Moving Out on PlayStation 4
With Get Packed, Totally Reliable Delivery Service, and Moving Out all being released or revealed around the same time, it seems like a few different development teams all had the same idea to try and recapture what’s special about the Overcooked series with a game about playing as a professional mover.
Coming from Team 17, the publisher of the Overcooked games, Moving Out would probably be the most exciting of the trio and the most likely to be the next great couch co-op game.
For the most part, it’s a great reimagining of the race-against-the-clock formula, but it doesn’t quite have the special something that the stressful cooking games do.
Moving Out sees you play as a newly qualified FART (Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician) and you’re put to work in the town of Packmore to move out a variety of occupants’ stuff.
The idea of the gameplay is that you try and move out every item (usually between 15 and 25) as quickly as you can, smashing whatever might be in your way. There are three timed goals for you to try and beat, with gold, silver, or bronze being awarded if you do so.
Some items can be thrown, some have to be pulled from the wall before you can carry them, and others are awkwardly big. It’s frenetic fun, with you having to run around like a headless chicken, grabbing everything you can, smashing every window, and trying your best to beat the gold time.
Run around and get stuff is the basic aim but, just as there is in Overcooked, there are tactics that you need to employ to complete levels quickly.
You only have so much space in the truck, where every item needs to be at the end, but you can’t get items like beds in if the space is already taken up by stuff like cardboard boxes.
So, you need to formulate a plan before you start the level, taking the larger items to the truck so that you can just throw the smaller items on top of them afterwards.
Then, other tactical plays like using windows as shortcuts or collecting items in one place before moving them to the truck can also be helpful in the time chasing.
Playing on your own, it’s that tactical play that makes Moving Out fun enough. The fetch and carry loop is too basic on its own, so actually having to think about how you tackle a level ensures the game isn’t tedious on your own.
A lot of the fun also comes from how quickly Moving Out’s mechanics develop as you move through the story. Ghosts that chase you around the map, moving belts, door switches, swimming pools, air vents, animals that will run away, and more are added to the mix every few levels, giving you something else to think about or an obstacle to avoid.
You might have to carry items further or move items in a more precise order to record a quick time
Constantly offering something new was something that Overcooked always did well, and the same can be said about Moving Out. It removes any chance of levels feeling repetitive, making sure you’re altering your go-to approach for almost every level.
However, Moving Out should really be played with other people. Adding a second player ramps up the chaos, adding more obstacles and items to move, forcing you to work together to move heavy items.
It adds another degree to the tactical planning too, with a leader dealing out instructions on which item to move where and when. It’s entertaining, stressful, and you’ll be screaming at your moving partners within a minute or two.
Even with a full team of four, Moving Out doesn’t recapture quite the level of joyful carnage that made Overcooked such a special hit. It’s the same idea and evokes the same emotions, but they’re toned down a little.
I think that comes from the simplicity of what you’re doing. Pick stuff up and move them is less involved than the cut, slice, cook, plate up, serve loop of Overcooked.
Trying to move a set number of items as quickly as possible also doesn’t create the same level of stress as trying to do as much as you can in a time limit.
Overcooked wanted me to make just one more burger, screaming at my partner to throw me the lettuce with five seconds to go. What you need to do in Moving Out is much more defined. If you’re a minute or two in and have a significant number of items left, you have a good idea of how well you’re going to do.
Improving your times isn’t very easy, so the chaos of trying to get a gold medal is almost never at the same level as it was when trying to get three stars in Overcooked.
Recapturing the magic of Overcooked was always going to be difficult and it’s the basic idea that sees Moving Out narrowly miss. It does a great job of making teamwork vital and the level design is great, but none of it provides the stressful concoction that was hoped for.
The need for FART partners also isn’t helped by the lack of online multiplayer. It’s designed with couch co-op in mind but that’s simply not possible for everyone and online co-op would be a great replacement.
However, Moving Out’s Assist Mode does mean that you can drag anyone in your house along to play with you, even if they’re baffled by what all the buttons do.
Assist Mode allows you to try all the game’s levels, without having to beat one to progress, and it gives you great options like being able to increase time limits or remove the need to organize the truck, making it easier to complete the levels. You can turn each of the options on and off to create the perfect experience for whoever you’re playing with.
Getting gold medals on even the story mode’s early levels is tough, so Assist Mode is a wonderful inclusion for people who just want the fun side of Moving Out and aren’t interested by the argument inducing targets and medals.
Moving Out is a welcome addition to the collection of couch co-op games that focus on an adrenaline and argument fueled race against the clock.
Its gameplay loop is easy to understand but hard to master, throwing new obstacles at your around every corner, it just doesn’t have the chaotic magic that made the Overcooked games special.
- – Fun gameplay loop that’s always throwing new things at you
- – Great couch co-op experience
- – Assist Mode makes it accessible to anyone
- – No online multiplayer
- – Doesn’t have the chaotic magic that Overcooked did
April 28, 2020
SMG Studio, DEVM Games
PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
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