My wife and I had thoroughly enjoyed Team 17’s last outing, Overcooked 2. So when my inbox informed me that their latest game, this time based on the arduous task of moving stuff. We were so on board. Fast forward to now, and the two of us have had a weekend planned out doing nothing but playing Moving Out. So is Moving Out able to capture that co-op mayhem fun again, or does it fall flat on the face, like the time I tried to run away with a toaster while it was still plugged in? Let’s find out.
Movers & Breakers
Moving Out puts you in the shoes of new employees at Smooth Move, a movers and packers company (Yeah this game has puns, like lots of them). You are tasked to visit different places in the city and help them to Move Out. The game offers up to 4 players local co-op (no online co-op yet, boo hoo), and so a lot (read everything) depends on teamwork. Thankfully, that teamwork doesn’t need to be any good.
Sounds a lot like Overcooked doesn’t it. Well, there is a lot more deja-vu where that came from. The look and feel of the game, the camera angles, the different character models, even the witty puns; Make you think you are playing the 3rd game in the Overcooked franchise.
It’s not Overcooked 3, I promise.
Unlike Overcooked, there is a lot more predictability to levels now. You see in Moving Out, you are tasked with moving furniture in a house into a truck under a given amount of time (The faster the better). And unlike a list of orders flowing into a restaurant, the chairs, the table, the fridge, and the bed cannot change position. Well, they could, since they are in a game, where we can throw beds out from a window on the second floor, and not shake its mattress loose, but I guess that’s where Team 17 drew the line on realism. Works out for me though. This time, my wife and I can plan which bed to pick up first, which window to break last, and which table to throw last into the eventual heap of luggage that we would be collecting in our truck. And nothing beats that feeling when all that planning pays off on your 5th tries and you get that Bronze Medal.
Yeah, Bronze. See unlike Overcooked, where it was entirely possible to get 3 stars on your first try, Moving Out will have you trying and re-trying the levels multiple times if you are gonna get the gold tiered time for it. The difficulty is 2 fold. The first challenge is getting the furniture out of the house, especially the ones that need at least 2 people. There is a certain elasticity in your movement and you never truly go in the direction you want to. Layered with the fact that sometimes you need your partner to do something and they don’t, even when you have explicitly asked them to, makes it a little difficult to keep your temper and your language in check.
The 2nd and dare I say the bigger challenge is in arranging the furniture. It appears that Smooth Moves has just the one truck and the space in that truck is rarely (read never) enough for the furniture you are tasked to move. So furniture needs to be placed and thrown over each other in a way that they all fit. It’s hilarious when it works out, damning when it doesn’t. Fortunately, the clients of Smooth Moves are not concerned with the state of their possessions, so they don’t mind if their TV arrives on top of their sofa and under their fridge.
Or maybe we are just burglars posing as packers and movers because we really don’t pack or wrap anything, and the timers are just the amount of time we have before the owners come back. Hmmmmm.
Anyways, back to the review. Where were we, yes the 2 fold challenge of Moving Out. Both these challenges are rather fun, to be honest. I just wish there weren’t so many doors in Moving Out. I know that’s kind of unreasonable, but windows are so much easier, you just throw stuff through them and you rarely have to worry about whether the sofa will fit through it or not, not so with doors they can close by themselves, and sometimes if you are off by just a pixel, your table isn’t going through. That’s not what you want in a game, where the controls are not the best.
But that’s being over critical of a game, who wants to create fun couch moments. Which it does successfully, over and over again.
My wife and I, had the time of our life, trying to catch chickens and cows and pigs when we had to move a Farm. We thought that was fun. But in the next house there was a haunted Piano that chased us around while we picked up stuff from the dining room. That was pretty cool too. Each level brought its own fun whether it was with incoming cars, or a snow slide, or an in-house pool that you get to throw stuff over. It’s fun. It’s great.
It’s the things around the core gameplay loop which are not. Replacing the 3 stars from Overcooked are medals that you collect in each level for completing extra tasks. While those tasks are often easier and un-challenging, the reward for getting those medals is not worth it. The arcade levels which are unlocked as you collect medals, are devoid of any personality and strip down the game to its basic rule of moving something from point A to point B. Without the canvas of realism, the gaps in-game mechanics are magnified, meaning me and my wife rarely had a reason to try them, when we could laugh our asses off while we threw wardrobes over a car.
Co-op makes even bad games seem tolerable. Moving Out is a decent game in itself. Playing it with friends is the right way to play it. Missing the online co-op option can put a bit of a dampener on its potential, but if its fun simple family-friendly game you are looking for in these times, Moving Out has got you covered.