Outland Review

Deep black foregrounds clutter with inkblot enemies and platforms fringed with colorless vegetation. Monochrome backgrounds drape and clash, painting the scenery in deep greens and yellows. A slim protagonist evades the dangers as he searches for help.

What’s your name? Doesn’t matter. What’s your past? No idea. You have no identity. No face. You have a disease, a sickness that needs curing. Dreams haunt you at night about a life you haven’t lived. You seek a shaman and an answer. He tells you a legend of twin sisters, one from the sun, and the other from the moon. One light, one dark. In their zeal, they tried to destroy your world. A warrior rose against and destroyed them. Then the answer comes: you’re the warrior reincarnate. And your dreams reflect that which you must do for a second time. The slim protagonist now needs to change.

You gain a sword. You gain a slide attack. You can now fight. The black troops can now be downed. However, sprinkled amongst the dark foes are some shaded in red and blue. There are unsuspecting geysers spraying red and blue streams. And in some corners of the barren world, there are transparent platforms with a blue or red tone. There’s something different about these colors. Something powerful. Once again, you need to change. You find a mystic portal built like a gothic cathedral. Crumbling, dilapidated, this gate gives you power.


You now glow with a blue hue, able to absorb the geysers of blue light, but unable to harm enemies of the same color. You can progress as the blue transparent platforms solidify, allowing access to new areas. You now have the power of the first sister. But it’s not enough. You’ve changed, but further adaption is needed. You soon discover a second gate, one that is saturated in red.


The second sister’s power gives you more abilities. More change. And the world reacts. Its areas populate with orbs of blue and red light. Red and blue pillars shoot across the sky and the ground. You never stop changing, red to blue, absorbing the light and sprinting through the chaos. You face giants. You face peons. The slim protagonist is now a warrior, shifting from here to there, taking in the light as he goes.

The world, while growing, remains enclosed. Hopping from area to area, you continue to gain new powers. First you can transport between portions of the world. Then you can attack with a yellow beam of light. Soon, you can knock down entire walls with a single blow.

But the changing never stops. Once just a slim protagonist with only the option of evasion, you are now a walking demigod. You are responsible for taming the two celestial beings that aim to “uncreate” the world. In you, their power lives. You can never go back to what you were. The ambient music offers little ease. The lucid narrator cannot change your story.

You are alone. Aside from the shaman left sleeping in his hut, your only company is your enemies. And the changing doesn’t stop. The enemies grow stronger, but you adapt. The blue and red lights curl and thicken, growing like vines as the puzzles become more and more challenging. The bosses of the world tower above you. But you continue to change and find them wanting.

In the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the world of Outland, the slim man doesn’t even need a face. From evasion to retribution, you find your identity in your adaption. And in the end, the slim protagonist continues to move on, mute and remembered by others he’s never encountered.


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Author: Greg Galiffa View all posts by
Greg Galiffa is an Associate Editor at GamerNode. He's also an apologist for the first TMNT film. You can follow him on Twitter @greggaliffa

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