Friday, December 02, 2011

The Friday Review: Outland (XBLA, PSN)

review by CJ

So I know that last week's game featured the excessive use of the color black, and I realize that this week’s game does as well. But this one also features red and blue. Actually many of Outland's environment backdrops are very colorful, and all of them gorgeous. This game is mainly a puzzle platformer, with some great combat, varied enemies and seriously epic boss battles. The side scrolling maps are set up similar to games like Castlevania and Metroid. There are co-op aspects to the game, which I was unfortunately unable to try, but the game stands up well enough on its single player, which features a captivating story. The games main mechanic revolves around switching between 2 aspects, Light and Dark, allowing you to pass through dangerous puzzles and fight enemies. Outland also gifts players with useful and fun powers as the game progresses, which increases the intensity of both the puzzle solving and the combat. Throw in some hidden treasures and purchasable upgrades, and you have a fantastic title worth a look from anyone.


- Polished. It's rare to find a game so completely finished. The controls work flawlessly, the difficulty curve is just right, and the game works the way you expect it to. I never encountered a single glitch.

- The little things. Background music, interactive environment, sound effects, the lighting; each of these things add up to make a rich experience, pulling you into the world and making you feel a part of it.

- Epic! From a story that puts the fate of the world in your hands, to intense boss battles, Outland makes you feel like each moment is an important step forward on an epic adventure.


- Backtracking. Returning to previous maps to access areas that were previously unreachable without new powers is acceptable if it is for progression in the game, but I am easily annoyed by using such tactics for grabbing collectables. Finding the hidden items in the game is a part I enjoy, but I get upset when finally find one just to discover that I am unable to collect it because I lack the ability necessary to do so.

SUMMARY: I have had a great time with Outland. At times the combat and platforming is so intense and fast paced that you feel a sense of awe at your ability to flow through it so well. Few games have given me such a sense of connection, as if you, the controller, and character onscreen are one. I’d happily suggest anyone give it a try. Download the trial and see if you can resist paying for the full game.

No comments: