Upbeat 80s-style synth provides a nice, feel-good soundtrack as you gambol around the game's map, travelling across the town of Packmore in your truck.
Pleasingly bright and breezy, Moving Out looks suitably welcoming, its colourful art style concealing a sometimes fiendish logistical challenge.
Hold the left trigger to grab an item, hold X to lob it... You can jump, highlight what you need to shift at the touch of a button – it's nice and simple, pick up and play stuff.
Thirty levels with a nice bit of replay value, and twenty hard-to-unlock bonus levels. There's a wee bit of repetition, but this is nonetheless a good, wholesome slab of co-op fun.
Some neat, creative tasks to complete alongside the requisite lump of grisly grinding. Achieving every single gold medal and every level objective won't come easy.
April 23, 2020
Moving house is awful. It's stressful, things get broken, in all probability you end up throwing your back out, and then you're sat with piles of boxes to unpack. Moving Out has but one of these problems – it's stressful, pitting you against a stringent time limit as you race to clear furniture out of a house and load it into your truck. The devil is in the simplicity of the concept, much like Overcooked (also published by Team17), and what follows is unadulterated, beautiful co-op mayhem.
Initially, it's all straightforward enough. You start out as a new member of the Smooth Moves removals company, as a fully-fledged F.A.R.T (Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician), shifting boxes, TVs, and perhaps the odd slightly awkward sofa. Tackling things solo means heavy objects become lighter so you can drag them to your truck, while playing in couch co-op, coordination is required to lift larger, more cumbersome items together. And I'm sure you can imagine the arguments and shouting that inevitably ensues.
Not unlike Overcooked – which is going to be mentioned a few times here, being the closest thing to Moving Out – each and every level has its own set of challenges, whether it's squeezing a bed through a narrow doorway, ensuring fragile items remain intact, or fending off the advances of an aggressive goose while shimmying an arcade cabinet or a pinball machine down a flight of stairs. Moving Out isn't quite as chaotic as co-op stablemate Overcooked, but it's not far off.
Obstacles like puddles of grease; tight thoroughfares; bodies of water, like ponds (and even a river during one level in a delicious nod to arcade classic Frogger); and doorways operated by switches and levers will also keep you on your toes. It's not all just dragging couches and refrigerators around, y'know – you can throw boxes and stuff around too. Moving Out can actually be rather tricky at times, its ticking clock inducing panic as you strive to stack your truck in the quickest, most efficient way possible.
Introducing up to four players only heightens the anarchy, as you attempt to assign one another a specific job to do, which invariably leads to you all bumping into each other – and, subsequently, some hastily exchanged, not particularly good-natured swear words. Across dozens of story levels – which, unsurprisingly, grow increasingly outlandish – Moving Out can grow ever so slightly tiresome, although developers SMG Studio and DevM Games have done their level best to provide some variation as things progress. You'll soon be moving sheep, chickens, or possessed chairs, while avoiding ghosts or rakes that flip up and smack you in the face (paging Sideshow Bob).
There's an over-reliance on replaying levels, however, in a slightly cynical fashion. Bonus objectives – of which there are three for each level, totalling 90 – are only revealed upon completing the level, and some can't be bested in a single run. One task might involve smashing every pane of glass in a level, while another will ask that you tread carefully and not break the glass. Then there's the matter of beating all of the gold medal times, which are especially tight for solo players. Well-coordinated co-op play is essential for bagging all of those gold times.
Completing optional objectives unlocks Arcade levels, which aren't particularly enjoyable, so the impetus to tackle them is minimal. Attaining gold medals, meanwhile, grants access to 'Memory' levels, enabling you to replay story interstitial scenes or bonus stages. Nabbing gold medals for all 30 story levels, completing all 90 objectives, is something of a tall order, though, so only the truly dedicated will see all twenty extra levels. Annoyingly, in a weird oversight, you can't call up objectives via the pause menu, so if you forget what they are, you're screwed.
Moving Out is presented in a breezy, jaunty fashion, its knowing ‘80s style recalling cheesy training videos you may have watched in an office or at school. It's not without its own endearing qualities, then, characters including a bug-eyed chameleon, a toaster-headed chap, a dog in a space helmet, a pirate cat in a wheelchair, a unicorn, and a fella with a cracked terracotta plant pot for a head. If you like, you can even mix and match bits to make your own weird character.
Colourful and gleefully chunky, Moving Out is an inviting, though somewhat tricky, party game that's also rather satisfying when played alone. Obviously, it's best enjoyed with friends, if you can let the unavoidable ructions slide when playing together. Repetition can creep in on some levels, but overall this is an inventive, often deliriously fun game that will amply fill an Overcooked-shaped co-op hole in your life. Perhaps a little more variety might have been welcome, like an extra mode or two, but Moving Out is a perfect way to while away a social gathering (maybe wait until after the lockdown before doing that) with friends and enemies alike. Moving house might be crap, then, but Moving Out certainly isn't.