If you’re a fan of zany, riotous couch co-op games, there’s a new one on the scene: Team17 and SMG Studios has just released Moving Out 2, a sequel to 2020’s Moving Out. Did it need a sequel? Perhaps not. Regardless, we’re very happy that Moving Out 2 exists: more frenetic co-operative action is always welcome in our house.
If you’ve played the first Moving Out, you’ll already know exactly what to expect. And when we say exactly, we mean exactly: in almost every way this is the same game. Just more of it. That’s no bad thing, though, and a lot has been done by SMG Studios to ensure the chaotic proceedings still feel fun and fresh. There is one key change that we’re glad to see added to Moving Out 2, however: online co-op. It’s a shame it was missing in the 2020 release, in the midst of Covid-19 lockdown when we sorely needed ways to hang out with our friends and family over the internet. Three years too late is better than never, though, and we’re glad to be able to team up with distant friends to take up our important roles of F.A.R.Ts.
That’s “Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician”, by the way. If you haven’t guessed, Moving Out 2 doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that humour carries through into just about every part of the game. It’s the humour that makes the game work so well, in fact. Bundling furniture into the back of a lorry isn’t really all that fun – as anyone who’s actually moved house in real life can attest to – but here, hilarity is the key ingredient. Smash windows, toss expensive-looking vases, rip doors right off their hinges. No-one’s going to bat an eyelid, but you and your fellow players will be laughing with glee as you go.
A level-based affair, Moving Out 2 pits you and your accompanying F.A.R.Ts to move clients either in or out of their homes. You’ll be against the clock, and the faster you finish, the better your score will be. You’ll also be awarded up to three stars, although to get them all you’ll need to complete various sub-objectives. Perhaps you’ll need to avoid using a certain door, for example, or complete the level without smashing a window. You won’t know what these additional objectives are ’til you’ve completed a level, though, so if you’re a completionist, expect to revisit everything at least once.
Moving Out 2’s standard levels – that see you moving furniture out of a house – are perhaps our favourite. It doesn’t matter how you get them there: all that matters is that every piece of furniture ends up in the back of your van. Got a light, non-fragile item? Toss it from an upstairs window. It’ll be fine. Heavier items – and you’ll find a lot of them – require two pairs of hands, and so you and your co-op players will be endlessly shouting “PIVOT!” at each other as you navigate tricky door frames and tight hallways.
The levels which see you moving stuff in to a house, however, can be the source of a bit more frustration. Here, different-sized boxes need to be placed in specific areas of the house. The trouble is, Moving Out 2’s physics are very sensitive – such is the nature of the game. But it means once you’ve placed down a box, it’s very easy to knock it out of place as you walk past it with something else. Swearing at the TV doesn’t help, either, we can attest, but it might make you feel a bit better.
That’s not the only thing that’ll have you turning the air blue. Moving Out 2 can be an exercise in frustration, and there’s no doubt it’s entirely on purpose: we can picture the developers sat around, laughing maniacally as they imagine players repeatedly stepping on garden rakes, Sideshow Bob style, and constantly fighting with doors that just don’t stay open no matter how hard you try. As you progress through the game, uncovering weird and wonderful new levels and locations, those frustrations will only grow – but each new one you discover will only lead to more laughter from you and your fellow players.
You can play Moving Out 2 by yourself, but it’s hard to recommend. This is a game that demands co-operation between friends and loved ones: much of the joy comes from trying to work together, man-handling objects, counting “one… two… three” as you launch a sofa through a window and trying to navigate a corner sofa around a tight bend. By yourself? There’s no-one to laugh with or yell at. It’s doable, but becomes old pretty quickly.
We need to praise Moving Out 2’s accessibility options, an area that a lot of thought has clearly gone into. An in-depth set of options means that anyone, regardless of their ability level, can have fun with the game. For instance, rather than holding down a button to pick up an item, you can toggle on single presses. And in Assist Mode, you’ll find options that allow you to alter time limits, make larger items lighter (so one person can lift them), and even skip levels completely if it’s proving to be just too tricky. Better yet, all accessibility options can be enabled and disabled on the fly, as and when you need them.
Bold, colourful and entirely silly, Moving Out 2 is a must-play for couch co-op fans. A sequel to 2020’s Moving Out perhaps wasn’t needed, and this doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. But it does provide fans with bigger, better, and more riotous levels to play with their friends. And this time, you can play online too! What more could we ask for, really?