Out There Pros:
- Mesmerizing animated graphic novel aesthetic
- Simple tap and drag controls
- Ethereal and relaxing soundtrack
- Constant risk/reward decision-making mechanic is exciting
- GameCenter integration for a global leaderboard and dozens of achievements to earn
Out There Cons:
- Frequent deaths can be frustrating
Out There finds you aboard a derelict spacecraft, waking from cryogenic sleep and discovering that you are far from home with limited supplies and no one around to hear you scream. Your ship requires fuel, oxygen, and iron to move you through star fields, provide a breathable environment, and shelter you from the dangers of space. Storage space for these elements, additional elements, and cool tech is at a premium, forcing you to balance what you need with what you may want to keep on hand for future use. Pretty much every decision (probing, landing, drilling, taking off, etc.) will cost you portions of fuel and oxygen, while the spoils may or may not outweigh those costs. Random events may suddenly and significantly decrease your supplies, tech may get damaged and require repair, or you might meet up with alien life forms that can hinder or help if you can decipher their gobbledygook language to determine how best to interact without offending. Moving between planets and stars is as easy as tapping and confirming that the cost of the required elements is an acceptable trade-off. We found that we died early and often, but each death seemed to teach us something that could be applied in subsequent playthroughs to make better decisions and take calculated risks. We can’t seem to get past the first half-dozen stars, but we don’t mind yet because the presentation is so enjoyable.
Graphically, the art style is gorgeous, and the animated portions are mesmerizing. The storyline is offered via blocks of text, which tends to be boring in most games. Out There’s storyline is intriguing, however, and you’ll need to read through it to learn why you are being rewarded with certain items or punished by having precious resources taken away. It’s all plausible and the story varies nicely each time you play, even though the star/planet configurations don’t appear to be randomized. The soundtrack also has an ethereal and relaxing quality that reinforces the loneliness of your character and the lack of anything pushing you toward faster gameplay. Decisions can be mulled over as long as necessary. The controls require you to tap on destinations or tap buttons to make decisions. You’ll also need to drag resources from your cargo bay to the maintenance pods to apply them. It is responsive and buttons are large enough to avoid mis-taps.
Replay value is very good, as each playthrough requires new on-the-fly strategies and difficult decisions that will lead to greatly different outcomes. We found it both exciting and relaxing at the same time, and nabbing a much-needed element, squeaking by with minimal fuel, or having a random event save your bacon can be oddly exhilarating. GameCenter integration provides a global leaderboard to compare best scores and 48 achievements to earn. A universal app for $3.99, Out There is a 4.5-Dimple adventure.