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Review: Out of Line – a chilled platformer that can feel a bit lacking

Out of Line isn’t offensively rubbish or broken, nor are its mechanics frustratingly opaque. It’s not horrible to look at or listen to, and playing through it left me chilled, which is not necessarily how I finish all my platformer sessions, believe me. The puzzles and platforming are perfectly perfunctory, and though it takes a little while to get used to your spear – more on that in a sec – there’s not a single maddening sequence or frustrating boss fight to scupper your journey, making it wonderfully accessible for those who are new to the genre (or even new to gaming completely).

But after finishing up my second playthrough – my first took 90 minutes; my second just a little more than an hour – I’m still none the wiser as to what happened in this story, nor why. There are worst ways to while away an hour, granted, but though the game is beautifully simple – and simply beautiful – the truth is, it’s a bit… well, unremarkable. As pretty as Out of Line is with its hand-drawn artwork and haunting soundscape, it’s neither boring nor captivating. Neither terrible nor terrific. Instead, it sits somewhere in the middle of a mediocre no-man’s-land.

To be clear, this no-man’s-land isn’t necessarily a bad place. It’s just that the journey you take and the puzzles you encounter in Out of Line are not particularly memorable. There’s zero challenge here. Coupled with an incredibly light-touch story – you’re never formally introduced to the character you play as, and you never understand their motivations or backstory – it’s hard to decipher what, exactly, is going on.

Read more

Out of Line isn’t offensively rubbish or broken, nor are its mechanics frustratingly opaque. It’s not horrible to look at or listen to, and playing through it left me chilled, which is not necessarily how I finish all my platformer sessions, believe me. The puzzles and platforming are perfectly perfunctory, and though it takes a little while to get used to your spear – more on that in a sec – there’s not a single maddening sequence or frustrating boss fight to scupper your journey, making it wonderfully accessible for those who are new to the genre (or even new to gaming completely).

But after finishing up my second playthrough – my first took 90 minutes; my second just a little more than an hour – I’m still none the wiser as to what happened in this story, nor why. There are worst ways to while away an hour, granted, but though the game is beautifully simple – and simply beautiful – the truth is, it’s a bit… well, unremarkable. As pretty as Out of Line is with its hand-drawn artwork and haunting soundscape, it’s neither boring nor captivating. Neither terrible nor terrific. Instead, it sits somewhere in the middle of a mediocre no-man’s-land.

To be clear, this no-man’s-land isn’t necessarily a bad place. It’s just that the journey you take and the puzzles you encounter in Out of Line are not particularly memorable. There’s zero challenge here. Coupled with an incredibly light-touch story – you’re never formally introduced to the character you play as, and you never understand their motivations or backstory – it’s hard to decipher what, exactly, is going on.

Read more

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