so that the crystals do not vanish when out of sight is enjoyable. Puzzles are fun and eaborate and make the player feel good after completing them.
Games like Outer Wilds are a gem. I loved every SINGLE moment of the game. It took me about 20 hours to complete the game fully and I did and second and third playthrough to see the alternate endings. I was hesitant to play this game for since I bought it during a sale and I am disappointed in myself for not playing it earlier. It is a story about your place in the universe and the mysteries that inhabit it. Hand holding is a common occurence in game today and when you are stripped of it, it may be intimidating, but it is refreshing to have a game allow you to do whatever you please ALL THE TIME.
I don’t want to play other games anymore. I just want to play Outer Wilds.