Published on May 11th, 2020 | by Nathan Misa
Moving Out PS4 Review
Summary: A welcome and colourful addition to the growing list of local co-op party games this generation. Like Overcooked? Get Moving Out.
Remember all the clean-up, heavy lifting and planning that came with relocating houses?
Ever wonder what a very stressful moving out experience might be like as a game?
The Aussie developers behind Moving Out did, and somehow they’ve brilliantly captured such chaos and distilled it into a fun and frantic local co-op game where you and up to three friends work against the clock to help clear homes of their unusually fragile possessions and into a truck as fast as possible.
With a simple but amusing premise, colourful visuals and creative gameplay scenarios, Moving Out is a wacky and enjoyable multiplayer title, particularly in unprecedented times like these when we’re all stuck at home. But is it as good as its clear inspiration in the genre, Overcooked?
Yes and no. While they share the same publisher, Moving Out serves up its own unique flavour. This is couch-moving, couch co-op with its own twist, and all the same yelling, laughing, and chaotic fun that accompanies such a simple but replayable gameplay concept of moving furniture with friends.
Moving Out oozes style from the get-go with your introduction to a questionable removalist company sporting a cheesy 1980s aesthetic, complete with upbeat synth-pop music. As the newest Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician, or FART (an acronym that raises a chuckle no matter how old I get) you get a brisk opening tutorial explaining the mechanics before being let loose on the town of Packmore to tick off increasingly challenging moves.
Across 30 main levels, your team will take on a variety of bizarre and demanding removal jobs to try to get all items into a van as efficiently as possible – under the clock. The first few levels are simple suburban homes with a few quirks here or there – a snapping turtle that chases you, some annoying doors – but soon enough you’ll be frantically moving furniture out from airplanes, haunted mansions and across rivers and busy roads, making each stage fresh and entertaining.
After first completion of a level, you’re actively encouraged to beat your previous time score with additional challenges in the form of objectives to complete while aiming for gold. Playing with my wife, these incentives worked wonders in extracting the competitiveness within and the extra tasks added more spice to the game’s already frenetic and humorous physics-based gameplay.
Words cannot convey the hilarity, agony and enjoyment of Moving Out’s core formula. Controls are straightforward for everyone to understand and the mission is simple, but there is so much that can go wrong – not just from unforeseen problems during the move, but player-made chaos.
You’re able to pick up items, throw items into the van, and jump over obstacles… but it does not take long to realise you can slap friends out of the way for the fun of it, throw fragile items in pools to troll, jump through windows and destroy the poor owner’s home for your amusement. Simple but entertaining possibilities! I will say that all of this player-made chaos is considerably less fun when playing solo, and most levels are arguably much harder. While the first parts of the game felt like it was bordering on same-ness far quicker than Overcooked, the second half delivers with a variety of unlockables and crazy scenarios that keep your party guessing and demand expert teamwork and coordination to succeed – hope you guys like lava!
It’s probably a good thing you have these avenues of stress relief available, because the gruelling nature of moving heavier items like couches or appliances (which need to be ripped from sockets) into the van in a timely manner is impossible if communication isn’t on-point with your fellow co-op partners. Seriously, Moving Out is hard. This comes from a guy who has 100% completed Overcooked. Just getting all the items in the truck is a task in itself; I fell short of silver by the end of most levels, tearing my hair out when I wasn’t slapping pesky ghosts and laughing at my wife struggling with a couch stuck in the doorway.
The silly presentation of the game has to be praised for both its quirkiness and ability to offset the stress players might feel during another failed job. Loading screens often have sarcastic advice that plays up the cheesy ‘80s ridiculousness of FART, the aforementioned synth-pop soundtrack is catchy, and the humorous banter between your team’s characters at the start of each level praising their greedy boss and poor working conditions unironically is worth a chuckle or two (surely we all know an indoctrinated employee or two). Graphically, the game is colourful, wacky and as appealing on the eye as Overcooked, with its own distinct artstyle that really lends to its constructed world of chaotic removalist fantasies.
The characters you start off with (more are unlocked as you play) are all anthropomorphic animals or weirdos with a toaster or plant pot on their head and can be customised in a limited fashion – one neat option is the inclusion of wheelchair characters, which is an extension of the great accessibility options the developers put into Moving Out. Assist Mode can be toggled on to help players tailor the game toward their particular needs, including easier difficulty, longer time limits, slower obstacles, more easily moveable heavy items and the ability to skip levels. Giving everyone more choice in how they want to play is honestly a great inclusion, especially for players put off by the default difficulty – just have a go and enjoy the chaos at your own pace.
Aside from Assist Mode, SMG Studio went the extra mile in accessibility to accommodate all types of players. There’s re-mappable inputs, icon-based visuals (rather than colour-coded), toggles for holding or throwing objects, a dyslexic friendly option and scaling for the user interface which, for anyone playing on a faraway couch with a big TV but still can’t read the interface, is an absolute god-send. All of these options show clear effort and consideration put into all aspects of the game, and shines as an example for how games can better cater to more unique gaming needs.
Moving Out is a home-grown indie effort that quite literally embodies the best of couch co-op. If you’re a fan of multiplayer experiences like Overcooked and Tools Up, this is a game to pick up – especially if you have a group of friends or family to join in the entertaining chaos.