If you’ve ever moved house, you know it can be rather stressful. That’s why you might want to hire some movers to do the heavy lifting for you. You might want to think twice about hiring these guys, however.
A party game for up to four players, Moving Out is all about, well, moving out. You take on the role of a newly-qualified Furniture Arrangement and Relocation Technician (lol) and, either by yourself or with your FART-qualified friends, your job is to move furniture from a building into a truck in a series of increasingly difficult and downright bizarre situations.
It all starts out fairly innocuously; a small one-bedroom house needs key items of furniture moving from it, so you’ll grab them and transport them to your truck. But against the clock, it’s not always the wisest option to simply carry it through the door. Smash a window and chuck it through, why don’t you? The residents aren’t around. They’ll never know. Besides, they’re moving out anyway; who cares about a smashed window?
“Carnage is absolutely the key in Moving Out, and the more local players you have aboard, the more chaotic (and fun) the game becomes”
Carnage is absolutely the key in Moving Out, and the more local players you have aboard, the more chaotic (and fun) the game becomes. Up to four can join in, and working together is paramount. Heavy items – like refrigerators, sofas and beds – can’t be lifted by just one person, so you’ll have to co-ordinate, making your way through tight doorframes and throwing together on the count of, one, two, three. You’ll be yelling PIVOT! more than Ross Gellar, and it’ll only be partly ironic.
It’s later into Moving Out that things really get crazy. Out with ordinary obstacles like walls, doorways and giant tortoises (really), and in with busy roads, travelators, toxic waste, jets of fire, ghosts and dangerous lagoons filled with crocodiles. It’s a lot like Overcooked! in that regard, also published by Team17. Simply replace madcap cooking antics with removals, and you’ve got a good idea what to expect.
It’s not just getting items out of a building and to your removals truck that’s an issue, though. Filling up the van is a puzzle in itself. Fail to consider where items are going to go, and you’ll find them falling out. It’s a bit like a game of Tetris; you want to place things carefully in order to maximise the space. Or, you know, just give up trying and throw everything into a big pile of mess. Whatever works.
While Moving Out is designed to be played in local co-op, there is a single player mode available if you’d rather play alone. You’re given the power to lift heavy objects by yourself, albeit you’ll move slower. It loses much of what makes the game so enjoyable though; part of the fun of Moving Out is getting in your teammates’ way, and trying (often failing) to work together. Sure, navigating the obstacles of later levels is still a thrill in single player, but it simply becomes a game of carrying items from one place to another. Without the co-op chaos, much of the game’s charm is lost. Not to mention trying to meet the game’s default time limit goals is much harder when you can only move one item at a time.
“It really is a game that just about anyone can join in with”
But grab some friends or family members to play Moving Out together, and it becomes a much more entertaining, riotous affair. And it really is a game that just about anyone can join in with; perhaps the best thing about it is its wealth of accessibility options. Developers SMG Studio and DEVM Games deserve serious praise for the effort that has gone into ensuring almost anyone can enjoy Moving Out.
The fact that your avatar can be in a wheelchair is just the tip of the iceberg. A dyslexia-friendly mode replaces fancy typefaces for a simple font, and an ‘assist mode’ lets you toggle various options to make the game easier to play. You can set longer time limits, decrease the overall difficulty of the game, make larger items lighter to lift, and have items disappear when they reach the van. Very few games offer this level of customisation to cater for differing player ability, and it really is refreshing to see.
Left at its standard difficulty, Moving Out is a genuine challenge. You’re rewarded gold, silver or bronze depending on the speed at which you finish the level – and achieving gold really is tricky. There’s no room for mistakes if you want to set the best times. But for the most part, it doesn’t matter; the fun is in completing the level however you see fit; score chasing simply adds another element to the game.
“As far as party games go, Moving Out is one of the best of recent years.”
Once you’ve completed each of Moving Out‘s levels once, you’ll unlock additional objectives to give you reason to go back and play them again. Things like completing a level without breaking any windows, not falling into a pond, or not getting run over. Completing these objectives nets you a coin for each, and once you’ve got five, you’ll unlock the game’s arcade. If you don’t think the game’s challenging enough as it is, wait ’til you reach the arcade. These are bonus challenges that have you moving items of furniture through classic game-themed scenarios. The first tasks you with carrying a sofa around a thin, winding track. Fall off, and it’s back to the start. Hope you’ve got a lot of patience!
As far as party games go, Moving Out is one of the best of recent years. And like any good co-op game, it’s not the winning that counts; it’s the weird and hilarious situations that you and your fellow players will find yourself in. Playing alone is a bit dull, but it’s nice the option has been included. If you happen to have some willing friends or family around and want something to brighten up an evening, you really can’t go far wrong with Moving Out.
Moving Out is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch. We reviewed the game on Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.
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