Outland ReviewJason Leyanna
Outland is a 2D platformer developed by Housemarque and published by Ubisoft for the PlayStation Network. It is also available on the Xbox Live Arcade. The main character is suffering from visions and seeks out a Shawman. The Shawman reveals that there is a conflict and the world is split between light and darkness. The protagonist can switch between red and blue to defeat foes of both colors as well as traverse through varied environments. The player finds out that he is the one who must stop it and the only one capable.
The single-player mode consists of five levels with bosses at the end of each. You must switch your character between the colors red and blue to remain unscathed by obstacles and to vanquish foes. You can only pass through obstacles of the same color as you without being damaged. You have to be the opposite color as enemies or you will be unable to defeat them. Enemies consist of demented spiders and other creatures, warriors (some of which are more than twice your size), in addition to inanimate objects spurting out harmful colors. Once you kill some enemies or break certain objects, coins (to collect) or hearts will appear (to increase your health). With each progression the number of moves at your disposal will incrementally increase. The boss battles are grandiose and take some a few play-throughs to nail down a solid strategy. The single-player provides just enough entertainment and frustration to motivate you to beat your way through the game. Outland can be challenging at times but not so hard that someone can't figure out after playing through the checkpoints a few times.
The online multiplayer is not as entertaining as the solo option, unfortunately. You play with others and attempt to race through the levels. It is hard to get through if your allies have different skill levels or have not completed as much of the game. I recommend sticking with the single-player option.
Graphically, Outland is very artistic and aesthetically pleasing. The colors of the world are bright and vibrant. The sounds and background music add feelings of tension and triumph at the appropriate times. The levels are of a decent size and are split into sub-sections. Outland includes periodic save-points to ease potential frustration. The game only takes a few hours from start to finish but also has a low price compared to traditional PlayStation 3 titles.
Outland is a strategic and artistic platformer that is pleasant on the eyes and fun to play. It is definitely worth picking up for its miniscule price and single-player action. If you are looking primarily for multi-player action, Outland would not be the best choice, but the singleplayer mode more than makes up for the deficiency. Though, if you are a fan of platformers, do yourself a favor and give Outland a playthrough. The game is currently available for $10 on the PlayStation Network or 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Arcade.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.