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If there's one thing that playing Out There expertly imparts, it's that space can be a cold, lonely, and rather depressing place. The dangerous homeward journey of a cosmic explorer lost amongst the stars proves pretty grim in this turn-based sci-fi explorer. With fuel, oxygen, and ship repair materials in short supply, every light jump in the right direction also pushes you closer to the potential for a premature demise. It's gloomy stuff to be sure, but it pairs well with the intensely moody atmosphere and comic book presentation, which make the experience feel distinct from what's come before.
Granted, anyone who's played FTL: Faster Than Light on Mac or PC will find familiar ground in Out There's general premise. Jumping from one planetary system to the next, you’ll quest ever onward through the stars, gathering resources to improve your ship and stay alive. From encounters with aliens who teach you languages and trade resources to crisis situations that push you to make tough life-or-death decisions, there are a lot of interesting surprises awaiting you in the depths of space.
Instead of intense ship battles, Out There opts for a more introspective and mellow journey. It has a meditative quality to it that works to draw you in and zone you out. While the game often leans more towards a relaxing pace, there's still plenty to do, and stressful encounters do pop up regularly.
The need to strategize your next move and manage resources carefully provides a needed counter-measure to keep the adventure from drifting into snoozer territory. You’ll have to weigh the potential risk vs. reward of every action you take, since a bad choice can leave you in a dire spot and end your trek too soon. Do you spend resources to repair your mining tools needed to harvest materials from surface, or push onward to a planet with oxygen to instantly replenish your dwindling reserves? These are the kinds of decisions you’ll face throughout this quietly intriguing adventure.
The bottom line. With atmosphere and story driving the slow-burning adventure, Out There is decidedly light on action and excitement. That said, it's the game's personality and surprises that will keep you pushing deeper into the stars.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Gloomy atmosphere and art direction are uniquely absorbing. Random surprises keep you guessing and reacting on the fly. Chill pace makes for a relaxing experience.
Certain resources seem scarce, while others are weirdly abundant. Slow pace isn’t for everyone.