Out There: Oceans of Time Review – An exploration of missed potential

Reviewed June 23, 2022 on PC




May 27, 2022


WhisperGames, Modern Wolf, Fractale


Mi-Clos Studio, Goblinz

Explore a vast, breath-taking comic book galaxy as you and your crew race to stop the legendary alien menace who escaped on your watch. Out There: Oceans of Time is an ambitious blend of sci-fi interactive fiction, strategy, and survival like nothing you’ve played before.

In a far-flung corner of the universe where humans are a discredited minority, you are entrusted with transporting the most dangerous being alive to an impregnable prison—and then it escapes. Now you must lead a team of explorers, misfits, and bounty hunters on a galaxy-spanning mission of redemption to find the Archon and recapture it before it is too late.

Out There: Oceans of Time is the sequel to Out There, the half-million-unit-selling indie hit from Mi-Clos Studio. An ambitious new vision for the Out There universe, Oceans of Time may excite fans of the previous game, but you don’t need to have played the original to jump in to this new edition. Oceans of Time is a standalone story in the Out There saga.

Out There: Oceans of Time plays as a survival sci-fi narrative adventure, with a rich backstory if you played the first game, and an intro that fills in the necessary details for those who didn’t. Out There: Oceans of Time is also set 100 years in the future, so not a lot of detail is crucial to have known, as life has changed dramatically since our protagonists, Captain Nyx and Commander Sergei, were first put into cryo-sleep.

The game begins with Nyx and Sergei awakening on an unknown planet. The last thing they remember is that their prisoner, the Archon, has escaped. In the 100 years since, the Archon has destroyed the God Cubes and taken over the universe. Nyx feels responsible for the destruction and strives to bring down the Archon and finish her original job. However, Sergei wants to ensure humanity is safe and urges the Captain to give up on righting wrongs and to help save those who are left.
Out There: Oceans of Time plays like a ‘choose your own adventure’ novel. The actions you take change the direction of the story. At times the story is engaging, whilst other moments feel like filler and a little too cliche. Choices you make can feel more unforgiving than they should, with no ability to investigate narrative options before locking them in. Once you select your path, you are stuck in that storyline. There are definitely times when choices take a hard right turn and the player is left wondering how on earth they ended up on this path. The game can also get very dark in that regard, with your moral choices being tested at every corner. Even the most innocent of pathways can end in disaster. So be careful what you click on!
Navigating through the story requires you to jump from star system to star system in a spacecraft. Each star system is colour coded to show what type of planets are located within. These don’t change at all, there is no random generation to it. Red stars have Rocky Planets, Blue stars have Gas Planets, Yellow stars have Grassy Planets, and White Dwarfs have one of each planet type and a ‘save station’. There is a benefit to having such a generic colour coding structure, as the player is always aware of what planets spawn in which star systems. However, it did come across as bland and monotonous, especially 10 hours in.
As a space game, I expected that there would be more exploration and variety to be had. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The only randomly generated content may be an abandoned ship or a civilized planet. Even within that, there isn’t much to get excited about. The abandoned ships always generate the same stats for each type of ship you find. There is a lot of disappointment in finding a cool-looking ship, only to discover that the stats are subpar compared to what I am already using.
To power the ship and keep the crew happy, you need to manage the resources given to you. This is where the resource management gameplay comes in. There is a limited number of slots per spacecraft, so making sure that you have adequate space is a must. Each slot is also allocated to Storage, Modules, or Tech. Thankfully you can change these at any time, at a small material cost. There is no way currently to upgrade and add more slots to your ship. To acquire more slots you’ll need to find a different ship. Modules and Tech are acquired through adventuring or trading with villages on different planets. It is quite easy to min-max your ship quite quickly, which is somewhat disappointing.
In order to find the materials needed to keep the hull maintained and the oxygen & fuel levels high, players will need to go to the corresponding planets. As mentioned previously, while travelling around the universe, the game has conveniently colour coded where you need to stop to gather more resources. Landing on the Grass planets gives oxygen, drilling on Rocky planets give metals for the hull, and probing Gas Giants and Stars gives fuel. One strange anomaly is that landing on a rare civilized planet does not refill your oxygen tanks.
The early game in Oceans of Time is a real slog. 90% of the gameplay involves stopping off at planets and gathering resources, which may not sound negative for a resource management game. However, the contradiction comes from how you actually acquire the materials. Drilling or probing for fuel and metals costs fuel. So to get fuel you spend fuel. But to probe a gas giant, it damages your hull. So you are constantly doing a back and forth between Gas and Rocky planets to try and keep your ship moving. To make things even more confusing, the drill/probe mini-game makes little sense. The tutorial explains that the more fuel you use to drill/probe, the higher chance you have of collecting more resources. But there is some unseen background mechanic happening because sometimes performing a drill/probe at a low level got more resources than probing high. Add to this that the drill and probe get damaged which require metals to fix. It’s a really vicious cycle. However, thanks to Tech acquired mid-game, this grind becomes non-existent. Simply find a bigger ship to commandeer, equip some tech to make the hull more stable and a super probe to harvest stars, then your hull and fuel rarely ever need attention. One would assume that with more travel and added crew the game might have ramped up the resource difficulty, but it plateaued. This seems like a good idea so you can then focus on the story more. Sadly, this isn’t the case, because you still have to travel thousands and thousands of light-years to get to that story point. Then it was just sort of boring.

“As a space game, I expected that there would be more exploration and variety to be had.”

Exploring the surface of the planets also underdelivered. In a pseudo-turned-based hexagonal tiled plane, players are given the opportunity to explore the planet with chests to find, resources to gather, and missions to accomplish. There may also be villages to visit to trade and recruit crew members. You have the opportunity to equip your ‘away team’ with buffs to help out, and each crew member has different abilities that can be used as well. This can range from healing to locating resources. This idea had the opportunity to be something amazing but instead ends up being underwhelming.

While navigating the hex tiles, you’ll come across hazards with a percentage chance of successfully passing through. Other speciality tiles might include side missions which are text-based adventures with 2 or more options to choose from depending on what crew members you have brought with you. A key feature missing in these hex-based exploration missions is a map. It is surprising that such a user-friendly tool is missing. You’d also expect that encounters increased in difficulty or challenge as the game progressed, but they really didn’t.

The music is certainly one of this game’s high points. Even after spending tens of hours listening to Oceans of Time’s looping soundtrack, I never got bored or frustrated. That music really helps set the pace and creates a laid-back and chilled atmosphere, even when the gameplay itself betrays that vibe by being quite punishing.
The random encounters that seem to pop up as you are travelling the galaxy or venturing to civilised planets can feel a little unfair. Unless it is just my incredible bad luck, each random encounter felt like the game was punishing me unjustly. For example, allowing a crew member to ‘ascend’ to a higher plane stopped the progression of the story as they were key to the specific mission. Retrieving another of its kind took longer than expected and just felt bad. Playing the game passively seemed to give a completely different outcome than expected. It’s quite confusing as to whether this game is wanting to be challenging or not. The music and art come across as cozy and chill, however, the difficulty curve is out of whack and the pushy dark undertones leave me feeling so unclear about the designer’s intentions. Whilst there is still a lot to love about this experience and some clear dedication that went into the game’s design, I also can’t help but feel bored and confused all too often.




  • Chill and cozy sci-fi story with dark undertones
  • Great music
  • Interesting narrative


  • Difficulty curve is steep then plateaus for the rest of the game
  • Missing in-game information
  • Lack of randomness in a vast universe
  • Game can be punishing in an unfair way

Between the extreme early game difficulty curve and then the lack of challenge late game, Out There: Oceans of Time is a hard game to place. It provides an intriguing story with a great initial resource management system, however, it at points turns into a chore just to finish the story. The game boasts over 40 hours of gameplay with the ‘choose your own adventure’ style of story allowing for multiple playthroughs. However, knowing that there is a lack of randomly generated content, players might opt to skip the replay. For those looking for a super chill story with an initial challenge, this game might just be for you. If you are looking for a well-rounded sci-fi adventure, maybe check elsewhere.