Outland: Jump, run and rage
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
I snagged this game a long time ago as a free game; I was intrigued by the beautiful art style and seeming simple but fun game play, now that I have played I would like to give some thoughts on it
The story is not much; it does have a very mystical atmosphere with the feel of a fairy tale. You play as a lone hero trying to save reality from being torn apart by two god-like sisters representing life and death (blue and red), The player has to go though a series of bosses that were part of the grand scheme of life but now are mad shells of their former selves. There is feeling of Dark Souls about this that I do like, it is not done as well as From Software’s storytelling but it does the job for the most part.
Outland does platforming quite well, despite a rocky start with learning the controls as they are very sensitive to the smallest movement of the analog stick (played on controller) and it has an annoying habit of not doing want I want the game to do even though I made sure I did the right movements. But the game mechanic of changing colours to make certain platforms appear, make beams of red or blue energy not damage you or allow you to damage enemies that are of the opposite colour to you is very interesting and is used well for the most part. The fact that you can change it on the fly allows some great puzzles and combat even if the combat itself is rather basic. The simple act of changing colours makes the combat just that little bit more deep and fun to use.
However the game has its frustrations and strange difficulty spikes that make Outland not my favourites. I really hate the mini bosses as there is no real pattern to killing them, if they get to certain amount of health they will just spam attacks that do not allow you the opening to hit them as they are only vulnerable when they are walking towards you or have their weak spot open, none of which are there for you if they get stuck in repeating the same attacks again and again. You are gambling on the AI to decide what happens next and it leads to a lot of frustrating fights because their health gets restored if you go too far from them. But the final straw for me was the final boss fight which had such a massive spike which lead me to die so many times trying to kill it. I did not kill it in the end because I was not having fun, I hated that boss fight and hated all the time spent trying to kill that boss. The frame rate is unstable, with sudden jumps in frame rate and a total slowdown to almost twenty frames in the first snow level for no good reason. Please keep in mind that I have been able to run Witcher 3 and Elder scrolls online with no issue yet this less than a gig game somehow could not keep a constant frame rate.
The graphics and art style are amazing; it has deep roots in Japanese mythology and looks like a Japanese art book. The use of blue and reds as prominent colours make it look fantastic as well as giving the game its own identity. I love this art style, plain and simple.
(All screenshots are taken from the Ubisoft page)
Outland is a good game that is marred with some very annoying game play and performance issues that ruined what could have been an amazing game. I hate that final boss fight. I would recommend it for the time leading up to the final boss fight, if you want to buy this then please be warned...
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