The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable best thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
There were a lot of games released this week, a surprisingly large amount in fact, and there were plenty of great ones in that list. But one title stood out as rather special among the pack, and that game is Out There [$3.99] from Mi Clos. Out There sees you in the role of an astronaut who, during a cryogenic sleep, goes off course and ends up… somewhere. You awake to find yourself in completely unfamiliar territory somewhere in the vastness of space, with nothing but the shirt on your back, so to speak. Your job is to make smart use of your resources on hand and the capabilities of your ship in order to inch yourself closer and closer back to your home planet of Earth.
Out There puts you up against impossible odds and forces you to use your wits and a bit of luck in order to get yourself out of a life-threatening situation. There’s permadeath, meaning every attempt at getting back home is a one shot deal. Don’t make it, and all the equipment, items and anything else earned in your run goes bye bye and your next attempt starts as fresh as the first time you played. It’s not an easy task by any means, and an otherwise phenomenal run can be snatched away with even the tiniest stroke of bad luck, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting further than ever in a subsequent run.
Another aspect about Out There that’s sometimes not given enough attention in roguelike games is story. Sure, you’re given the basic premise of being lost and tasked with getting back home, but there is so much detail in the various planets and solar systems you’ll explore that it brings more meaning to your actions. There’s a hint of choose your own adventure in the storytelling, giving you options in how you deal with your various encounters and situations in the game. It really feels like there’s a full, actual universe with its own lore packed into Out There.
What really sets Out There apart from the rest of the games this week is how well it captures the feeling of being stranded and almost helpless out in space. It’s a lonely, scary feeling, and I’m not going to lie but the vast majority of your attempts to find your way home will end in your own demise. It’s a startling realization, but also makes it that much more satisfying to do well in a run when the odds are against you, and eventually, actually beat the game and see one of its various endings. I haven’t got there yet, but I sure am having fun trying over and over and over again. Out There is a beautiful, challenging experience, make sure you check it out.