So, I tend to try and play most games handheld, mainly because it just feels more comfortable to me. Also because someone else usually wants the TV. However Moving Out by SMG Studios changed all of that.
For two days solid the Switch has been embedded in the dock and played on the big screen, as we have hammered Moving Out as a family. Having recently played Totally Reliable Delivery Service, I was a little concerned about playing another ‘LOL random’ type of game.
What I got with Moving Out was something much more than that. This is anything but random, as each level you play feels lovingly crafted to bring you the best experience possible. An early tutorial sets the tone wonderfully, giving you a glimpse of both the off-beat humour and the clever mechanics.
It is a fun intro that lets you discover how the game works both in solo and co-op. It isn’t just a slow plodding way of explaining the game, it flows and sets you up perfectly. Honestly, one of the most streamlined and playable tutorials I have seen.
I dived into Moving Out solo to start with and whilst it was fun enough. Being very intuitive to play and adaptable for solo players, I knew almost instantly that I wanted to play this co-op. But before I get to the whys and wheres, I feel I need to really praise the design here.
For a game to produce a solo and co-op mode that you can jump back and forth from with such ease and with compromising the feel it was going for, is so good to see. This isn’t just a co-op game with a solo option tacked on. Nor it it a solo game with co-op options. It is a game that has been designed from the ground up to work with both and it shows.
So if that is the case, why did I play this almost exclusively in co-op? Namely because this brought us together as a family with a video game in a way none others have for ages. We are talking Mario Kart levels of family fun. Let me be clear though, it wasn’t all just joy and fun…
Oh no, no it wasn’t. There were arguments and name-calling amongst the laughing and joy. We’d all pick up the solo items and throw those on the moving truck, but when it came to moving sofas, beds, kitchen appliances and more. Well, we made the Chuckle Brothers look organised and professional. Not even a ‘To me, to you’ would work.
“Oh and which idiot decided to put the small bits there first?”.
“Yeah, that’d be you Dad!”
We have certainly discovered that we aren’t going into the house removals game any time soon in real life. Listen, there was no nastiness and everything was in jest, because Moving Out hits the right notes time and time and time again.
What we found out, was that we actually sucked at the game. Either scraping a medal, or failing completely. Now that obviously isn’t my fault. I am a seasoned gamer, so it must be the kids. Yeah that’s it, the kids! Unlike many games which want to shame you into not being good, Moving Out takes a different approach.
It includes an ‘Assist Mode’ which lets you tinker with all kinds of options to make the game fun to play for everyone. What punishments are there for using this? Not one! That’s correct, the developers stated how they wanted the game to be accessible by all and allow anyone to be able to finish it. They kept that promise without compromising what makes it so much fun with the default options too.
This isn’t me saying that all games should have this, but it shows that when it is offered by the right game, it brings it from being a very good experience, to an amazing one. I was even able to have my 3 year old join in, such were the options available. Granted she didn’t help much with the moving, but she still played.
The idea is simple, get the items from the house to the moving truck. Do this however you need to do it, just make sure it all gets on there. Time is the main focus (of sorts), so you can launch a box through a window to the truck. Partner up and throw a sofa. Pile it all in and not worry about breaking it all.
There are some bonus objective and the completionist in you might want to try those too, but if you don’t… then it really doesn’t matter.
!!Topical commentary alert!!
Whilst we are locked down due to Covid-19, there have been many stresses whilst being home. There isn’t really anywhere physical to escape to. So when something comes along that brings so much joy, then it should be celebrated. Moving Out is just that something.
I could be cynical and talk about how there isn’t much replay value on the whole, which would be true at any other time. I’d have played this mainly on my own and maybe given the co-op a brief look. Talked about how it does a decent job, but moved on quickly. Yet, as a family we will be adding this to our weekly itinerary. We’ll make sure we all sit down together, grab a pro controller (for me, because well… my choice) and then dish out the Joycons so we can have a laugh and forget the world for half an hour or so.
I have ADHD, my son has ADHD and my daughter… yeah, she’ll be diagnosed too. So it’s not often we can sit down and enjoy games together for a prolonged period of time. One of us well get stressed out, or another will get bored. So Moving Out offers just enough variety in short bursts to be ideal for us.
I don’t believe in fate. But it can’t just be a coincidence that Moving Out came into our lives at almost the perfect moment. Thank you SMG Studios and Team17!
Code provided by Team17 for review purposes.