Outer Wilds is an open-world action-adventure game that is available on PS NOW where you delve into the depths of space, find new planets and suffocate because you forgot to put on your spacesuit all the while finding evidence of a lost civilization of scientific aliens and discovering the mysteries of their past. Spaceships, photography, getting launched into the depths of space with no hope of survival, rocks, exploration, death repeat this is Outer Wilds. This game is really cool and honestly one of the most unique and interesting games I played in a while.
The reason I say that is that while at the core the main gameplay is exploring and discovering new things it actually has elements of a Metroidvania but implemented in a different way than I’ve ever seen before. Outer Wilds doesn’t really tell you anything about what’s going on, where to go or what to do and it’s up to you and your curiosity to find out what the game’s actually about. Most of Outer Wilds is played by exploring the worlds around you using your spaceship or spacesuit which both propel you around the worlds and maneuver through space searching high and low for new things to aid your journey.
What you find aren’t new abilities, tools, or weapons but knowledge about the worlds around you as well as the story of those that came before. It’s really fun to uncover bits of the mismatched story as you go along and as an added bonus the things you find usually point you in a direction to find out even more. Usually, in your exploration, you find this knowledge in the ancient ruins of a past civilization whether it be scrolls, squiggles on walls, or magic tablets that make you trip out for a little bit.
If you’re playing Outer Wilds be prepared to read because there’s a ton of text and every bit of text you find fills in a bit of the story but usually it’s pretty hard to figure out where it’s all taking you. You can usually be sure though that wherever it takes you it’s going to be weird and awesome for example this water world where the tornadoes circling it lift the islands on it into space and then they drop down and if you’re not careful you can die.
This is where Outer Wilds gets really cool because when you die you start in the same spot at the same time that you first started the game, you’re stuck in a time loop and there’s a limit to the time you have per life. Using the knowledge you’ve gained in your past lives you can progress a bit further each time discovering new things about each world and learning shortcuts to certain places until you figure out what exactly happened with these ancient aliens and why your world is stuck in a loop.
Deciphering what you find is a big challenge in this game as most of the techs you find are super cryptic and hard to follow luckily you’ve got a tracker in your ship that keeps track of everything you found. This thing is great and it enables you to pinpoint a certain objective and go for it, this mechanic also makes the game super casual and friendly as you can come back to the game anytime and all you’ve got to do is consult your trusty tracker for where you left off.
After landing on new worlds there are often obstacles in your way whether it’s an area, you’re too big to get past or invisible death stuff where you can die if walking in it for too long. Whatever the situation you find yourself in there’s a tool for and you start with everything at your disposal. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to use a tool it automatically pops up a simple feature.
Your most useful tool though is your spacesuit as long as you remember to put it on. The spacesuit does 2 things lets you breathe in space and gives you a jetpack to traverse both in space and on planets. Oxygen and fuel are both limited so you have to time your trip accordingly. Should you find yourself in space accidentally or otherwise you’ll need to get around this space exploration and it feels really clean.
On your journey, you do unlock things as you go but not in the way you’d expect instead of bestowing upon you with a special power, tool, or weapon the game just shows you a new way to interact with the world. I thought this feature was awesome and honestly, it’s one of the things that really sets Outer Wilds apart for me as it brings a Metroidvania style to the game that I’ve never seen before and it’s fantastic.
One look at Outer Wilds and you can see that it’s gorgeous, the art is fantastic wherever you go and there are plenty of different planets with all completely different environments and they’re all incredibly fun to explore because of how different each site is and the strange effects within them. The sound design in this game is incredible each environment is complemented with an ambient track that completely adds to wherever you are in fact they complement each other so well that it was sometimes hard to tell the music was actually there, it just belonged.
The storytelling and Metroidvania aspects are really what make this game great and I’ve never played a game like this before and I hope to have the opportunity to play one like it again. Outer Wilds isn’t too replayable to anyone with a half-decent memory because once you know something you know it and so much of this game depends on knowledge. The time loop aspect felt like there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it and utilizes this mechanic perfectly as I never felt too rushed nor did I ever feel too comfortable.
It was always easy to get back to where I left off and knowing where the shortcuts and secrets are from the last run was very satisfying. You need to be curious, enjoy the story, and don’t mind a bit of text if you’re going to enjoy this game. Overall, I love this game it was an incredibly unique and fun experience the whole way through, the beautiful graphics, interesting storyline, and relaxed gameplay make it absolutely worthwhile to play. The casual nature of the game means you can pick it up anytime and I absolutely recommend you play Outer Wilds.
Outer Wilds has been permanently added to the PS NOW service.
Outer Wilds was an incredibly unique and fun experience the whole way through, the beautiful graphics, interesting storyline, and relaxed gameplay make it absolutely worthwhile to play. The casual nature of the game means you can pick it up anytime.