Outer Wilds Review


– [Daemon] Discovery
is a difficult sensation to legitimately simulate in a video game. Countless worlds smother us with lore, giving us the opportunity
to understand them better. But that’s usually optional,
so it often feels superficial. Outerwilds, a space exploration sim laced with puzzles and a mystery story, sidesteps that problem by
putting the storytelling that normally litters the
background of most games front and center. By turning lore into a puzzle
and a means for progress, it makes learning about
these worlds feel vital. As an anthropologist caught
in a Majora’s Mask-style time loop, you must study an ancient race that once lived in your solar system to figure out how to move time forward. Solving your problem means
untangling an interplanetary web of alien texts and technology spread across the solar
system’s five planets and other key places. The simple premise gives way
to the interesting story, or stories, really, you
uncover in your travels. The aliens, like Metroid’s Chozo
or Mass Effect’s Protheans, seem unknowable at first glance, but become relatable as
you learn more about them. Exploration is the
centerpiece of Outer Wilds. Revealing the whole story is daunting, but once you set out on your expedition, things start to fall into place. You do not find gear, and
there are no clear-cut missions spelled out for you to perform. You simply travel to new
places, find alien ruins, and read as much as you can. Each piece of information you find gives you more information, pointing you towards another clue. (ethereal pad) This is where the time loop
mechanic really shines. By breaking things down
into 22-minute adventures before each reset, Outer Wilds forces you to explore
each world piece by piece. Not only does that make a
big task feel attainable, it gives you the freedom to
breathe and take in the sights. You do get a few pointers. For instance, important
details are highlighted and stored in a log on your ship, but it’s on you to put
the pieces together. This can make it difficult
to track your progress, as it isn’t always clear
what clues you need to reach the next key moment. The ambiguity gives way
to big rewards though. Figuring out how each world works, solving a puzzle or
discovering a secret entrance, feels like a genuine eureka moment. Each of the five planets you search serves up a unique look and feel, as well as a mechanic concept
that create natural puzzles out of getting from point A to point B. From the emerald seas of Giant’s Deep, whose sky-high whirlpools
can pull islands into orbit, to Brittle Hollow, a dying planet with a
black hole at its core, each place feels unique
and meticulously crafted. The time loop also plays an important role in traveling the world
and solving puzzles. Certain areas only become
accessible at specific moments, so visiting the same
place at different points can yield different results. Stumbling into the right
place at the right time leads to some of the best discoveries. Each planet has the capacity
to truly surprise you, even after you thought you
figured everything out. The ability to make
discoveries in any order has its drawbacks though. No one is going to tell you
if you’re missing something, which can make things
complicated and frustrating. If you find facts out of order, or approach a ruins from
the wrong direction, certain tasks may seem impossible. It’s usually easy to look
around and find what you missed, but other times, especially
in late-game locations, where entrances are obscured, it’s impossible to tell
where to even begin. It’s hard to hold the frustrations raised by those obtuse puzzles
against Outer Wilds though. Given how you have to process lore and apply it to the
world to make progress, we’ll likely see players
sharing knowledge online, as they did with games
like Fez and The Witness. There’s something really
fun about sharing stories, and in particular, hearing
tales of discoveries you haven’t made yet. Outer Wilds’s tricky
exploration and puzzle solving is definitely an acquired taste. Its specific brand of active
storytelling differs wildly from highly-guided open worlds
that many of us think of when discussing non-linear gameplay. Though it can be confounding when events don’t unfold as intended, the feeling of discovering
something new about the story, or following the facts
to something unexpected, far outweighs those hiccups. For more on Outer Wilds, introduce yourself with our
10-minute gameplay walkthrough. Plus, check out our reviews
of other space-faring games like Observation. And for everything else,
keep it right here at IGN.

100 comments

  • Vulconne 69

    1:23 it reminds me of that awful last Indiana jones movie

    Reply
  • nixlad

    lawsuit incoming

    Reply
  • Trackster Nation

    Frick I thought this was outer worlds I was hyped

    Reply
  • sx wx

    Yes! Great review Daemon! so glad I got this game free Xbox. Thanks! You my dawggy! 🐶

    Reply
  • CasePB

    Kinda looks like a VR game.

    Reply
  • Mark Taylor

    Been playing it for 2 hours , keep dying over and over again, I can honestly say it's a pile of shite. What space explorer doesn't have weapons. Games trash, better than no man's sky, but equally just as boring

    Reply
  • SH3RK3 The idiot

    You can jump down geysers (that are not active) and you will fall for like 3-5 seconds and it’s really cool what’s down there

    Reply
  • Ross 1616

    I just got a jump scare and absolutely flipped out I thought this was a chill game anyone know if there is more jump scares

    Reply
  • zZzZzZz TM

    I love this game so much. A gem for sure. The music gives me goosebumps every time. Love everything about it.

    Reply
  • Lew is PRO

    This game is amazing and I’ve only just started playing it two hours ago and this game would be a whole new sea of thieves style if the devs added multiplayer would automatically be my favourite game other than SoT

    Reply
  • Jonathan Peña

    Am I the only one who dislikes the way he narrates? I can't put my finger on it. Sounds phony, maybe?

    Reply
  • Noel John G. Quezon

    Is that Navi Avatar. See 3:30

    Reply
  • Malek Karim

    It's on Xbox game pass

    Reply
  • TrumpKingsly

    Lore being optional isn't what makes lore feel superficial in other games. Lore being disconnected from the plot and pointless is what makes it feel superficial in other games.

    Lore in Soma: Optional but fascinating and it helps you make sense of the main story.

    Lore in Dishonored 2: Anybody out here care about whales? No? Oh, okay.

    Reply
  • itsaPyro-fox

    Is it multiplayer

    Reply
  • Khordata

    nope

    Reply
  • pwrful wizrd

    And here i thought it was Older Words, the highly anticipated spelling bee game

    Reply
  • Corey Kitchen

    I'm only here because Instagram won't stop telling me this game exists.

    Reply
  • Omni Game Player

    The game is available on gamepass if you are a subscriber.

    Reply
  • Caleb Oneal

    Anyone know if this is releasing on PS4?

    Reply
  • Gattsu

    The music alone makes me want to buy this.

    Reply
  • Rylan Duncan

    This game would be dope in VR

    Reply
  • SpiderYass

    Daamn that soundtrack reminds me of life is strange

    Reply
  • B&D React

    Flap Cat > anything. https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/732004

    Reply
  • Martin Førland

    Please com to nintendo switch 😊

    Reply
  • Leandro Venturini

    HOrrible physics and graphics. Thank you but not thank you

    Reply
  • Sergey Chapaev

    I clicked this thinking it would be about The Outer Worlds (i.e., the new Fallout we deserve).

    Reply
  • Dillon Mann

    I really want to love this game.. But like IGN said. You don't know where to even begin. Yes you can start anywhere. But it leaves me feeling completely lost. You don't really know when you've done something that necessarily informs you to move on to the next planet or location? Kind of like am I done here? Umm ok I suppose I will leave and go somewhere else. I am for sure going to give this some more time though. It pulls me in without a doubt

    Reply
  • El Conquistador

    Epic Game Exclusive? PASS!!

    Reply
  • El Conquistador

    Epic Game Exclusive? PASS!!

    Reply
  • El Conquistador

    Epic Game Exclusive? PASS!!

    Reply
  • JP

    We need to encourage games like this that are shrouded in mystery where we can experience the fun in discovery and figuring out how things work.

    Reply
  • Descendant of Kraff

    I wonder how many flat Earthers got this game and hated it when they realised that the planets are spheres.

    Reply
  • MX-250-LIFE

    Who else got this game from watching e3 on console last year?

    Reply
  • Hu Flung Dung

    This game is terrible.

    Reply
  • austinbeige

    8.4 is too low. This is the best game I've played in years. It not only pushes the envelope and shows what can be done with an imaginative concept, it's also incredible immersive and enjoyable. How they constructed the narrative is beyond me but they've pulled it off perfectly. This is one of only a few true gaming masterpieces.

    Reply
  • J H

    Fantastic game.

    Reply
  • Joe Parsons

    Boring

    Reply
  • Joe Parsons

    😴😴😴😴😴

    Reply
  • Zachary T

    Its on gamepass

    Reply
  • joshua ellery

    Just got ate by a giant flying monster.
    Don't know what it looked like, I was flying towards the waypoint, heard a deep growl then giant teeth coming over my ship.

    Reply
  • Webbie

    looks like a chore to play

    Reply
  • Andrej

    Btw you can get respawn button

    Reply
  • Matthew Miller

    Too bad this game was delayed on PC, I'd love to play it since it looks cool. Hopefully I'll remember it when it comes out next year.

    Reply
  • Motormoto

    You forgot to mention how terrifying this game really is!

    Reply
  • Nebulagoodies

    The best game I’ve ever played.

    Reply
  • JB BESLER

    Sounds like a lot of HOOPLAH!

    Reply
  • Jericho Perez

    I don't know if this game is for me, I tried getting into The Witness and it just wasn't for me. I might try this one out, not that it really matters, I can just pirate it because Epic game store.

    Reply
  • EpicSmashMan

    This is the only game I have ever played that made me feel true terror. What is around every corner? I must reach the end.

    Reply
  • Wise&Savvy

    I like this game.

    Reply
  • Wise&Savvy

    There were legit moments that were intense

    Reply
  • Definitely Xerberus

    I died 5 minutes into the game and uninstalled, not my type of game I guess, but I do hope that it suit you!

    Reply
  • RedMaxStein

    Was anybody else struggling with Hanging City?

    Reply
  • Guy moore

    Who here sh*ts them selves every time the angular fish got you but I found out to not move when going by them

    Reply
  • John Thewliss

    Is this pure exploration or is there any combat involved?

    Reply
  • Mark Jakims

    looks like a dud to me

    Reply
  • dam boi

    6 for days gone
    8 for this game

    do you think im a joke?

    Reply
  • Loud_Snipez18

    Why did I see outer worlds..

    Reply
  • The Last Crusader

    Th game is great but I wish it was multiplayer

    Reply
  • Jacob

    This game is extremely interesting! Do yourself a favor and check it out

    Reply
  • Nick Gur

    I really want to get into this game but I just can't

    Reply
  • Coyobo

    This game is really cool but the lack of voice acting really bums me out and takes me out of the immersion a bit

    Reply
  • HAZZA XOLoTL

    Doesn’t this have like 4 planets

    Reply
  • Mr. Serr

    This game looks like trash.

    Reply
  • Matthew Best

    Just looks like an even more indie nms meh

    Reply
  • Flying Dude

    I expected a chill puzzle/exploration game such as Riven, Myst or The Witness, but this game is actually kind of intense. Also, you can tell it's made with a lot of heart.

    Reply
  • CreepKing 16

    I think IGN needs to do an updated Fallout 76 reveiw

    Reply
  • Drizzy

    Looks like the kid watered down version of outer worlds lol skip

    Reply
  • indeepj

    No Need To Watch
    Its Already A 0 Because It Isnt Call Of Duty
    Eventhough It Deserves A 100

    Reply
  • Pojosamaneo

    The controls are killing my enjoyment of this game. I want to explore without taking part in a flight simulator. Prey did space controls perfectly, for example.

    Brilliant concept, though. Going to try and stick with it.

    Reply
  • Jason dp

    This on ps4

    Reply
  • Bob Bob

    I've played for about an hour. I've landed on The Attlerock and translated some lore. The problem? I'm bored and not enjoying it at all. Should I stick with it or is this game just not for me?

    Reply
  • Super JAlex Bros

    I have this game on Xbox. It’s cool.

    Reply
  • Nero Zashi

    Amazing game 😀

    Reply
  • Happy_Carl_V2.0

    I give it a 9.5/10

    Reply
  • ProbyWaN1337

    epic sellouts :/

    Reply
  • Just Passing Through

    That music every time the sun was about to explode always was calming and nerve wracking at the same time!😖

    Reply
  • Andrew Martel

    its crazy how i went in not knowing what i was doing and just made random discoveries that seemingly made no sense but slowly started to piece together in a way i didn't think possible. it's been such a cool journey.

    Reply
  • icecrmpntjb

    Amazing game of which I have very fond memories

    Reply
  • FattyMcButterPants

    scammers

    Reply
  • Steve Shaw

    Sat watching credits of Outer Wilds with tears in my eyes. Partly because of the emotional impact of the game and partly because I really needed it right now. And also because I'd totally fallen out of love with games lately and this reminded me what video games should be. In a few fundamental ways it's one of the best games I've ever played.

    Reply
  • Mark Soares

    Is this an timed exclusive for xbox?

    Reply
  • Retierashia

    Oh. Outer Wilds not Outer Worlds.

    Reply
  • Isaac Hoz

    Hey IGN! I'm here because the video player on your website is utter dogshit!

    Reply
  • TheCivildecay

    This game feels like the last part of 2001: space odyssey 🙂

    Reply
  • KubaBooba

    Is this a review?

    Reply
  • Son Goffu_ssj4

    Does this game support vr?

    Reply
  • BigBoy

    🚨 False alarm 🚨

    This isn’t the outer worlds.

    Reply
  • Mark Davey

    so…..no mans sky with better graphics?

    Reply
  • Conrrado Torres

    So No Man's Sky, but with banjos… I'm sold

    Reply
  • Klark Griswold

    Very boring game

    Reply
  • Neil Mallick

    The comparison to FEZ makes me not want this. FEZ was nothing but secret after secret and you'd have to look online to make it anywhere.

    Reply
  • Legendary Moose man

    A poor mans no mans sky…..pass

    Reply
  • j0nnyism

    What’s atta wilds?

    Reply
  • Carlos K.

    One of the best soundtracks in 2019

    Reply
  • Rowan

    No mans sky 2 looks pretty cool.

    Reply
  • REAL6

    Now if they would release this for PSVR!!!

    Reply
  • badcoochie

    Well thats 2 outer games i must buy.

    Reply
  • Zoeyinterface

    trash games – IGN 9.5
    masterpiece games – IGN 5.5

    Reply
  • Commentur The Great

    2:46 Aside from the big glowing "THERE IS MORE TO EXPLORE HERE" indicator.

    Reply

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