Outer Wilds: Archeologist Edition Review
Outer Wilds: Archeologist Edition is a space exploration game where you venture out away from home. Explore and discover new things in a compact cosmos of a curated planet system with the addition of the Echoes of the Eye DLC. Take the time to take in the sights while you solve puzzles and piece together the mystery of an ancient race. Also there’s a time loop.
Outer Wilds is not for everyone. It took me a few tries to really get into it. Though, once I did, I got hooked into the exploration and puzzles. The freedom to not hold back with the safety net of a time loop pushed the want to discover. The core mystery sort of guided me as I put the pieces together. The game will not hold your hand and give you mission markers. It seems that’s the charm of it.
You hop in your ship and take to the unknown beautiful wilds of space and wing it. As you go on your travels, it’s up to you to collect the pieces of the story. Outer Wilds demands your curiosity to search every crevice and chat up NPCs for bits of the story to come together. There’s no checklist to clear off, so it’s just you, your ship, a sci-fi mystery and the stars. The game’s time loop mechanic sends you back to a starting point every 22 minutes. Or you go through the loop on the chance that you die. Either by being pulled into a black hole or running out of oxygen.
It will get difficult at some point as some things are harder to miss than others. Solving a puzzle might not show a clear result and things will get frustrating. So you’ll need a keen eye to not miss anything crucial and find new perspectives for every loop. You might argue that’s half the fun of it and the need to find satisfaction is the drive. As well as a good chunk of patience.
Outer Wilds is difficult. Difficult to control your ship and just about anything to do with thrusters. The first little test run at the start of the game had me questioning if I was ready for a journey to the stars. It took me a good few tries to fly the little model ship to the geysers. Landing your own ship is painful. Just about every attempt I made caused hull damage but I persevered. Then came the planets. Planets might have higher or lower gravity. This will determine the level of frustration you’ll feel in the moment.
When you leave your ship, you’ll have to deal with your suit thrusters. Getting back to the ship in 0.6 gravity was a great test of my sanity. While I’m bounding about with my thrusters determined to do the opposite of what I want, I run out of oxygen and die. Your character feels fragile, out there in the expanse of space. Falling into things while I tried to get hold of my suit didn’t help. But once you get into the gameplay look of puzzle solving and the story unfolds, it’s almost worth the headache.
Yet Another Port
On the Switch, there seem to be a lot of tech pull backs. Especially for Outer Wilds’ graphics. Things do not look as smooth as they do on PC and there’s a few frame rate drops early game. It looks as if it was set to the lowest possible settings on the Switch port. This will take back some of the wonder of space that you’re supposed to experience. The planets almost look blurred out and pixel-like when you’re far away enough. The difference is very noticable but possibly enough to completely turn you off the game.
It looks good enough to take on the go and play casually for some time. The controls are as to be expected a little hard to handle, it wasn’t going to be any easier on the Switch. With the cemented physics that seemed to do their best to mimic space but left much to be desired for a feasible gameplay loop. Though the story holds up as it always had and remains the best part of the game.
Outer Wilds: Archeologist Edition on the Switch is obviously lacking in its graphical presentation and controls remain as trying as ever. But the call to explore, discover and find a story remains a solid call to take up the game. But for the best and most immersive experience, other consoles or PC are your best bet.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Fun puzzles
- Great story
- Low graphic quality
- Uncomfortable controls
- Hard learning curve