The market for wacky party games is booming right now with new ones popping up rather often, often to great success. The brand-spankin' new Devm Games and SMG Studio collaborative project is the latest physics-based outing to hit store shelves and if our seal of approval was its sole measurement for success, the charming yet intense Moving Out would be at the top of the ladder of success.
In Moving Out, you'll be living life as a rookie mover for the third-best moving company in the city of Packmore, trying to make a living in what's clearly a very competitive industry in the region. The company you're set to work for doesn't discriminate one bit in regards to who or what they choose to hire, as you can choose to play as a regular human, a flower pot with eyes, a body with a toaster for a head - in Packmore you can be whoever or whatever you want to be. The developer even has customisation options at the ready to make everyone feel seen, such as the option to have one's mover zoom around in a badass wheelchair and picking the colour of a mover's skin.
Once you (and your friends, should you decide to play the game in co-op) have your character all customised and ready to go, you go through a quick tutorial level that will grant you your official license to practice the art of moving, bestowing upon you the grand title of Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician, or F.A.R.T. for short. We decided to hop into the adventure as a co-op duo consisting of a dog wearing a cone of shame and a body with a toaster for a head which, in hindsight, was an exceptional choice.
When we had finished the tutorial level, the town of Packmore was laid out in front of us and we had the option to either go back and do the tutorial again or move on to the other mission available on the map, which has a new task added to it each time you finish a level. These levels differ quite a bit from each other but the core gameplay stays the same. Scope out the location, hold Y on the controller to see what needs to be moved, pick those items up and take them all to your truck, and then get out of there as fast as you can.
You pick up each item by holding the right trigger and then dragging it behind you (if you're solo or there's tandem-lifting if you're playing with a friend) through snug corridors or flinging it through a nearby window. There's really not much more to it than that at first. You pick stuff up, you rush it to your van, and then you move on. However, the further you get in the campaign, the crazier the contracts get. Get ready to take on a job at a ski lodge with ski slopes you'll glide down mid-move and various haunted locations where ghosts scare you to death unless you slap them out of your way using X.
If you've played Overcooked, you'll know what we mean when we say that every feature of the game escalates the further you get into it. Moving Out gets so intense, so crazy and so hilariously stressful once you're a few levels in, especially if one's playing with a friend since the co-operation needed never works as planned. We found ourselves screaming and laughing more times than we can count simply because of the fact that our characters seemed to never be on the same page, which offered some phenomenal scenes of comedy on-screen.
Each level, apart from having a different layout and contents than the one before it, also has unique challenges one can choose to complete. These challenges can be anything from "don't mess up the artwork" or "don't break any windows" to "deliver the goose" or "don't use the stairs". None of these challenges are needed to proceed in the game but are more like extra bits of content for those wishing to put their moving skills to the ultimate test on each level. That's not forgetting the fact that you have to stack all the furniture into your tiny van, which is a challenge in itself.
On top of this, each level has a timer, and your goal is to complete the level as fast as possible, making the extra challenges - you guessed it - even more challenging. There are three tiers on each timer, granting you a bronze, silver or gold medal. We, of course, tried getting gold medals on all levels while completing all optional challenges at the same time. This proved to be incredibly tough on some levels and actually impossible on others which had challenges posing as opposites, such as "don't break the windows" and "break all windows". Thankfully, the completed challenges stack, so if you've finished one, you won't need to do it again.
Should you have a hard time, Moving Out is also exceptionally accessible, offering plenty of options in regards to both gameplay and visuals, making it easier to pick up for anyone wanting to do so. This includes options to make the game easier by adding some extra time on each map, skipping levels if failed, making two-player items (i.e. items needing to be carried by two players) lighter and therefore easier to carry, and even adding a visual filter or changing the interface for those with dyslexia.
Moving Out truly is a game for everyone and even though it offers a challenge, it's a customisable one. It's a hoot and playing with friends and family is sure to bring lots of laughter. That said, however, we did run into some issues that were hard to look past. For one, we actually had our save file completely wiped once after having gone through 43% of the game, which was incredibly frustrating (this happened only once though) and we also found that the game would occasionally crash. Sure, we just found two issues with an otherwise lovely game, but one of those issues was rather severe.
Apart from that, we had an absolutely grand time with Moving Out, both in solo mode and in co-op with friends. The game is fun, it's challenging but fair, and it's well designed in terms of both visuals and audio - it has the whole package. We'll be moving up the F.A.R.T. professional ladder for as long as it'll let us.
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