Outland is a 2D platformer puzzle game that hit Xbox LIVE on April 27th, and the Playstation Network on June 14th (it was scheduled for an April 27th PSN launch as well, but the PSN outage prevented that from happening). It’s developed by Finnish studio Housemarque, who also developed two of the PSN Welcome Back games Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation, and published by Ubisoft.
I’ve really enjoyed playing both Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation since getting them for free in the Welcome Back program, and that made me excited for Outland to hit PSN. I had already seen videos and read reviews back when it first hit Xbox LIVE and was intrigued by it, sadly before Housemarque was even on my radar. Immediately after the Playstation Store updated on Tuesday, I downloaded the demo.
The demo gives a nice taste of what the game has to offer in regards to its Light and Dark energy and toggling between the two. Friday I got around to adding some funds to my wallet (Amazon PSN cards delivered instantly, no credit card for PSN), and purchased Outland for $9.99. Right now I am on the second boss battle, and I think there’s five total. Here’s my quick thoughts on Outland:
As a fan of 2D platformers, I am loving it so far. It’s definitely a challenge, as these types of games should be. It doesn’t seem hard in the very beginning, but once you unlock the Light and Dark powers and start having to quickly switch between the two to shield yourself from the energy coming at you, you have to beginning paying attention and staying on your toes.
I’ve been in some rough spots already; the kind that makes you sit back and examine the situation to determine the best course. I give Housemarque a lot of praise here: this is a masterfully crafted platforming game that requires quick reaction time and some thinking. If not for the generous checkpoints and health pickups, this would be completely old school in terms of difficulty (and that’s a good thing).
The enemies are starting to vary some and there’s been some really clever stuff implemented (like having to hit a bomb with your sword to knock it around a room to blow open a path way) that, combined with the quick reaction and paying attention that is required, has yet to give way to boredom. Check out this video to seem some gameplay, although it doesn’t show some of the more insane/difficult sections:
I’m on the second boss now, and I’ve died a couple of times. It’s not exactly easy, but it’s not frustratingly hard either. I died because I took my eye off the screen for a split second and the boss did something new that I wasn’t expecting. Once I complete the game, whenever that may be, I’ll be posting a full review that will be a lot more in depth than this brief impressions piece. My early recommendation is to purchase this soon. It’s only $9.99 and the gameplay is great. Might be the best 2D platforming that I’ve seen in a while (and that includes the likes of Donkey Kong Country Returns, which was great).