Xbox One, PS4,
April 28, 2020
Team17 Digital Limited
We’ve all experienced that feeling while in the process of moving. That feeling of dread when you realise how much junk you’ve somehow accumulated over the years, and that it’s only when you decide to move that these unnecessary items now become a bigger problem then they were before. Because you’re the one that’s going to have to move it.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just throw that junk in the back of a truck and be done with it? Not having to worry about breaking windows or pots, as long as it means you can easily move your bed from the upstairs bedroom via the window instead of taking the long and tedious way down the stairs? Moving Out causes you to strip the shackles of what would be considered ‘normal’ behaviour and instead encourages speed and efficiency over safety and cautiousness. And that is what makes it so much fun and engaging to be a F.A.R.T (that’s Furniture Arrangement & Telocation Technician) in this game.
Welcome to Packmore, the bustling little town that you and your fellow F.A.R.T members help the town’s inhabitants move their personal possessions from place to place. Your main goal: to move every single key item into the moving truck as fast as possible. This creates a chaotic atmosphere that doesn’t allow for careful strategy but instead rewards quick thinking and decisive action – which contributes to the game’s goal of making the player hyper-reactive.
Playing through each level mostly plays out in the same way, but the game finds ways to spice up the gameplay when it needs to, to help keep you on your toes. Things such as objects that are tied to walls via electric cables, rakes that are littered around the level that grind you to a halt, or ghosts that spook you and force you to respawn. All of these elements make for a game, despite its simple premise, refreshingly new and challenging with each new set of stages.
Tone is something Moving Out gets right as soon as you start up the game. The game portrays the world as an odd interpretation of the 80s, where the music was upbeat and OH&S laws didn’t exist. This kind of humour mixed with the game’s character design pokes light fun at what is obviously an insane scenario of a moving company that is somehow still in business, even when every job results in broken furniture and employees in desperate need of a chiropractor. But if you’re a person who revels in the nostalgia of 80s funk, Moving out leans into it and then some. Composer Lenny Macaluso (who helped compose a certain iconic era-appropriate song) provides the final touch.
Sadly, I found very few opportunities to play this game with other people so most of my time was spent playing solo. Learning the controls and finding the most efficient ways to deliver goods to the moving truck in the early stages was quite fun. However, the later stages start to get frustratingly difficult to complete let alone getting a good time score. It seems that the game’s core experience is reserved exclusively for two or more players to tackle. While it’s not impossible to finish the game solo, your experience will be greatly hindered, and the game’s frustrating moments will no longer be funny – just annoying.
This unintended difficulty spike for solo players is further emphasised when there is no option to play online with other people. The idea of being able to help other solo players in online co-op would alleviate a lot of the problems mentioned, as well as giving the in-game emote system more of a purpose in communicating between players.
In addition to Moving Out’s overall approachable mechanics and controls, the game also opts to include various accessibility features that caters to a much wider audience of players with varying skill levels. Whether it be offering one-handed control options or providing easily legible font options for those that suffer from dyslexia, the game does all it can to ensure that its core gameplay loop is flexible enough to cater to different players.
While the overall package of Moving Out is solid and exceptionally well made, the modern conveniences of online multiplayer make it difficult to recommend for those that don’t have access to people on a regular basis to truly play the game the way it was intended. The game doesn’t suffer because of it, but unlike its accessibility features, it does limit who will be able to share in the fun. If you’re interested in similar co-op couch party games, check out our review on Overcooked 2.
- Intuitive accessibility features
- Great 80's inspired music
- Smooth overall performance
- Playing solo gets frustrating
- No online multiplayer
Moving Out is a great time to spend with friends. It evokes the chaotic energy that is ever-present in cooperative games, while also lending itself to more strategic play if you and your group of friends work well together. Its willingness to include extra accessibility features goes a long way in making this game more open to all kinds of players, at various skill levels – ensuring the core experience can be enjoyed at its most fun and engaging by all.
Lack of an online multiplayer mode in this current age is a disappointment but is by no means a deal-breaker. The decision not to include it was most likely a deliberate choice, but it is something many people would have appreciated. If you’re on the lookout for the next big co-op game to play with friends during a night in, or something to play with the kids that lets everyone have a fair go and just revel in the chaos, Moving Out is up there with the best of them.