Developed By: SMG Studio, DEVM Games
Published By: Team17
Platforms: PS4 / PC / Switch / Xbox
Reviewed On: PS4PRO
Moving Out comes from the same talented individuals who brought us the incredibly popular Overcooked series. Overcooked and Overcooked 2 are highly regarded as one of the best couch co-op/party games to play together with friends and family which always promises lots of frustration but great satisfaction especially when playing with other players. The way that so much random things can go wrong always presents so much laugh out loud moments and wonderful memories. Thanks to PlayStation Asia who provided us with a review code lets see if Moving Out can capture that same magic with Moving Out.
“Lift With Your Back Not Your Legs” – The Boss
Moving Out presents a quite simple premise as your character is a certified Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician (F.A.R.T) and with orders from the Boss, you are tasked with going around Packmore and moving furniture for the clients. Throughout the missions, there are bits of light-hearted dialogue peppered keeping in line with the fun-loving nature of the game, but I wouldn’t say that any of it was particularly memorable. I mean I can understand the argument that it is a party game and the whole point of it is just to enjoy playing it with other people but when you compare it to Overcooked 2 and how it feels there was just a little more investment in making us care about the characters and what you are doing. I mean towards the final third of Moving Out there was a sort of twist which although cute just lacked any sort of weight to make me care about this new development. I played through the whole game with my wife who enjoyed the appeal of the game but ultimately also failed to hold her interest throughout most of it.
Utilizing the Unity Engine, the game looks just as loveable as the Overcooked series with cute characters models and bright colours that feels really fitting. Graphically I do not think I encountered any bugs or glitches. The soundtrack of the game is also light, upbeat and really projects positivity for the players to really just enjoy themselves and have fun.
“The Journey From A to B is Pathed With Broken Boxes….. and Dreams” – The Boss
Like in Overcooked, you can customize the character you use albeit with very simple options. The game starts out with the obligatory tutorial level to get players up to speed with the controls before they become a full-fledged F.A.R.T employee. Holding down the L2 or R2 trigger sticks to carry and hold on to things, pressing the Square button is to slap ghosts or other players but holding it down while carrying an item allows you to throw the item in the direction you are facing, the X button is to jump and that’s basically it. There are around 30 main stages in the game and each stage will provide a timing goal to load a specified amount of furniture on board the truck. Sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately, that is a resounding yes and I will get to why that is.
The game can be played solo or up to four players but unfortunately only locally which to me was a huge oversight considering how Overcooked 2 was able to be played online. My recommendation is that do not play this game solo as even though you can, it just does not feel as much fun. Playing at least with another partner alleviates the frustration bound to arise from the game. See the game is just about carrying and moving furniture and the appeal of that wears out faster than you realize. In Overcooked the game is about preparing dishes and serving them, but part of the appeal was being able to have multiple recipes and executing them while the environments changes around you. Players are also able to rack up a higher score by serving the dishes in order and etc. In Moving Out all you do is just load the specified number of furniture onto the truck before time runs out. Initially you might try to plan out your route to really hit your timing goals but eventually, you might give up due to how frustrating the levels themselves can be. That is because the developers took some risks with the hazards meant to hamper progress and not all of them work.
When the building layouts themselves started becoming more intricate it was an acceptable challenge, but it is hilarious how the first real hazard (the ghost) annoyed us in the limited stages they were in. See it’s the ghosts’ job to impede the player and just getting caught by them makes your character respawn and the only way to counter them is to slap them so they get stunned. The annoying thing about that is they still come after you after recovering. It was extremely frustrating for my wife as she constantly had to be annoyed with carrying the furniture being caught by the ghosts and sometimes the slap hitboxes don’t register causing her to respawn again and again multiple times. It just made more sense for the ghosts to disappear for a short while when you slap them. Other hazards that come into play like even some fire ones start harmless enough but then quickly devolves into something frustrating. Some levels even try to change up the formula by allowing you to load animals which was cute and interesting as the animals themselves will try to escape but they were so scarce it felt pointless to include them in the first place.
One other thing that I felt was truly strange was how the game tries to force replayability by withholding bonus objectives. See each stage has a timing goal tiered in Gold, Silver and Bronze but there are other side objectives that players can complete to get tokens like smashing all the windows in the stages or not using the stairs and etc. These token that you earn will unlock bonus stages that can be played in special buildings like The Arcade or the VHS Superstore. It sounds great for people who would like more of what Moving Out offers but these objectives are only revealed to you AFTER you finish the stage the first time. If you are lucky you might accidentally complete an objective but the whole time, I just kept wondering what is the point of keeping the objectives hidden other than trying to force replayability?
The difficulty in the game is also hit and miss. The initial start to the game is pleasant and comfortable enough as the awkwardness of the challenges themselves don’t feel frustrating but then when the challenges ramp up it quickly becomes apparent how the timing goals themselves feel quite unrealistic at times. Eventually, the wife and I just felt really worn down by how the game just made us feel more frustrated than fun which is a shame due to how fun it was in the beginning. Thankfully, the game also comes with an Assisted Mode where you are given options to modify your playthrough. You can choose to have longer time limits, disappearing objects on delivery, reduced difficulty, skip level on fail and lighter items to be carried by more than one player. Halfway through the game my wife and I turned on the longer time limits and reduced difficulty just so we can finish the game and not feel so frustrated with it on the way there.
What I Liked
- Atmosphere & Soundtrack – Has the same charm of the Overcooked series.
What I Wished Was Better
- More Variety – I liked the farm stage as it was a different experience, but it ended up feeling more like an experiment.
- Grab Mechanics – Both my wife and I found that sometimes when you grab items your characters hand just does not lock on to them as it should. It is especially more noticeable when the height of the item itself is slightly lower than your character’s hands.
- Difficulty – I mean its good for a game to be challenging instead of a walk in the park the whole way but then the challenges must also be tuned so it does not end up being too frustratingly challenging. And I am not talking Dark Souls level challenging where the satisfaction of overcoming it feels cathartic. Here it feels unwarranted.
I was excited for Moving Out and the early praise that it was getting. I was especially excited for it because it was another game that I can play with the best Player 2 in life, my wife. Unfortunately, it did not turn up to be such a great experience for us both but on a positive note, I can only hope that if the sequel does come out that it does improve on a lot of things. One of the worse things about writing a review is when you have so little to say about the game and Moving Out ended up being one of those games. There is just so little to say about it positive or not and ironically even writing this review proved quite a challenge. However, I do think that the game is priced rightly especially on STEAM so definitely give it a go and who knows you might find yourself enjoying it more than I did.