Before we start, if you have any interest in this game at all, I’d recommend that you pick it up rather than reading any of this review.
Need more convincing?
- Intriguing universe full of fun characters
- Beautiful aesthetics and atmosphere
- Difficulty that respects the player
- Sloppy mouse and keyboard controls
- An acquired taste that won’t be for everyone
The game starts with the player sitting by a campfire, toasting some marshmallows, and learning that they’re about to head into space. After some brief (and optional) tutorials, you quickly discover that the solar system repeatedly gets destroyed by the sun going supernova after 22 minutes…
You reawaken at the campfire every time and go straight back to exploring. While this might sound a bit annoying, the solar system is so intriguing and full of wonderful characters that you’ll be itching to get back out there.
Fortunately for you, your knowledge persists after each “death” and while nobody else appears to be aware that they just died, both you and the ship’s log still remember everything.
There’s also a beautiful world and solar system to explore and it feels like there’s more life in every square inch of this game than there is across the open worlds of some much larger AAA titles.
Luckily for the player, the game isn’t condescending, either. The instructions are vague enough that they allow you to explore at your leisure. You’ll be told about a landmark on a particular planet rather than a way point on a mini map and finding the exact location is up to you.
I do have to say that Outer Wilds definitely won’t be for everyone because of its pedestrian pacing. While the sun going supernova will encourage you to go do something, you won’t be rushing around like you’re playing Doom.
I should also warn you that the mouse and keyboard controls aren’t great; you can see why the developers are keen to tell you that it was designed for use with a controller. If you’ve picked up Outer Wilds on PC and don’t have a controller, get one before you dismiss this game entirely.
If none of the above is of any interest to you, then Outer Wilds probably won’t be for you. However, if you felt games like No Man’s Sky lack charm, Outer Wilds has it in spades and you can very quickly get lost in it.
Outer Wilds is joyful adventure and exploration at its purest; no way point markers, fetch quests, or microtransactions.
While the folksy solar system in Outer Wilds might seem quite small when you first blast off, there’s so much more to this game than meets the eye!