Game Review #299: Out There: Ω The Alliance (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Developer: Mi-Clos Studio
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release Date: 04.08.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $14.99
Buy Out There: Ω The Alliance from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
No Man’s Retry
Out There: Ω The Alliance is a roguelike strategy-adventure in which you come to from your deep cryo-sleep, expecting to be near Jupiter, when you realize you are actually in a deep corner of the galaxy and you are very alone. As you begin to make your long journey back towards Earth, and the answers you are looking for, you make insane discoveries, meet aliens of all shapes and sizes, and do everything in your power to survive with nothing but your ship as a haven for safety. You are forced to keep track of your supplies with limited space and dangers around every turn that can harm you and your ship.
A major part of the gameplay consists of deciding what to keep, and what to leave behind. In your spaceship you have a varying number of open slots, based on which ship you use, and thus when you are collecting resources from the various planets you come across you must make some serious decisions. The three major things you must keep track of in order to progress are fuel, hull strength, and oxygen level. And so, when you probe or drill for resources you must decide to keep the resources that allow you to maintain those categories, or search for other minerals that allow you to upgrade your tech on the ship. The open slots on the ship are also used for different technology that you build and thus also must be thought about when strategizing how you want to utilize your inventory.
You have to be careful with your drill and probe, as going too deep can break your tools, or attempting to gather resources from a planet type that isn’t mineral rich can cost you more resources than make it worth gathering. Planet type is something you need to learn quickly, as knowledge is the only thing you can bring with you on the multiple runs you will make trying to reach the game’s epic conclusion.
There are a ton of different tools you can use, but sadly, as you get more tools you lose space on your ship, as previously stated. Therefore, you have to decide what you are trying to accomplish and create ships that are best for certain things. Do you use tech that allows you to jump further and then focus fuel collection tools so that you can maintain that? Or do you pump your ship up with shield generators so that you use less hull strength and remove the need for the drill? There are tons of ways you can go about using the tools, and the ship customization is by far the coolest part of the game. However, the tools are not all readily available, and must be discovered through interactions with aliens, meaning that in order to get the load-out you are looking for you have to seriously delve into the galaxy and already be in a pretty good spot to survive to collect the blueprints needed for you to create exactly what you are looking for. Because of this, a majority of your play-throughs will consist of; well…winging it, until you get a good enough ship design, and the right amount of RNG to allow you to progress.
Random Number Generation
The biggest thing that will get in your way here, is the game itself. The gameplay loop, resource collection and management, all the parts that make this game cool and interesting are seriously stifled by the amount of randomness that can destroy even the best of runs. This game is a ton of fun and allows for a lot of replay potential with multiple endings and a dozen or more ships you can use. Routing can be changed, ship load-outs can be manipulated; this game allows for so much when it comes to playing the game over and over, but the roguelike mechanics that impede your progress and make you have to do a restart are something you can’t plan for. Don’t get me wrong, you can easily mess up and cause your own downfall, but once you have a pretty good feel for the game, you will repeatedly be defeated by not having the right planet types in front of you, or having random events that happen between nearly every move peg down your resources or tools in ways that you can’t fix and couldn’t have planned for. This mimics what I feel travelling through space in the way you are would be like, but when playing a game, it can get tedious at times.
Encounters of the Third Kind
Another cool mechanic you have in this title is when you come across a planet that can sustain life, or a Garden Planet, you can encounter the local alien species and attempt to communicate with them. They have a whole language you cannot understand, much like No Man’s Sky, and like that game you can slowly learn the language one or two words at a time. This allows you to trade with the alien and obtain the ever-useful “Omega” that is necessary to complete many of the endings. The only bummer I found here is that because the game does a full reset with every death you rarely get to actually make progress in the alien language. I found on a few runs I lasted long enough to partially comprehend, but mostly I would just randomly answer the alien’s questions and hope I answered correctly.
A real bright spot for this game are the endings they offer. Once you get past the long journey through the solar system and finally reach a point of conclusion you will find nothing but interesting ways to end the narrative. Mostly dark, and sometimes crazy, but nonetheless the endings are something that made the long journey something to remember. The story here really comes in what you make for yourself throughout the journey. The meat of what you have is really created by yourself, but I found myself quite satisfied with how they tied everything up in the end.
The game’s art is stellar. You really feel like the cut-scenes and alien character models were fully created with the comic book in mind, as the hand-drawn style is indicative of some of the classic noir comics I have perused in the past. It is something that adds a ton of flavor and character to this title and was extremely enjoyable throughout. The number of separate alien species they made is mind-boggling, and each has their own professionally drawn model that is completely unique and quite interesting.
The soundtrack is filled with moody tones that emphasize the emptiness of space and the dark travels you are going through. Throughout you find eeriness and quiet is what the music displays, and allows for great immersion into what you are partaking in.
Out There is a perfect pick up and play title and the replay value in this game is stellar. Mi-Clos Studio really did a great job creating something that portrays the darkness and difficulty of what the protagonists would have to go through, but true to what space travel would be like, random encounters can destroy even the greatest of plans. I found myself having a really good time overall with this title, and anyone who is really into space and strategy games will find this title intriguing, but for anyone who isn’t a fan of repetition or tougher difficulties this might be something to think about before making the (warp) jump. A solid title that gives you lots of fun and engaging gameplay. Even beyond my gripes here and there, the game is something I was happy to have played through.
Buy Out There: Ω The Alliance from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Raw Fury