Written By Mrs Gaming Australia
Moving out is a ridiculous physics based moving simulator that brings new meaning to "couch co-op"! Developed by SMG Studio and DEVM Games and published by Team 17 Digital, Moving out released on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One PlayStation 4 and PC on 28th April 2020.
For anyone who has had to pack up their house and move before, you know the intensity, frustration and chaos that it can often bring. Imagine if whilst packing you could casually smash a second story window and grab your partner or friend to help swing that bed right out to the curb! There is something cathartic about the concept. In reality I don’t like your chances unfortunately, but that is where the game Moving Out has your back. Available on Nintendo Switch, here is your opportunity to become a F.A.R.T (Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician). This light-hearted and humorous game sees you progress through a series of levels and pack up selected items in houses into your removal van – whilst fighting the clock. Your level score, as well as the completion of mystery bonus tasks earns you coins which reveals itself as a way to play games in the neighbourhood arcade. The arcade games are not only tricky but a nice break and change of pace to the main gameplay.
To begin you choose your character; as this was prior to most of the introduction I hadn’t experienced the tongue in cheek of the game, so the characters seemed pretty random. There is only one human character, with all the rest consisting of a dog head, lizard head, toaster head and even a pot plant. Once you start playing the game, with the way the characters run around it does actually work…strangely. Characters can be customised with accessories, dances and costumes which are equally wacky. One option that I did take note of was that each character has a wheelchair user version. Great to see some inclusiveness and I love the idea that a gamer out there is seeing themselves represented in a game, even if a novelty one. The training module at the start is well scaffolded and will suit all players. This is the part of the game that introduces the storyline, which caught me off guard as clever and extremely witty. I just wasn’t expecting the clever engagement tactics based on the quick preview I had watched days prior.
The gameplay loop builds appropriately in difficulty, whilst each level has new house designs that include clever and interesting quirks. Whilst there is an assist mode, I do think that the way the game is designed means that both casual and experienced players can participate almost to an equal level. Being the ‘casual gamer’ of our relationship, I often get frustrated with some games that hubby aces purely because I genuinely think you need to have the ‘gamer gene’ just to know how the ins and outs work. I often say to him, “how did you know to even look up there….it’s a wall….why would I think that it isn’t actually a wall and that you can walk through it”? It comes from a crapload of practice and is just second nature. Moving Out brings us almost back to neutral in some ways. The mystery challenges are a mystery (at least the first time you play the level), and with only a few controls to worry about you can master them quickly…but by master I don’t mean able to walk around without knocking all the picture frames off the wall and smashing that vase on the table.
Furniture requires either one or two people to move and there really is no better bonding experience for a married couple than to move an L shape couch down a hallway, get a dining chair caught underneath halfway only to realise that it doesn’t fit out the front door….cue flashbacks to our real life move in day. Frustration often turned into swearing at pretend inanimate objects which then turned into laughter – when that damn TV just kept on rolling out of the removal truck. You have all these plans to begin with, placing everything in the truck neatly like a well-played game of Tetris, but this soon simply turns into “hey come and help me chuck the fridge on top of the couch” in order to beat the clock. Plus, the boss has confirmed the homeowners paid for insurance. 😉 Cooperation skills are really brought to the surface, especially once paranoia sets in about what could be one of the sometimes-outrageous bonus tasks. I remember one time having to wait to move the fridge because he was off trying to catch a chicken because he was convinced it was going to be one of the bonus tasks. Some of those bonus tasks could be a bit tricky though as they can be in contradiction to another mystery task, therefore there is no way to do both (there’s 3 each round) or other times there is just no way you would have guessed it. I suppose that is a clever way to get people engaged to repeat the round again.
After we finished our first session of the game, my initial thoughts were that it was much much better than what I first assumed that it could possibly be based on the concept. I actually chuckled out loud multiple times both at the narrative and at our game play. I did start to think about how often I would actually play it but after rewatching the launch and promo clips of the game, I can see what kinds of levels and chaos are to come and I know that it is going to bring more laughter. One wish that I have is that there would be an online mode. Especially with the current conditions, I know a few friends that I would love to play with, and I think the extra people would bring in more variables which ramps up the chaos. Plus the characters can dish out a warranted slap here or there, just in case you encounter a haunted house and run in to any ghosts, or a friend that you need to slap to kick in to gear and leave the chicken to help move the damn fridge!
Overall, this is a fun simple game that I would recommend for group play. I haven’t had a go solo as yet, but I think that it would be an interesting way to pass the time. Anyone with a competitive side would be able to delve in and set the task for beating your personal best score.