When first hearing of Outland I was very intrigued by the unique look of the game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t to excited about it due to the recent spur of this genre of game flooding the XBL Marketplace. After starting the game up though, you quickly realize that this game is very much different to what we have come to accept as XBLA games.
From the start of the game you will embark on a on an epic journey to find yourself. From the start of the game you are teased with hints of what you will ultimately be able to do with your powers. As the game goes forward you start to unlock these powers and learn how and when to put them to use. After learning the basics of the combat system in the game you go through a Jungle level that is the equivalent to a tutorial, that’s when the game really starts to show it’s quality. You will eventually gain powers that you can switch to on the fly using right bumper. You will use these powers to kill different enemies as well as use color specific platforms that only become solid to stand on when you turn either red for your dark power, or blue for your light power. Enemies work he same way. When phrasing it like that it sounds a bit gimmicky, but the way that the switching of your powers are so tied into the game, it really just works.
Not only is the game a great Puzzle/Platformer, but it uses an open world concept that allows you to go anywhere you want at any time in the game. You have a magical light that guides you where you need to go, but you may roam where ever you like. As you make your way through the world you find plenty of enemies along the way. These enemies will drop what looks like gold sea shells. It’s actually the games currency. At certain points in the game you will find upgrade stations. You can spend your currency at these stations to power up and upgrade your health. You have a wide variety of combat mechanics to choose from. Everything from a standard sword swing to a slide attack, and even a ground pound type moves that comes in handy in many of the later levels. Even after having to do all these things to make the game play work right for you, the game is still as pick up and play as much as you can expect from the type of genre.
The game is lengthy and even though from looking at videos or pictures it may seem to be repetitive, it’s really not. Shockingly enough the game carries a good enough story through to keep you interested and the environments do a good job of changing with out taking you out of the game world. The mixture of completing tasks to get to another part of the quest, and ultimately build up to the type of huge over exaggerative boss fights we have come to think common in the genre the game never really bores you. It will only frustrate you. That’s not a bad thing though. The game carries a 2 player co-op mode, but personally it really does not need to. It just so happens that it’s a bonus in this game.
All in all for 800 MS points, this game will not disappoint in game play or length. It’s a great game for a genre that is in the middle of a come back through digital means. Outland can be a game that speaks for this generation of game consoles and what can be done for a genre of games that has been around for almost as long as gaming it’s self.