Just before Christmas I was sat at home, watching some Christmassy TV when my mum comes in from the kitchen asking me if I had played Outer Wilds – At first I thought she said The Outer Worlds, but she corrected me. I asked her how come? My mum doesn’t have much interest in games outside of Mario Kart and Spyro, so I was obviously intrigued… Apparently she had been watching The Gadget Show and they were talking about it, how stunning and beautiful it was; not only that but how amazing the storyline was and that it was only £18. She said they were saying it was the recent ‘game to play’, and if you didn’t have it, you should get it… So I got it. Here are my first thoughts on this beautiful game; with a few tips and a couple of spoilers (warning for those who like to go in completely blind), by the way!

When you boot up the game you wake up in a little campsite with a fellow alien who is busy toasting marshmallows on a fire – You can sit and have a chat with them, and even toast some marshmallows yourself (be careful not to burn them) – Your new pal asks you if you’re ready to go up into space today, and informs you you have to go grab the launch codes before you set off. Walking through the crater near your campsite, you come across more aliens and various things you can do, such as investigating and reading – I highly recommend you do this, as this area acts as a little tutorial for the rest of the game.

Reading everything also gives you tips on where to explore, and exactly what it is you’re looking for – Exploration is the whole point of this game. On my first walk through I died pretty quick as I decided to jump into a geyser (yeah don’t do that), and that’s how I learnt that death is actually a mechanic of this game. As you explore, every time you die you wake up in the exact time and place you started… This is a really important game mechanic so don’t be too worried if you die.

Once you’ve learnt everything there is to learn in the crater, it’s time to take off and explore new planets… However I’d suggest you start off with your home planet’s moon. Exploring is fun, there’s a fair bit to learn on each planet and astral area, but you often don’t have time to walk the whole thing before you run out of fuel or oxygen, or… Something else. So try and identify places to land close to areas you want to explore. Out on the planet you can come across other travellers, located using your signalscope and finding their music – Chatting to them will give you further clues of where to explore, and it’s worth going back to them when you find out new things as they will have more to say. Lastly I would suggest exploring the surface of each planet first before delving deeper, as you will only end up finding end game stuff early. Each time you die and restart, your ship log will update and show you all the rumours and things you’ve found. Make good use of this!

Gameplay is fairly quick to pick up on – Ship control is hard at first, and you may crash land and die a few times, but it gets much easier as you practice. If you cause minor damage to your ship on landing, don’t worry because you can fix it! As this is pretty much a walk around and explore game, there’s no combat to worry about (well, not that I’ve found) – This gives you plenty of opportunities to appreciate just how stunning and well put together this game is. With exploration as the main mechanic, you can really dive in and enjoy the beauty of everything around you. As you play through the story you start to feel as though your untangling of the truths and mysteries of a real universe, and it’s SO GOOD. I really don’t want to give away too much because the enjoyment is finding it for yourself; the only problem I’ve had so far is getting my ship stuck in trees and not being able to wiggle out of it… If this happens, I just explore where I am.

If you find yourself waiting for the big games this year and want to pick up something before then, then this is it. If you haven’t got it yet, you need to get it! If I’d have played this more last year I would 100% have named it my game of the year; it is brilliant. Pick it up and start your adventure now! It’s such a good price and such a good game.

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