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Outer Wilds review
by Bibo

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?"
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Sit back and relax»
«OST on repeat»

Other reviews19

What a great experience!

The sense of exploration & discovery is unlike most games I've played.
Also the story is really mind-blowing once you figure it out by the end.
I had to pick up my jaw from the ground.
Truly something worth experiencing. Perfect world based storytelling in both pretty and unsettling worlds with a mind blowing conclusion
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
I recently completed 'Outer Wilds' and I have to say, I'm absolutely blown away by this game. The sense of exploration and discovery is unmatched, and the mystery of the game's story had me hooked from beginning to end. But what really stood out to me was the incredible sound and music design. The soundtrack by Andrew Prahlow is breathtaking, perfectly capturing the wonder and emotion of the game's world. Overall, 'Outer Wilds' is a must-play game that will leave you feeling moved and inspired.
«Blew my mind»
This will forever be an unforgettable experience..
«Blew my mind»
We don't get too many games that really master exactly what they are trying to achieve. Outer Wilds is one of the few that sets out with a goal and achieves it. The game is not huge but within that scope they craft a solar systems with multiple branching mysteries across all planets. There is so much to explore and so many mysteries to uncover. I don't know that there is anything quite like the feeling of putting clues together and figuring out what is going on and this game offers it multiple times. The world is beautiful and spooky at the same time. It is also paired with some amazing sound design and incredible soundtrack. The game really isn't a horror game but there are parts that really give you chills like looking through some of the projection stones with it's creepy music and visuals. Dark Bramble is another place that will have players walking on eggshells. One of the best things about the gameplay is there isn't a whole lot of direction given at the start. You can go anywhere from the start and have to branch out from there, exploring where you think you should and following the clues you find. The only complaint I really have is some of the stuff can get repetitive. Not so much the main loop of the game but some of the actions of the gameplay like running out of fuel for the jetpack and overshooting a planet. These complaints pale in comparison to all the other wonders the game has to offer.
«Can’t stop playing»
I tried for a short amount of time before giving up. I’m not feeling it. Controls are bad, the story probably ends up being interesting but the opening was super boring.
I'm not exaggerating. Everything in this game from the premise to the ending, through the gameplay, the puzzles, the challenges, the failures, and the freakin' music, is just perfect. The only downside - which is NOT, actually - is the 0% replayability, but I'm optimistic that in 10-15 years my memory will do me a favor by forgetting the details of this masterpiece so I can enjoy it for the first time again.
Lots of love and tears.
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
I bet it is good, if you force yourself to finish it, but after 2,5 hours and dozens of deaths I am just tired.
This game is a constant struggle with limits (time, fuel, oxygen) and shitty controls.

I don't think the frustration is worth playing it.
If you play it, I hope you find it less frustrating and find enjoyment in it.
If you want a game that can make you feel something important... this is the one.
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.
An absolute masterclass of designing rewarding exploration 
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
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»