Welcome to the Space Program! You’re the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, a fledgling space program searching for answers in a strange, constantly evolving solar system.
Mysteries of the Solar System... What lurks in the heart of the ominous Dark Bramble? Who built the alien ruins on the Moon? Can the endless time loop be stopped? Answers await you in the most dangerous reaches of space.
A World That Changes Over Time The planets of Outer Wilds are packed with hidden locations that change with the passage of time. Visit an underground city of before it’s swallowed by sand, or explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles beneath your feet. Every secret is guarded by hazardous environments and natural catastrophes.
Grab Your Intergalactic Hiking Gear! Strap on your hiking boots, check your oxygen levels, and get ready to venture into space. Use a variety of unique gadgets to probe your surroundings, track down mysterious signals, decipher ancient alien writing, and roast the perfect marshmallow.
Outer Wilds’ tricky exploration and puzzle solving is definitely an acquired taste. Its very specific brand of active storytelling differs wildly from highly guided open-worlds that many of us think of when we talk about non-linear gameplay. Though it can be confounding at times when events don’t unfold in precisely the right way, the feeling of discovering something new about the story, or following a couple of facts to something totally unexpected on a faraway planet far outweighs those hiccups.
Outer Wilds proves there's still a sense of genuine adventure to be gained from games that commit to a set, fixed structure and design, rather than the kind of sprawling, endless expanses many contemporary titles set out to become. Playing it brought to mind my favorite bits of Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go...except with more of the sun exploding.
There's a twofold joy to Outer Wilds - the thrill of discovery itself, as you slowly decipher the variables that swirl around each not-so-distant world, and of seeing that thrill reflected in a phrase scribbled centuries ago by some castaway alien boffin. It gives the game that feeling of displaced community, of mutual striving across the extinction barrier, you might otherwise associate with the Vigil scene in Mass Effect or feats of translation in the recent, excellent Heaven's Vault. Moreover, the game's pint-sized solar system is full of models of itself, from the star lifecycle models you'll find in your home planet's observatory, to the holographic sandtray projections and swivelling, Stone Henge-scale orreries left behind by the Nomai. It's a setting mesmerised by its own intricacies, and it wants you to share in that delight. Whatever their differences on the subject of the apocalypse, I like to think that both Eisinga and Alta would have enjoyed it.
But all that said, Outer Wilds does what it sets out to do so well that I can give it no higher praise than say it’s a must-have game for any of us interested in outer space and science fiction. It takes the lessons from games before it, mixes in some actual spooky physics, and leans on its handcrafted nature to great impact. While small in scope there’s so much to uncover you will never want it to end.
There’s so much to talk about that most of it is truly best left unsaid, as your path to these discoveries will be very much your own. I hope bigger games take some of Outer Wilds’ design lessons to heart. There’s nothing quite like it right now and there should be.
Ultimately, it’s the planets that make this game what it is. Worlds full of mysteries and anomalies. To me they are proof that there is still no substitute for handcrafting your virtual realms. Outer Wilds has more character in its handful of planetoids than No Man’s Sky had in 70 squinjillion. I have loved my time trekking across the dust or ice of these distant dirtballs, seeing the curvature on the horizon and wondering “what’s over there?” This is a solar system in miniature, full of secrets and marvels. And if there is any reason you are holding out on this because it is an Epic exclusive, I want you to fire that sentiment into the sun. You would be a silly space explorer to miss something this bright and big-hearted.
As someone who loves adventure and puzzle games, Outer Wilds was a match made in heaven. It’s not action-packed, and there’s not crafting or deep survival mechanics like most space games have. Instead, it delivers an engaging mystery that isn’t spoon fed to you. It offers its own unique challenge that I highly recommend to anyone that loves video games or space.
Only played this for a couple of hours but it is glorious. Perfect for playing a couple of loop throughs an evening for me right now, and there always seems to be something to investigate; although I think the way the game handles collating all the threads could be better.