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Outer Wilds review
Exceptional
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?"
                                                                                                                                                  -Gabbro
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Sit back and relax»
«Underrated»
«OST on repeat»

Other reviews5

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!