This co-op focused arcade action game with a degree of physics and a lot of chaos. You play as a Furniture Arrangement and Relocation Technician, or a removal man/woman if you will. Throughout the game’s thirty levels you are tasked with moving furniture from various houses and businesses and onto your truck. Objects range from small to large and each one presents its own challenges especially when married to the game’s physics engine.
You move with the left stick/d-pad and grab objects with the button. Once you’ve got an object in your hands you can either carry it back to the truck or, if you’re in a hurry, you can throw it. This can be important if you’re chasing the best times, and therefore the trophies, but each level comes with additional objectives and these can involve not breaking things and so throwing things can be an issue.
The obvious comparison to make here is Overcooked, another Team 17 effort. In that game you were running around in a kitchen, carrying out basic tasks but with the pressure of time and performance which turns it into a very different experience. That’s exactly the case here. Sure, you can grab each item, carry them back and make it within the bronze time limits but the joy is in doing things well. Or, if you can’t do them well, you’ll want to do them fast.
Throwing things out of windows, down slopes and over obstacles is the way forward. It makes each level more of a puzzle that you need to figure out and this applies to the removal truck as well. The floor of the truck may only have 15 spaces and you might have over twenty to square away. So you’ll need to organise that space, kind of like a game of Tetris or that naggingly addictive atttache case element in Resident Evil 4 or you may need to get the bigger items in first and then fling the smaller ones on top. Whatever works.
In single player, the game is pretty pedestrian though. But that’s not what Moving Out is about at all. Add another player, or three, and it comes to life (again, much like Overcooked). It transforms the game into an honest to goodness party game. It also adds an important gameplay element.
Items are marked by how many people are needed to move them. In multiplayer, which is local only, one person can’t really move a bed or a sofa and so you’ll need to work together to get things done. As with Overcooked this generally works better if you figure out a strategy and keep communicating but things go south pretty easily and that’s where all the real fun comes from. The physics really kick in with the larger items or when items are attached to the wall by a plug (removing this often sends you into a spin).
Best friendships and family relationships will be tested as one of you shouts ‘NO! GO LEFT WITH THE TABLE!!!!!’ until you fall out. At least until the level is over and you get start all over again. But if you can work out a strategy, work together (including throwing objects to each other) and try not to fall out, things should end fairly satisfyingly.
As great as this all is, a lack of variety can spoil things a little. The game does try to mix things up with some extra elements such as conveyor belts, slides, animals and other obstacles/distractions and this helps but ultimately it may all get a bit samey. Thirty levels is about right though, especially as they are quite short, but the urge to press on is tempered somewhat by how hard it is to nail a gold time, even on the very easiest levels.
But, played in bursts (and not, say, in big chunks because you are reviewing it), this is a very enjoyable game. The more people you add, the better. Although this might be tricky in these Covid-19 times. If you’re the only gamer in the house, you may want to wait for the lockdown to end but if you’re a two gamer family then crack on, especially if you’re looking for some local co-op action. It’s a shame that the game doesn’t have any online play (especially when you consider how this crucial addition was brought in for Overcooked 2) but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. The game even lets you tailor the difficulty with an ‘assist mode’ that allows even the most casual of players to be effective.
The game’s presentation is top notch with a cute isometric look that is stylish and colourful but perfectly conveys the action with no issues. The camera zooms out as the players become separated but the levels are small enough that this never causes a problem. The presentation definitely gives the game a mid-range price kind of look.
Overall this is a fun co-op title. It might not live up to the craziness that Overcooked gave us but it’s easy to understand (if hard to master) and a lot of fun to play and is definitely the kind of game we need in these strange times.
+ Really good co-op
+ Has some tactical depth
+ Nice presentation
- Lacks variation
- Quite hard to master