Out There is an old go-to recommendation for a lot of mobile stalwarts, but I could never really get into it. This sci-fi survival game that blended elements of interactive fiction and roguelike mechanics just felt a little off-balance and a little too random for my liking. After being out for six years though, Out There has gone through some changes. The latest of which is a content update entitled “The Alliance” that looked just interesting enough for me to try and pick up the game all over again.
Most of “The Alliance” update adds new content to the game, including the following:
- 30 stories
- 3 ships
- 1 ending
- 1 technology
- An alien escort mechanic
- The ability to unlock and start with different ships
This update also features some new visual polish and more varied planet locations.
I guess I was hoping that this new content would somehow make the randomness I experienced before at least feel more varied. This is true, but this variety also did something more for me: It made me stick with Out There long enough to really develop a feel for the game, and now I can’t stop playing it.
Part of what makes Out There unique is how it doesn’t play like anything else. Although it might look like a game about space exploration, it really isn’t. It’s about survival. Individual planets don’t matter unless they have something you need. Otherwise, you need to skip your way as far across the universe as possible while being as efficient as possible in hopes of avoiding a terrible death.
With procedural-generation and randomness, it’s inevitable that you’ll die in Out There. You’ll probably die a lot, but you can live longer if you avoid dangerous situations, which in this game translates to almost everything. This means it’s actually in your best interest to be skipping over planets or blowing past other bits of game content, which understandably feels foreign. Most video games are designed for you to see everything it has to offer, and you do that by exploring every inch of it and playing it to completion. For Out There, you end up seeing everything through all of your failed attempts, and some of your most successful runs might involve skipping huge chunks of the map.
Once you internalize this, Out There becomes much more rewarding. “The Alliance” content update helped me see that, and it also made the game more playable and varied than it’s ever been.