An instant platformer classic! Not a game to be missed by avid gamers who enjoy 2-D side scrollers with combat!
In today's market, many different types of genres of games are rampant everywhere. Even though many of these games are great on their own, they often fall short to some of the most confounding reasons. I am going out on a limb here, but two major problems that I have noticed are the complexity to these games and, ironically, the story. Triple A game developer oft pour too much effort into the story or depth to a game. Be that these are great attributes to a game they, unfortunately, have become a platitude. Novel ideas are not being entertained, but that is not to say that some old concepts and game elements can't be resurrected and refined, right?
Outland is an eye-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing platformer that involves combat and manipulation over enemies and puzzles with the "Dark/Light" game mechanic. Outland brings nothing new to the plate and it is its simplicity and depth into its simplicity that truly makes it stand out from the rest. Basic combat and 2-D platforming are essentially what Outland is comprised of. (Of course, there are many visual elements added in to keep it fresh and up to today's standards of video games). If you take the aforementioned and put it together with surreal, beautiful backgrounds, tight controls, vibrant and contrasting colors and enemy/platforming puzzles, you get Outland.
The game starts you off with only the ability to jump and soon you unlock your sword which has a necessary move set. As you progress further, the story unfurls, you unlock new abilities, you find secrets and the types of enemies variegate and the puzzles become increasingly difficult. Now before I continue any further, the Dark/Light mechanic needs to be explained. The games story helps supplement and explain the reason behind this gameplay element. By the time you've grasped a solid understanding of how Outland works, both Light and Dark will be unlocked. The main character can switch between these two states and for whatever state he is in, his environment and enemies interact with him differently. For instance, in order to defeat an enemy who is of the Dark alignment, the player must switch to the opposing alignment (Light) in order to damage his foe. Likewise, if the foe fired any projectiles of their alignment to you, the player nullifies it if he/she is of the same alignment. This feature adds remarkable depth to the puzzles in the game. Not only can outside hazards and enemies assault you with alignment specific attacks, but even the platforms the main character needs to jump/wall jump/etc onto to proceed are alignment specific. With said gameplay elements the player is expected to trump these puzzles and think critically all the while having to defend his/herself against spiders, spikes, soldiers, Dark/Light beams, and Large mace-wielding warriors.
Once the player has found the guardian key for the area, a boss battle is to be expected. All the boss battles have been wonderfully implemented and no two boss battles ever feel the same. A lot of time and thought has been put into these monstrous foes. For the abilities the player has unlocked in the area they completed, the bosses you face incorporate them into the fight. Some mastery of the all the abilities the player learns is tested in each boss battle, respectively--so it's not solely based on how well the player has grasped the combat.
Outland is an elegant game that always has you on your feet or pondering wistfully on how to proceed next. For those who have deeply enjoyed old combat oriented platformers, Outland is verily a game that will never have you feeling unrequited. The only caveat to the game is its length. Having said that, for the price it is sold for, it is doubly, completely worth it in my own opinion. Indeed, a game not for anyone to miss--casual gamers welcomed too!
-Basic 2-D platformer that uses its simplicity to make difficult puzzles with.
-Combat oriented with boss battles also.
-Supplements gameplay with beautiful backgrounds, character design, music, and bright vibrant and contrasting colors.
-The Dark/Light game mechanic adds a new dimension to puzzles and combat.
-All the boss battles are unique.
-Some collectibles and secrets
-Very tight controls
-Relatively vague yet well-delivered story that lets the player construe it in his or her own way.
-Game can be completed in about 6-7 hours.
-No local co-op
-Very little replay value
-Secrets most only unlock conceptual art (this is a pro for me--con for many others however.)