Moving Out Review – TheSixthAxis
Usually when I write a review I want to cast doubt on the introduction. However, my time moving out has been one of the most joyful, silliest, and simply funniest experiences I’ve had with a video game in years. Let me get to the point: if you and your family are looking for a fun co-op party game to enjoy together, buy Moving Out without hesitation. Right now. Go do it.
Still here? I think I’d best give more justification then. By moving out, you and up to three other players will be occupied as technicians for furniture arrangements and removals – FARTs (chortle) for short. Your mission is simply to remove all furniture – and the occasional animal – from someone else’s house and put them in the back of your van. Do it fast enough and you will get a medal. If you make it silly enough, you’ll collect tokens that unlock bonus levels to play in the arcade. There are some superficial parallels to Overcooked’s co-op gimmicks! (not least that they share a publisher), but Moving Out has its own style and different challenges to deal with.
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Moving furniture is surprisingly an incredibly cathartic experience. If, like me, you have a hint of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and you’re a bit of a clean freak then you’ll too be delighted to drag a bed through a virtual house, knock down vases, break through walls and cover the floor with muddy footprints while You go. Since Moving Out is a physics based puzzle, trying to pull a sofa in slightly different directions will wreak havoc on your cohort.
Can’t you squeeze it through that front door? Instead, just toss it through the window. There is no penalty for the terrible damage you will cause, in fact the design of each level encourages it. Your only job is to make damn furniture in the back of your van, fragile items, and pets.
Fortunately for you, the busy town of Packmore is busy for FARTs like you. You’ll be driving your van around town on your way to find the next level, but even that potentially discarded map screen becomes a hot zone of fun and high spirits. My four year old was delighted to drive this indestructible van. Cars, signs, and mailboxes are bumped together and sent spiraling away in a hail of comic book debris – it’s like gravity isn’t that big a deal. Once you are in a level you will find a small, enclosed space that is often brilliantly designed. You can trudge through the level with little thought or, if you’re a completer, you’ll need to orchestrate some close teamwork to set a new time to remove records.
Levels can even be tiered affairs and this adds to the mysterious side of Moving Out. In a snow-covered chalet, you have to put furniture on icy slopes for the best time, while a crazy farm demands that you block pigs, sheep, and a hefty heifer in the back of your van by hastily hitting a wall of hay . What I loved about Moving Out is that this added challenge can be completely ignored depending on the skills of the players. The challenge is there when you want it, but if your team prefers to run around, jump through windows, throw turtles, and hit each other, that’s perfectly fine, too.
In fact, the developers DevM Games and SMG Studio have served both game styles with a very generous “assist mode”. Here you can set the level of difficulty of the game to make it the perfect challenge for any player among your friends or family regardless of their skill level. The completion times can be extended and the game mechanics simplified. You can even skip levels that are blocking your progress. It’s a very thoughtful touch in a game full of them.
Certain objects require two or more players to band together in order to move them together. However, if you are playing with a younger player this setting can also be changed. You can focus on moving the furniture while getting in and out if you want. They may want to help out a bit before finding little secrets on each level. From goals to tire shooting, there’s plenty to do.
So are there any problems? If you’re looking for a single player or online experience, Moving Out isn’t the game you’re looking for. This is just a pure couch co-op, but in my opinion, all the better for visibility. There were also a few minor mishaps that my partner and I ran into, for example when a piece of furniture once disappeared in transit only to reappear in its original location. It was weird, but we got it over with. Then there was the time when a sofa was so wedged in a door that we couldn’t move it at all – my urgent and bombastic yelling of ‘PIVOT! PIVOT! ‘Did nothing to take advantage of the situation – force a restart. There have been other occasions when physics misbehaved, avatars stuck in furniture, fridges stuck in walls, that sort of thing. If anything, these mishaps made the experience even more fun.
Undressing is a fun, fun game. I’m not referring directly to the script here, although that’s funny too, rather in the way that the freedom of the game mechanics allows the players themselves to be funny. My son’s laughter was non-stop throughout a level when he realized he could slam a door in Daddy’s face and that it would swing back into him and spread us both out. It was then that I realized that I had laughed without a break.
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