REVIEW: Outer Wilds is Charming and Deep

Setup: Xbox One
Mobius Digital
Annapurna Interactive
Original Release Date: 

I’m a sucker for good lore. If a game has taken the time to tell a rich story with a variety of branching paths for me to explore and the means to do so, I’ll give it as much of my time as it needs. Sometimes this results in a game like Destiny, where I have to go on endless fetch quests to get a snippet of juicy dialogue or background on a given alien species. Other times, it results in a game like Outer Wilds, an indie game with an adorable aesthetic, heart-rending soundtrack and a story that unfolds in such a satisfying way that you want to keep coming back for more. Also, fun fact, Outer Wilds’ studio was founded by Masi Oka, or Hiro from Heroes. That’s neat as hell!

The conceit of Outer Wilds is pretty simple. You’re a Hearthian, a four-eyed biped with a fondness for folksiness that inhabits the planet Timber Hearth. You’re also a member of Outer Wilds Ventures, the one-and-only spaceflight organization on the planet, and today is the day you finally get to join your comrades in space. At the beginning your main task is to explore your home village, talk to the other inhabitants, and learn how to play the game. One villager, for example, has a model ship to play with so you can learn spaceflight controls. Another villager, your coach, has set up a spacesuit and a satellite down in a “Zero-G mine” for you to practice space walking and ship maintenance. At the top of the village you meet Hornfels, one of the founders of Outer Wilds Ventures, who gives you the launch codes to the ship. You’re now ready to blast off.

Okay, so since describing any more of this game is going to require me to talk spoilers and this is a game where spoilers might change your experience of the game, I’m gonna give you the bottom line: I love Outer Wilds and I think you should play it. If you want to keep reading, go for it. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by.

9. Amazing.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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Published by Trevor Hultner

Hi! I’m a writer. Follow me on Twitter, @noescapevg and @illicitpopsicle.

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