Outer Wilds Review - Extraterrestrial Investigation

For a game about interplanetary exploration, Outer Wilds can often feel incredibly small. Flying from one planet to another takes a matter of seconds, which facilitates ping pong around the game's unique solar system. The brevity of traveling through this artisanal collection of areas to explore may seem strange at first, especially when the first few minutes of Outer Wilds place so much emphasis on the importance of their mission to document the unknown. However, their expectations of Outer Wilds soon turn heads, giving way to captivating mysteries to solve and difficult questions related to the mortality to face. These questions lead you to unforgettable adventures in which each part of the story you unearth feels as rewarding as the last.

You play as a citizen of a race of four-eyed, happy-looking aliens, and have been selected as your closest relative to take you to the stars. Nestled in the cozy forests of a small planet called Timber Hearth, you and your brothers contemplate the same questions you probably thought of before. Where we come from? Have there been others before us? And if so, where are they now? These questions lead him to explore the solar system in which he finds himself, risking his life in search of answers. Armed with nothing more than a space suit, an ingenious language translator and tools to inspect anything, from distress signals to harmful and invisible gases, you are allowed to fly in your crudely constructed spaceship and venture in any direction.

With suggestions that there was another life in this solar system before you, you have the task of finding evidence to support that claim. The dilapidated architecture of a forgotten age can be found on most surfaces of the planets, with translatable foreign texts that allow it to reconstruct the mystery of where these civilizations are today. Your exploration is restricted by a ticking time bomb: the sun at the center of the solar system implodes after 22 minutes and sends you back to the same dream camp on your home planet to begin this cycle of the Day of the marmot. With each new race, you can collect more pieces of the Outer Wilds narrative puzzle, slowly joining what could be causing the rapid decline of your neighborhood star, before embracing each inevitable death.

Death is not harmful in a traditional sense in Outer Wilds. In a way, it's beautiful. The somber melody that plays moments before the light disappears from the solar system signals your death, but it is also an indicator of how much you could have discovered in that life. It is satisfying to have a productive career that unlocks multiple new threads so you can follow them on your next attempt, pushing you to new planets to explore and solve narrative puzzles. Other times it is just as touching to accept a race without incident and simply embrace the beautiful landscape that surrounds you. Sitting on top of a peak and watching the sun die is strangely relaxing after expeditions without incident, allowing you to reflect on your wrong choices and realign yourself for the next trip.

The exploration and knowledge you get with it is the only way to progress through Outer Wilds. As you come across clues and discoveries, they register in a handy log on board your ship. These clues are linked and color coded to guide you along the various threads that hang from the story. The open structure of the game allows you to address any part of the mystery you want, in any order, before they inevitably begin to link to focus the larger image. These links are not clear directions to the next piece of the puzzle but are suggestions that help you determine when it is safe to move from one discovery to another. This helps make each of these discoveries feel earned while avoiding the potentially frustrating barriers to their progress.

Strong writing takes you to the world of Outer Wilds, and discovering even the smallest fragments of this larger story is a rewarding task. His large number of dialogue records that can not be found are charming and at the same time maintain a purpose, providing small amounts of information to reflect even in the most seemingly disposable conversations. The conserved exchanges between children could describe a game they created to spend time in dark and gloomy catacombs beneath the surface of a planet, which contains a useful hint on how to get to a hidden area. On the contrary, he may also stumble upon the dark signs of anguish that never reached his saviors or complex plans of alien devices that caused civilizations to make alarmingly dangerous decisions. You stick to the recurring names in conversations and invest in their stories, even when you know that many of them do not have a happy ending.

Without an explicit guide to point you in the direction of your next great discovery, each new discovery feels like a reward won with so much effort. Little by little he will be able to gather the events that take place at other ends of the solar system, letting his own theories open the way to a clearer understanding of the events that actually happened before presenting even more questions. This loop of discoveries takes you to explore every inch of every planet you can, each of which contains your lovely little puzzles to solve.

Outer Wilds presents only a handful of planets and other celestial objects that you can explore on foot, but no two are exactly alike. Each of them presents unique characteristics that present different challenges that you must overcome to simply explore them. The Hourglass Twins, for example, orbit very close to the sun, but remain dangerously close to each other, with the gravitational force of one absorbing the other's sandy surface and slowly discovering new areas so you can explore over time. A fast-traveling comet known as the Interloper has an icy exterior that hides a labyrinth of caves beneath its bark, which can only be explored once it gets close enough to the sun for the entrances to melt. A moon in orbit filled with erupting volcanoes that project volatile lava balls into space makes the simple exploration of Brittle Hollow's surface treacherous. You have to discover a path under the bark of the Hollow to cross it safely, discovering previous civilizations that dealt with the same dangers that apparently eons ago.

Discovering how to traverse each planet safely is an interesting puzzle to solve, especially when it requires an understanding of their positions within the solar system and at what times it is best to address them. Discovering the entrances to new areas by accident or observing mysterious behavior when exploring a planet makes each of these spaces more detailed and expansive than their small physical sizes suggest, and it is even more surprising when many of them contain large hidden cities under your scabs waiting. be picked apart. The mechanical and visual variety of each of these planets makes exploring each of them a tempting pleasure.

It is disappointing then that the rules that govern simple movement and space flight in Outer Wilds are counter-intuitive for this curious push and thrust of your world. The space flights in your ship and the exploration of the planetary surface with your jetpack are strictly subject to the rules of physics. You must fight with different magnitudes and gravitational directions while navigating with the propellers that fire in six directions, adding or subtracting their movement in each associated direction.

It takes time to learn when to start applying the reverse thrust in an approach to a planet or how to fly delicately up the surface of a planet without accidentally breaking through the atmosphere and space, but no matter how much you practice, you are actions will never feel entirely natural. Small mistakes are punished with premature and frustrating deaths. You can spend minutes waiting for the right moment to navigate to a certain area, only to waste everything because of an error caused by the Outer Wilds non-intuitive control scheme. He disagrees with the rest of the game.

The deeply captivating narrative of Outer Wilds and its abundant mysteries push you to explore its amazingly varied and impressive solar system. The time loop in which you are trapped allows you to make bite-size expeditions that end up telling your own stories, regardless of whether you make a monumental discovery or simply find yourself in playful interaction. Having a tool to carefully document your discoveries helps you slowly reconstruct a story full of lovely writings, and one that presents your own open-ended questions that add emotional weight to the many exchanges you discuss during your travels. By allowing him to chart his own course and build his mystery at his own pace, Outer Wilds makes each of his expeditions feel incredibly personal and absolutely unforgettable.

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