Light theme

Outer Wilds review
Exceptional
by TheEmperorsEyebrows

An absolute masterclass of designing rewarding exploration 
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»

Other reviews11

If you like exploration in games, then I highly encourage you to stop reading and/or watching reviews and play Outer Wilds.for yourself as it is best done with little to no knowledge about it. If you want just a small overview of it, read the store page and nothing more. If after reading that store page you are still unsure if you’d enjoy Outer Wilds or not, here are a few things that can hopefully help you make up your mind:

A big part of what you’ll be doing in Outer Wilds is wandering in space and on the several planets. The experience of being in space and different planets feels very genuine. Gravity changes from planet to planet, making it harder to move about in some, and easier to move in others, and while in space, there isn’t any gravity at all. You will have to adapt not only to the weight of your character when travelling to a different planet, you’ll also have to observe the weather and other aspects of the planets that shift.
 
The other thing that you’ll probably do in Outer Wilds is gaining access to different areas. In this aspect, Outer Wilds is very much like a metroidvania. Though instead of the equipment checks commonly used in metroidvanias, Outer Wilds blocks off those next areas with knowledge checks. In your usual metroidvania game, the next area is probably blocked off because you need a certain item. For example, an area is atop a cliff. You can probably infer that you need to climb this cliff to go there but you can’t go there quite yet because your character does not have the items or tools to climb yet. You might have to fight a boss to get that item that you need. Outer Wilds does the opposite of this, you are given all of the tools from the start and areas are blocked off not because you cannot get through but because you probably won’t know how to get through. If that makes any sense.
 
Lastly, the time loop. You are given a set amount of time to explore the solar system, once your time has run out. This may seem like an arbitrary decision but it is not. While it may be frustrating when you discover a new place just as your time runs out especially because you will be reading a bit in Outer Wilds, by using this time loop, the devs were able to be creative in the designs and features of the different places you’ll be visiting. Outer Wilds is a game that you really should play and experience yourself as it is one that you can really only play once. After doing so myself, I want nothing more but to play it for the first time once again.
Read more...
This game has several awesome moments. Interesting, completely different environments to solve puzzles in. An intriguing mystery to solve involving space travel.

Frustrating to die when you're about to make some progress or are about to get the next hint. I personally would've preferred a bit more realistic scale and less cartoony graphics. A memorable journey none the less.
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
I recommend Outer Wilds begrudgingly. It's a great concept, with mostly great execution, marred by loose ends and a weak ending.

Outer Wilds is a "Groundhog's Day" time-loop game on the scale of a small solar system. Over the course of 22 minutes, you explore and learn about the system, its past, and its inevitable fate before starting again. At times, this can be annoying, cutting exploration short just as it gets interesting. Other times, it provides a unique evolving world that you can watch unravel. All of this was very well done and wrapped up in a package of space exploration and alien sci-fi technology. However, you don't get much control over the environment. and the ending is a bit more than I would have liked, but that's a personal preference.

The worst part of Outer Wilds is how it abandons its best mechanics (). The final 22-minute cycle didn't require any of these mechanics, and barely required complete knowledge of the world. There's no feeling like you pulled off the ultimate heist through your mastery of the solar system. The game's world and mechanics could've come together in a much more elegant way, requiring full understanding of Outer Worlds' systems and 22-minute timeline. It made much of my exploration feel pointless, were it not for some easter eggs, joke endings, and extra story tidbits.

I'd recommend Outer Wilds to fans of time-loops, casual exploration titles, and maybe even immersive-sim fans. I hope we see more titles like it in the future.
Read more...
an instant classic and all-time favourite of mine, go in blind and just experience it now
To discuss Outer Wilds at any length is a disservice to its exceptional qualities; at its heart, this is a game about exploration, introspection, and discovery and, thusly, any in-depth details will spoil the intended experience.

This is a must-play game, proving that games can do so much more beyond hyper-violence, upgrade systems, and obnoxiously large open-worlds.
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
What is space? Space is the literal opposite of our interpretation of safety. It's soul purpose is to kill you every way humanly imaginable. It's lifeless black void can freeze you over and mutilate our body inside out within seconds. There's impossibly large balls of fire only fueled by what seems to be their own anger. Surrounding these balls of fire are countless heaps of rocks, constantly being flung around it at thousands of miles per hour. Some rocks are lifeless, meaningless humps of matter but others have somehow cultivated life and that heap of rock is all a race of beings have ever known. Between all this chaos is an incomprehensible number of other threats that can kill you. 

Space is scary.

Chances are what you just read doesn't remind you of any space game you've ever played. It's not your intergalactic gunslinger adventure we were all hoping for, its something so disappointingly torturous to think about. It's something we've never experienced truly experienced before. Outer Wilds changes this.

Outer Wilds is space personified. Outer Wilds, just like space, wants to kill you. You're constantly fighting with your own speed as you violently slingshot around this solar system.  You're stuck in a never ending tug of war between your ship and the gravity of the sun and the gravity of the other planets. Circling this cosmic ball of fire are these bizzare, seemingly impossible planets. A hollow planet with a blackhole as its core, two planets stuck in an endless dance around each other, a comet flinging itself from the innermost regions of the solar system all the way to the lifeless outerim constantly stuck in this loop, and a planet we call home. 

If space can guarantee you one thing, its that you'll die (eventually). You die A LOT in Outer Wilds. The main focus of the game is that you're stuck in a timeloop, 22 minutes until everything you've ever known is wiped out by your sun turning into a supernova. Death is inevitable. No matter what you do, space'll go to seemingly impossible lengths just to see you die. But that's okay, everything will be exactly where it all once was 22 minutes ago. What seemed like a time trial to save the universe slowly becomes a hike across this cosmic merry-go-round for no one but yourself. So what if I die? Everything will be as it was 22 minutes ago, This life is just another one of many.

So, why? Why bother with any of this? All that awaits you in space is death. A place so unbelievably unfair, a place where the one constant is your death. Why? Why go back? The first thing you see upon every life in Outer Wilds is a streak of blue lightning dash across the sky. Well actually there's no sky here on this planet, at least not the type of sky we know. Looking up on this planet give you a view of the entire solar system, Planets flying by so quick and close that it feels like if you just jump you can touch them, Abandoned space stations aimlessly orbiting the sun with a purpose long forgotten, and a great view of countless other distant solar systems being created and dying. All you have to do is look up from the warm embrace of the campfire to see the universe and its call to you despite its promise of death. So why do we go? Simply because we can. Even if my return from death wasn't guaranteed, I'd still go. Almost like a literal call from the void, we cant help ourselves from not going. We're addicted to death.

(Spoilers Ahead)
As expected, the goal of the game is to stop the universe from going supernova. Along your journey, you'll come across these radio signals of different instruments being played from different parts of the solar system. Slowly, across each life, you travel to these signals, you uncover the people behind each instrument and their story. Once everything is solved and you've found everyone, they all gather around a campfire with their instruments waiting for you, their audience, to hear what you've been trying so hard to piece together. You've traveled countless miles to get here, you've died more times then you would've like to get here, you uncovered the mysteries of the universe within a 22 minute window to get here, to hear the song of the universe. With a meaning like "Song of the Universe", you'd expect it to be extremely grand. Full orchestral performance? Maybe something more along the lines of the soundtrack from interstellar.

It's not. Its a group of friends huddled around a campfire, a banjo, harmonica, flute, whistle, drums, piano, all playing a comfy campfire song. The song named "Traveler" played here is your final answer to your first question. Why?

"It's the kind of thing that makes you glad you stopped and smelled the pine trees along the way, you know?"
                                                                                                                                                  -Gabbro
Read more...
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
Not for me
A masterpiece of exploration games, one of the best games of the last few years.
You get to play a handcrafted experience of exploration, discovery and mystery solving. Absolutely incredible.
Play without spoilers.
«Blew my mind»
«Underrated»
The most brilliant game I've ever played in recent years. The first time you see the big event is unforgetable
«Blew my mind»
Favorite Thing: The world is brilliant; there is a ton of interesting things to see.
Least Favorite Thing: Dark Bramble and the anglerfish. Very unfun.

Date Completed: 2019-06-30
Playtime: 15h
Enjoyment: 9/10
Recommendation: YES!