Outer Wilds, the review of a great little space masterpiece!



Outer Wilds review talks about time loops, a universe on the verge of collapsing in on itself, and lots of mysteries to solve!

Sometimes a lack can turn into a fortune. We refer to our review of Outer Wilds which, arriving with a guilty delay, gives us a way to talk about it as we could not have done before today.

Mobius Digital’s game debuted in 2019, but despite the three years on its back, Outer Wilds remains an extremely important work, one of those pivotal experiences in understanding what a video game can be when it’s free of certain creative cages. One of the first to replace the old game over with more modern time loops, Outer Wilds offers bold gameplay choices and a type of progression perhaps never seen before, at least until Deathloop came along.

Spaceloop

Outer Wilds: the interior of our spaceship

We don’t know if Arkane took inspiration precisely from Outer Wilds, nor with this possible connection belittle his extraordinary game. In fact, we want to prove the exact opposite, that those who “design” their project around loops gain access to new tools that allow new types of gameplay, new types of challenges and new forms of hypertextual storytelling. Benefits that we can see in Outer Wilds, Deathloop, and probably every other title that will make the same choice. The existence of both games also shows that loops can be adopted on a large scale, that they have no problem adapting to any genre and any setting.

The loops in Outer Wilds last twenty-two minutes, or until the protagonist dies. The game begins twenty-two minutes before the solar system in which we reside collapses in on itself, wiping out spacetime in a total and irreversible reset. Our home, our village, our friends are all located on a small wooded planet well placed in space, and from there, on that very day, as the new recruits of the ramshackle Outer Wilds space program, we will set off for the stars in a brand new spaceship, at least by local standards.

As soon as we leave the planet’s atmosphere, we witness a small and unexpected miracle that up to that moment the player may have only guessed: the system in which we find ourselves and from which we cannot escape is in constant motion, and each planet affects the other in an extraordinary sidereal symphony that, however, will soon come to the end of its existence.

Small big space

Outer Wilds: no one knows what's really going on among the stars

In Outer Wilds you can land on any planet, get off and get back on the spaceship at any moment. The progression is related to the clues that we will find during each of our expeditions, which will remain stored in the on-board computer even after the loop is finished. The different clues will slowly form a web of events that at the end of the game will allow us within a single time loop to save the universe, or at least try to.

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In this interlocking cause and effect, what we do on one planet could radically change the situation on the high side of the sun, open up new areas and new mysteries on a distant moon, even though distances are relative in the Outer Wilds system. Here space is small, planets do not have realistic proportions, but in its fantastic reconstruction Outer Wilds is absolutely believable. In its corner of the universe there is enough room for compelling legends, stories passed down and heroes to chase among the stars.

Interstellar Moments

Outer Wilds: clues, links, puzzles solved... you'll find everything on the ship's onboard computer

In Outer Wilds, for the first time, you’ll be confronted with natural events so extreme that you’ll be astonished, if not frightened, by their colossal scope. With due stylistic, technical and budget differences, Outer Wilds is the only space game around that can offer several Interstellar moments.

What you won’t find in Outer Wilds is combat, but it would be a mistake to think that without guns and shooting there is no challenge, no danger. Exploration is always precarious in this game, even driving the spaceship is not an obvious exercise and not even experience can reduce the risk factor of each expedition to zero. Puzzles, exploration, mishaps: there’s a lot to keep track of, but very little we can tell you about without spoiling the surprise.

Outer Wilds: despite the modest budget, Mobius Digital artists have managed to create extraordinary sets

Even without millions of planets, or walkable acres, the adventure proposed by Mobius Digital can last more than twenty hours and all of gameplay, game played, active exploration. Its scale does not allow for major downtime, and even tragically close a loop never steals too much time. Unbearable and at the same time beautiful that a project like this comes to the mind of a group of very young students and former students, instead of the giant of the moment. Who knows how many professionals in the field have equally strong ideas, but none of them is allowed to create something even remotely similar to Outer Wilds, a game that with its very existence pillories a way of making video games that is increasingly standardized, and less and less fun for both those who develop and play these products.

Made in Mobius

Outer Wilds: the bonfire theme is recurring in this game

Outer Wilds is an adventure that you do not forget, that leaves its mark even if you notice immediately that behind it there is not the wallet of Elon Musk but the much more content of the Japanese Masi Oka, former actor nominated for a Golden Globe thanks to series such as Heroes, an expert in special effects on behalf of Industrial Light & Magic and since 2013 also known to be the founder of Mobius Digital, and that on this occasion has been helped by the always insightful Annapurna Interactive who played the role of publisher. Outer Wilds is available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC, the latter being the platform where it runs best even if in all cases the optimization leaves something to be desired. On consoles the charm of Outer Wilds remains unchanged even if the image is less vibrant, and the frame rate somewhat unstable. The same idea would undoubtedly deserve a better realization.

Comment

Outer Wilds is a game full of mystery, capable of making your legs shake with its colossal surprises and your brain spin with its soft deductive puzzles. If you were looking for something different from the usual, you have finally found it! The Moibius Digital game is fully translated into Italian and is available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and soon on Nintendo Switch.

PRO

  • A unique experience
  • Enveloping and mysterious
  • Minimal but quality soundtrack
  • Poor overall optimization
  • Graphically it does what it can
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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