Title: Moving Out
Developer: SMG Studio, Devm Games
Publisher: Team17 Digital
Genre: Indie, Action, Puzzle
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Official Website: Team17 Digital/Moving Out
Release Date: April 28th, 2020
The world is going through a difficult period with coronavirus. Many of us stuck at home are turning to video games as a way to pass the time and as a wonderful form of escapism. For families, multiplayer titles can turn a boring evening into a great one. And if there’s one thing Moving Out truly succeeds in, its fantastic couch multiplayer.
A Brand New Job
The set up for Moving Out is a simple one. But that’s to be expected with a heavier focus on multiplayer. Players control newly hired employees for the moving company Smooth Moves. The purpose of each level is to transport specific pieces of furniture from a house or other location to the moving truck as quickly as possible. Levels start simply before progressing in difficulty by including various obstacles.
While it is a simple set up, it’s also often a funny one. Everything about the game screams, “Saturday Morning Cartoon.” Its presentation is bright and colorful. And it’s packed with jokes that are just cheesy enough to chuckle at. But that makes it a perfect family game. Characters will have funny exchanges before and after each level. For example, after herding chickens from a farm onto the moving truck, my character asked the driver where she learned how to do it so well. She replied, “Nowhere. I just winged it.”
The boss, who is comprised of cardboard boxes, comically doesn’t care about the well-being of his workers. This ties into the level design as he’ll start sending his movers into haunted houses and other trap-laden locations. He’s not the only one with a humorous design. There are plenty of unlockable characters like a unicorn, a character whose head is a potted plant, and one who looks like a Gundam.
Moving Out has a lot in common with publisher Team17’s other zany co-op title, Overcooked. It’s played from an isometric view, co-op requires communication, and it’s all about quickly managing stress as you try to accomplish a task. However, it was developed by a different team, so there are some slight differences.
Your character is a bit slippery to control, but that adds to the wackiness of the physics-based gameplay. You’ll often slam what you’re moving into something else as you rush back to the moving truck. But you’re in no way punished for breaking anything. In fact, jumping through a window is usually a welcome shortcut.
Each level comes with a time limit and the option to earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal depending on how quickly you complete it. You can throw items you’re carrying to save on time, although heavier items require two players to throw. But that all adds to the necessary communication between players. And it becomes even more necessary as the levels grow more elaborate and the obstacles more dangerous. A Frogger inspired level was a particular stand-out.
One is the Loneliest Number
Moving Out is a joy to play with others. Similar to Overcooked, it provides a couch multiplayer experience that isn’t seen as much in the modern era. There may be a fair bit of yelling. But it’s a fun type of stress found in classics like Mario Party. However, it is not nearly as fun to play alone.
It’s still enjoyable, of course, but the game was designed to be played with others. Moving heavier furniture like couches can slow your process down, especially if something gets caught while going through a doorway. You also can’t push heavier furniture, only pull, and you can’t use the second joystick to change which direction your character is facing. I made peace early on with the fact that I wouldn’t be getting any gold medals while playing alone. There is an Assist Mode, however, which allows you to extend the time limits.
Playing solo also makes stacking the furniture (or in some cases, animals) more difficult. You have a finite space in the truck, so it’s smarter to move bigger things first. It’s because of this reason that the factory levels, which use conveyor belts to launch everything into the truck, were some of my favorites.
For the Overachievers
Moving Out goes a bit beyond its main premise with a plethora of additional objectives. Each level has three, though they aren’t revealed until after the level has been completed. These can range from simple to obscure. You may accidentally complete one by not breaking anything or avoiding a specific hazard. But some of them require using a certain item or piece of furniture in an interesting way. For example, using the snowboard, you’re supposed to pack to slide down a snowy hill.
Completing one of these objectives will earn you a token. Earning enough tokens will unlock challenges in the arcade. These are obviously completely optional. But these extra challenges and objectives add an appreciated replayability factor for those looking to test their skills.
Verdict: Moving Out provides a quick-paced, couch multiplayer experience that is often hilarious due to its characters and gameplay. Though it isn’t nearly as fun to play by yourself, it’s perfect for families stuck at home right now. The additional objectives and tougher challenges should keep players coming back for more.
- Fantastic Couch Co-Op
- Delightful Presentation
- Funny Characters/Writing
- Additional Challenges
- Not Nearly As Fun Alone