Chillin’ In The Void

HIGH Easy to control and calming to play.

LOW Accidentally triggering a Game Over without warning.

WTF Why is there a giant tree in the middle of space?

Out There Omega: The Alliance is an updated version of Out There, a survival roguelike. Players wake up from cryosleep in a ship, lost in space and far from home. Equipped with some basic gear and minimal resources, they must traverse the galaxy while surviving the harshness of a strange galaxy. Along the way, players will find alien life (friendly and otherwise), diverse planets, and constantly wonder what may be around the next star.

As this is a roguelike, the game is played in runs. However, it’s also a low-stress experience as players engage with it through menus and text boxes, and players can take all the time they need to plan their next move.

Out There starts players with a star map and a single waypoint marking where they need to go to complete their run. They choose a nearby system to warp to, and then continue to plot their course from system to system. However, longer jumps required more resources.

Out There starts players with a star map, and a single waypoint marking where they need to go to complete their run. Players choose a nearby system on the map to warp to, and then continue to plot their course from system to system. However, the longer the jump, the more resources that are required to move to that system.

The central part of play is upgrading the ship and managing its resources. Players start with a standard-size craft and some general supplies that can repair the hull and refill oxygen and fuel tanks. Players may stumble across blueprints to build new parts that can make the ship more sustainable or help access new ways of getting resources, so how players build their ship will greatly affect the success of a run. 

Each system on the starmap holds up to four planets and a star or black hole. Each planet will hold a variety of elements – rocky planets hold metals for repairing the ship, while gas giants have fuel pockets that players can skim from. Occasionally there will be garden planets to refill the player’s oxygen and rare materials for advanced upgrades. Any aliens encountered may give the player free resources or ask for an escort back to its homeworld for additional reward. 

After each jump between systems, a random event will trigger. Some offer narrative musing from the pilot, while others will require the player to make a choice. For example, the pilot might observe a strange structure drifting in space, and players have the option to approach the structure or ignore it and move on. Ignoring the structure doesn’t affect the player, but approaching might trap them in orbit and cause them to lose resources trying to escape.

After players travel for a while, they’ll encounter a randomized midpoint story beat. One might be a monolith that will talk directly to the player, or the player might come across a fleet of enemy ships. These midpoints change the map and offer another waypoint that acts as an additional end goal, but only one mission can be completed per run, giving players reason to come back and keep experiencing the variety of goals and conditions that Out There has to offer.

Something I found unique about Out There is the atmosphere. Similar resource management titles often work from a sense or urgency — either there’s an enemy actively pursuing the player, or some threat the player must defeat. In contrast, Out There is much more relaxed. Yes, there’s still the need to make sure there are enough resources to get back home, but that’s it. Additionally, there’s no combat, the music is a soothing synth score laid atop visuals that are colorful and stylized. Since Out There is such a slow, methodical journey, it would put me into a zen state as I traveled through space.

On the other hand, Out There has communication issues that can cause some stress. If the player attempts to make a jump that may cause them to run out of a given resource, it will give a warning. However, warnings are not always given for situations that have similar consequences.

For example, I landed on a planet to drill for fuel, only to realize that my drill was broken. I could dismantle one of my ship’s upgrades and use the materials to to fix the drill, which I did, but the game failed to mention that dismantling that upgrade meant I wouldn’t be able to leave the planet. I did not win that run.

Another odd communication failure is that Out There never says anything about ship synergy. It offers basic info about upgrading a ship, but never explains that building certain upgrades adjacent to others will provide the best benefit. For instance, building solar sails grant more efficient use of fuel and synergize with the engine, a subspace folder. Synergies aren’t required and some will give a benefit regardless of placement, but players on harder difficulties will find mastering them to be mandatory.

Even with those miscommunications tripping me up, I found Out There Omega: The Alliance to be challenging but fair, and is something I’d recommend to Switch owners looking for a roguelike with tons of replay value to take on the go. I expect to die many, many, many more times before I’m done with it, but I’ll enjoy every mellow moment of exploring this endless frontier.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Raw Fury.  It is currently available on Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 8 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes. 

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Mild Language. There’s a rare d*** thoughout the game, but I haven’t encountered much language outside of that. There is talk of death and dying, so it may not be recommended for the very young gamers.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes .

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is text-based. While not resizable, the text is on dark backgrounds.

Remappable Controls: There are no remappable controls. There is no control diagram. Players can use the analog stick to move around, A to select, and B to cancel. Additionally, players can use the touchscreen to navigate the entire game.

Eugene Sax
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