The Most Fun Moving Will Ever Be
I started Moving Out mere hours after helping my roommate move in real life. Tired from lifting couches and tables, the gamified version was leagues more fun - namely because it didn't matter if I broke anything. Despite moving being the last thing I wanted to focus on that day, Moving Out's streamlined gameplay loop and ingenious level design quickly shoved away those feelings. Instead, I enjoyed a fully-realized gameplay experience that sells the idea of becoming a master mover.
Best described as Overcooked, but moving, Moving Out stars your animal character as an aspiring mover-outer in the lovely little town of Packmore (also known as a Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician or F.A.R.T.) Your boss finds gigs and exploits you and up to three friends to carry belongings out of people's houses. Only, a mysterious client starts asking for suspicious boxes to be moved, hinting at a more sinister plot at play. It's up to you to find out what's going on.
The story is delivered in short, three to four phrase conversations at the beginning and end of each stage. These generally consist of your character's hilarious ignorance (the boss is useless and totally taking advantage of you) and pop culture quips, but hints of the greater plot at hand are sprinkled in between conversation and the stages themselves.
Becoming a Master Mover in Moving Out
Moving Out's core gameplay loop consists of two simple actions: grabbing and throwing. One must grab a box, suitcase, or game console and chuck into the truck as fast as possible. However, some items are too heavy to throw by oneself, like a fridge or a kitchen table. Two players must grab either side and sync their button presses to toss it instead. This is useful when a bed is on the second floor, for example. You and a buddy can just throw it out the window. The customer signed a damage waiver, after all! In single-player, a character can drag items much faster to compensate for a missing partner.
While Moving Out is built around cooperative play, the single-player component is equally enjoyable. Playing by oneself means fewer items to move and nobody to argue with. I also found it much easier to hit gold medal times while playing solo. Cooperative play increases item counts significantly, making it more difficult to fit things into the truck. This, of course, is balanced by multiple heads to discuss the best move-out plan and is simply more fun because, well, friends. There's also an assist mode for those finding the challenge a little too hectic.
Stages range from the basic 1-bedroom home to haunted houses, rockstar's mansions to secret underground labs, and a few other ideas I won't spoil here. Moving Out smartly moves between settings quickly, hopping around enough to prevent overusing visuals. With gameplay simple enough to fall stale fast, aesthetics and stage design are the two vital variables that keep players playing. Fortunately, this game nails the former just as well as the latter.
Take the "AAAAH-tari" corporate office. This fictional take on the established game company has you lugging arcade machines through a floor plan shaped eerily close to a Pac-Man maze. There's even a ghost to chase you around and remarks on how long it takes to develop a video game. Or there's the haunted mansion level, featuring run-away chairs and evil pianos to avoid. Some levels ask you to chase chickens on a farm, while another has you invading a secret warehouse full of strange gimmicks. There's not a single lousy level or annoying trick in this game. Even if I'm dragging yet another fridge through another tastelessly tiled kitchen, there might be a hedge maze to get through or a snow slide shortcut down to my truck. Essentially, Moving Out loves to experiment, and the game is all the better for it.
Across the game's 30+ stages, there are extra challenges and time records to beat for replayability. In fact, full completion unlocks two different tiers of bonus stage. One tier has you reliving the most important parts of your moving company's history. As if the primary campaign isn't insane enough, these stages involve throwing furniture out of a plane or carrying furniture away from rolling boulders a la Indiana Jones.
The second is an arcade challenge mode. Taking place in virtual environments, arcade levels hone in on one mechanic and push it to the max. There's a difficult platforming stage to start, while another level has you tossing boxes over a set of fans from the main game. Accuracy is critical, here. Moving Out includes tons of these addictive stages, and no one can consider themselves a master mover without completing them.
Moving Out's Attention to Detail
Moving Out is full of funny details as well. Sometimes your parked truck is just blatantly blocking traffic, and maneuvering around it becomes a level hazard. If a partner isn't in the truck when the last piece of furniture falls in, they're seen chasing after it in the results screen. One stage has turtles you can jump on. Peering closely, you'll notice each is wearing a Ninja Turtles headband.
Adding to the game's charm is the world map, where you can ram your truck through traffic, over cliffs, and just cause a ton of mayhem. Ramming into cars sends them flying, and I never got over how ridiculous it looks to drive off giant cliffs. The game's upbeat soundtrack enhanced each moment as well. Moving Out is charismatic as can be, and this is apparent in every facet of the game's design.
Though nothing comes close to tarnishing Moving Out's fun factor, I have a few nitpicks. For starters, the game fails to list bonus challenges while replaying a level. If I ever forgot a task, I had to leave the level and start over to check again, hurting replayability a bit. Sometimes my character would miss grabbing a box multiple times despite my clearly running right into it, costing me precious seconds. Also, every so often, the physics would fight me heading through a doorway. I'd have a bed perfectly lined up to fit through, and it sometimes just won't go through. At times getting through would take so long I'd just restart the level and hope for the best.
Moving Out Review | Final Thoughts
Moving Out is nothing short of delightful. It has charming characters, exciting stages, and the perfect level of challenge. A "best of" level list would include all of them. Any ideas the main campaign fails to venture down are fully explored in bonus levels. While there are a few minor knocks here and there, this is the one moving experience that won't tire you out.
TechRaptor reviewed Moving Out on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Windows 10, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
- Not a Single Bad Level
- Fully Fleshed Out Concept
- Clever Quips And Jokes
- Tons of Bonus Content
- Occasional Glitchy Gameplay
- Wonky Physics at Times