yellownumber5's Outer Wilds (PC) review

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Space exploration adventure mystery

How does one describe a game like Outer Wilds? Take a modern space exploration survival game, mix it with one part Mario Galaxy and one part Marjora's Mask, and baste with a healthy coat of Cyan (Myst/Obduction), and you will have Outer Wilds.

Just in case somebody didn't already spoil the main thread of the game, I'll just say something happens that causes you to repeat a short period of time over and over again in a solar system occupied by your humble species and once by a past civilization . I wish I didn't learn what the something was before hand. Time resets, you are back where you started, and the only thing you bring back with you is the knowledge of the mysteries you uncovered.

You accomplish this with your trusty shuttle to scoot you around the solar system. Unlike the speed limited space flight in many space exploration games, Outer Wilds actually has real Newtonian physics flying you around. Luckily the solar system and Mario Galaxy-like planets aren't big enough for this to be a hassle. It takes a while to get used to floating where you need to go and remembering what retrograde means, but the handling feels really good once it clicks. Gravity is applied by all mass throughout the system, which makes each world feel correct with its size and how you manage traversing it by shuttle, foot, and jetpack.

Each world you visit is more complex than it seems on the surface, and contains many mysteries and puzzles about a past civilization that has used your system at one time to generate a number of experiments. These mysteries presumably may lead you to a way to save your world, or the whole universe, or not, I don't know, I haven't gotten that far. It might be just a sentimental tale of your journey and the recounting of the fate of another people. The catch to finding these mysteries is that you have to do it before time resets. This can and will be a problem as you are on a deadline. Some of these areas require a lot of poking around, and you might be in the middle of something when your time comes. Luckily the way the game saves your progress is by retaining a journal of your journey after each loop. This helps you keep track of what you've seen and clues where to go next.

There is no combat that I've seen. The survival mechanics are based on suit oxygen levels and jetpack fuel. Those mechanics don't apply to the sanctuary of your shuttle. NPCs generally don't move around much. Your stupidity and curiosity is your own worst enemy. Death just resets time (but only saves progress once you've made it past the first loop, so don't die till then). The pace is mellow. The music is chill and sentimental.

Is been a while since I've been captivated by an adventure game. I highly recommend this one once you get tired of the too many twitchy games out there.

Other reviews for Outer Wilds (PC)

    Hurry up and wait 0

    “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” OUTER WILDS 2019, XBOX ONEMany games present us with the conceit of freeform exploration and discovery, but few manage to make good on this promise. Typically exploration is confined by invisible walls or bright red turn-back signals that steer us away from the less interesting parts of the canvas. The stories found within tend to start and stop with the NPC’s we encounter along the way and their menial err...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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