Outer Wilds is an exploration/ mystery game where exploring more gives you a bit more information on what’s going on. Well, It’s not actually an action game but that doesn’t keep it from being exciting. Your curiosity gets the best of you and you keep playing and playing getting more and more of an idea as to the world you inhabit.
This game is truly a work of art. The visuals combined with incredible score make you feel alone, excited and terrified all at the same time. Entering a planet’s atmosphere for the first time, knowing nothing of what’s on the other side, is really an incredible experience. This is one of those games you have to play to really understand why it’s so great.
Space Exploration At It’s Finest
You start as hearths, a humble race of cabin-living creatures who have miraculously launched a space program off. You are one of the next astronauts in the Outer Wilds Space Exploration. Your first task is to find the launch codes so you can fly up in your wooden ship. After some advice from the elders of the town, some quantum rocks, and strange experience with a statue, you find the launch codes, and why you are exploring these wilds.
You are exploring to find more about the Nomai, an ancient race of creatures who lived in your solar system, who are long extinct.
When you finally lift off in your ship, you can start to explore the miniature solar system. This is when you see the graphic beauty of the game. Each planet is precise and planned, and there are puzzles galore.
Not traditional puzzles, however. Time puzzles. Puzzles where the when matters more than the where. And then, you will die.
The Mystery and Curiosity Keeps You Alive
You will die a lot in this game. Whether you die of crashing into a planet, getting eaten by a terrifying space fish, or by the sun dying. And then, you wake back up, on your home planet of Timber Hearth.
This is a groundhog-day-like game, without the monotony of tediousness. You wake up again, this time with the launch codes, so you don’t have to find them again, and you can lift off into the solar system. As you play, you uncover deep secrets of the Nomai, and why they came to your humble solar system. You learn about the harrowing extinction of them. As you explore more, you learn that you are not only an astronaut but a historian and even an ecologist.
It tells of the fragility of time and the desperation of knowledge seekers. It creates a feeling of sadness in a video game that I have never experienced before. The sadness of giving up and the sadness of helplessness.
The Nomai are gentle creatures, despite their academic superiority. In one instance, when in a cavern, you are reading the dialogue of two Nomai (there is a good amount of reading in this game), and they were exploring the same cavern you are. When creating signs for each path, one sign says that there is nothing along that path but rocks, and then the Nomai proceeds to say “Not that the rocks aren’t interesting” as if reassuring these non-sentient rocks.
No Fighting! No Guns!
There is no fighting in this game- no guns. There is no weaponry, no levels, no XP, just you and your ship, your translator, your tracker, and your probe-camera-device. And of course, the ship gets hurt a little, but that is solved by a simple press of a button. You also have to worry about oxygen and health of your suit, but you don’t need to kill or eat or anything. And in my opinion, that is what makes this game so beautiful. That instead of trying to fight death, you learn to accept it.
An Astonishingly Beautiful Game With A Beautiful Message
This game is simply gorgeous. Attention to detail is so meticulous and thought out it makes triple-A games look embarrassing. You explore this solar system and find the mysteries it has to offer all while there are countless things trying to kill you. Everything from oxygen running out, to your ship getting hit by an asteroid, to a giant space fish trying to eat you (you’ll know it when you see it). When you do inevitably die, you reset back on your home planet as if you never left (the “groundhog day feature”) but you still keep your progress. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t try this game out.