A space-faring, roguelike game with comic-style graphics where you have to warp through the stars to reach a final destination. FTL for the phone. There… the review on Out There is done.
Well, not quite. Out There, while seemingly being of the same mold as FTL, does carry itself on the unique parts alone. Unlike FTL, there’s no combat. It has been replaced by a strong focus on survival. Your ship has fuel, life support and hull integrity, each requiring hydrogen/helium, oxygen and iron respectively. Rather than beefing up your ship with the best weapons, you install compents that allow you to travel more efficently, shield your hull, drill deeper and probe for fuel in great quantities. Every action consumes these resources, including gathering the resources themselves. Travelling to a new system will cost fuel and oxygen, descending to a planet will cost the same, plus hull integrity if it’s a gas giant. Drilling and probing also cost fuel as does taking off. Out There is a game of balance.
As you progress, you acquire new technologies which can upgrade your ships (for the right costs in materials), encounter aliens and can discover new ships to fly. The way they deal with aliens is interesting as in each playthrough, you start off knowing none of the language, but gradually learn more and more words until you can start to give the correct responses to their questions.
Out There does have some random elements which can be a bit frustrating and a little brutal at times. For no reason, you might suffer half your hull loss when you enter a new system or some space creature suddenly decides to perform unspeakable acts on your ship. But then again, the nature of roguelike games is to have an element of randomnesss, for good or worse. My only real criticism for this game is that constantly dying and starting again makes it feel like you’re not progressing… ever. Many of the roguelike games that I’ve come to play and enjoy such as Hand of Fate, FTL and Rogue Legacy have employed systems that allow carry-over between games, even if it’s just unlockables. I think that roguelike games embracing overall progress is somewhat responsible for their resurgence.
Finally, I will say that if you were to liken Out There to popular sci-fi, it would be like Lost in Space or Farscape. You explore the weird and wonderful, as opposed to blowing it up.
Out There is currently available on their website for $3.99 and on special on the Amazon App Store, iTunes App Store and Google Play Store for $1.99.