Adventure/Interactive Fiction Game of the Year 2014 Runner-up: Out There15 Dec 2014 0
The first time I played Out There, the feeling it stuck in my gut was the same one I got when I woke up standing barefoot in the backyard in the middle of the night, after a microwave burrito dinner and a late-night viewing of Videodrome led to some particularly adventurous sleepwalking.
Playing Out There is a trip, is what I'm saying. It's perfectly at home on a tablet or a phone, but it's ideally consumed in a dark room with headphones on. Or barefoot in the backyard in the middle of the night, maybe.
Out There is a memorable combination of old-school gaming sensibilities and innovative risk-taking, presented in a beautifully hand-painted universe. The game challenges you find a way home after your ship has been teleported into an unknown corner of the universe. Really unknown. There's aliens around, but you don't speak their language, and have to piece together a working knowledge of their tongue over the course of the game. Your trusty ship is your ride and a handy source of resources -- you'll have to cannibalise components for rare elements that you need to keep your journey moving. It's part gritty survival adventure, part sci-fi space opera epic.
Out There isn't for everybody. It's damned hard and happily pays out the rope with which you'll hang yourself later. It's also very sedately paced and completely free of combat and almost all direct violence. But those same things are part of what makes it stand so far out from the crowd of excellent adventures released this year.
To see all of the games recognised in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2014 Awards, visit the 2014 Awards Index page.