Previews// Outland

Posted 29 Mar 2011 15:07 by
I first encountered Outland at the last knockings of PAX Prime 2010. I managed to snatch five minutes with it before the show floor closed down and regretted not searching it out sooner. Sadly that is the bane of any expo attendee, especially at PAX where there is such an in inordinate amount of stuff see and do that you can never fit everything in over a weekend.

Be that as it may, I was delighted to see it once again, at PAX East 2011, only this time it was in a finished state! The game is a side scrolling action adventure game that boasts a graphical style that is similar to games like Patapon or Limbo in that it looks like shadow puppet show, only a great deal more fluid.

The player takes the role of a pre-destined hero who must stop the dual deity known as 'The Sisters' from breaking free of a prison they have been trapped in by the other gods.

The game's protagonist runs and jumps in a similar style to the little ninjas in N+. While I stated above that the graphical presentation looks like a shadow puppet show, it soon becomes clear that there is far more depth to the sprites within the game. This gives them a more Prince of Persia/Flashback feel to them.

A key gameplay component is the shifting of states between red and blue. This has an affect on the creatures the player attacks as well as the environmental hazards they encounter in the game world. The key is knowing what state to be in depending on what you're facing. If it's a creature, then it is required to switch to the opposing colour of the creature in order to inflict damage upon it. If however it is a pulsing force field then the player must ensure their colour state matches that of the force field. Otherwise they suffer damage that may kill them. If any of this sounds familiar to you then it may be because you're a fan of Ikaruga, the vertical shoot'em up by Treasure. This game also had a similar mechanic, in that you had to change from white to black shields to defend against similarly coloured bullets.

Other elements that are part and parcel of action adventures are the presences of collectables and health boosts. The latter is very much needed as the game is not particularly forgiving to those with two left thumbs! In other words; if you're not a fan of Super Meat Boy/'Splosion Man/Prince of Persia/Nyx's Quest et al then you may want to skip Outland as it won't make you a convert for demanding platformers.

For the rest of us who do have a penchant for such titles it is clear from the time I spent with the game that it's certainly one to at least consider. Granted one should wait for full reviews, but I for one will be keeping a close eye on this title.
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