Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Our friends played Moving Out last year at PAX and thought it was extremely entertaining. Sadly, I never got to try it out while we were at PAX. So I finally got my hands on it. I would have never guessed that a physics-based arcade moving “simulator” would be so much fun. It has colorful cartoonish graphics, great level design, and wonderful dialogue.
The idea behind Moving Out is pretty simple, you are a moving company worker that has to get all of the stuff required into the truck. At first, you might think this sounds like it’s going to be a cake walk and for the first few levels you would be right. Then it starts to get really difficult to not break items and stack everything into the truck. You will have to throw, jump, and smoosh things into the truck. A few times it reminded me of the gif of the lady trying to squish herself into the train car. One thing I really liked about Moving Out is the difficulty ramp. Generally, games that feature “levels” go from being easy to intensely difficult in just a few stages. Moving out does a great job introducing a new obstacle and not making it so difficult that you give up.
Moving Out has couch co-op with up to 4 players so the whole family can join in. My wife and I used it to relax after playing the much more stressful and infuriating COD: Warzone. I think it also helps build communication and improves how you work together as a team. Through playing Moving out, I think that I have a better understanding of my wife’s instincts when she is playing games. Which, maybe I am reaching, might be part of the reason we have overall been doing better in more competitive games. The couch co-op feature is sorely needed. Most games today, even if they lend themselves to split-screen, don’t feature this ability and it limits who can play and when. I get the decision to follow this pattern because it just sells more copies. It’s just nice to see a company recognize that this is a family game and that a family should play together. One thing that I think should be mentioned is the inclusion of an assist mode. This can help those that might not be able to play the game in the typical manner (maybe too young or disabled). It makes the game a bit easier or lets another person co-pilot (use a second controller to help the other player). It is just a great little edition to the game that I think deserves a mention.
When you get to a job you will be shown which items need to be moved. Luckily not everything needs to be moved (in most cases). Some items will be breakable, some will take one person and others will take two people to move. There are many obstacles that will get in your way like narrow hallways, ghosts, buzz saws, and lasers among many other things. Surprisingly, a lot of the time it’s the hallways that will hold you up; trying to fit an L shaped couch through it can be tricky and require many 3-point turns. The final problem is getting everything to fit in without breaking the fragile items and getting the couches or fridges or cryogenic chambers into the truck. Some of the items are floppy and can roll out of the truck or cause other items not to stick to them. It’s a mess and hilarious seeing the final product. Everything is lopsided or upside down or the cardboard boxes are squished under a fridge.
To make it more difficult, you are racing against the clock and can get extra points by completing some outrageous challenges. Like break all of the glass in the house, or pack the turtle, or don’t use the stairs to move anything. It’s madness when you have to do that and sometimes, I am unsure how anyone is supposed to be able to move the items in such a short amount of time to get the gold medal. That’s right you aren’t just fighting against time but you get graded by how much time it takes you. I think we were only able to get two or three golds during our first run through. To get the top medals and get the additional challenges will take many play throughs and some serious planning. What I really enjoyed about each move is that it only takes about ten minutes so there is no worry of getting lost in the game and playing all night.
The story is just as outrageous as the rest of the game. You will become a part of a scheme that is much larger than you could have ever imagined. The movers go from humble blue-collar workers to saving the city (and maybe the world) from a devious plot. There were a number of times I laughed out loud because of the ridiculous twists and turns. On top of that they came up with some dialogue that is gold and kind of reminded me of the Regular Show episode where Rigby works as a mover. It talks about making sure to lift with your back, that moving stuff is a vacation, or moving is so rewarding that you ignore your boss’ orders. The characters are just as crazy. You can choose from a person with a toaster head, octopus head, a unicorn, a person in a wheel chair (I like the representation), and many others. I loved the toaster head because he ejects toast as he is working but when you are trying to move a heavy object the toast burns and pops out all black. My wife liked the unicorn and it probably has one of the funniest heavy lifting reactions; it farts rainbows. This is something that my niece and nephew would find hilarious and next time they are out we are, for sure, going to play Moving Out with them.
As you play through the levels you can/will unlock arcade games that can be visited at any time. All of the games that you unlock are challenges and are generally extremely difficult too complete. Like moving a couch across a moving hallway or throwing boxes over a river of lava while your teammate has to catch them. We only completed a few of them because they are so dang hard. These aren’t a major part and don’t stop you from completing the game it’s just one extra challenge you can take on.
I would suggest this game for anyone. From people who don’t play games or are trying to find an entry place to people who are avid gamers. This is especially good for gamer parents or gamer kids with non-gamer parents. The inclusion of co-op and an assist mode allows anyone to play from small children to a disabled person(s). I really loved this game from start to finish. Even when the game became super difficult, I never really got frustrated because of the relentlessly fun and funny aspects of the game. Mix in the cute cartoony graphics, story, and gameplay you get a top tier game for chilling out after a long day or to spend a rainy afternoon with the kids (or right now while we area all stuck inside). It can be picked up for around $20-$25 on almost any store or it is included in Xbox’s game pass (which you can get for as low as $1 for a month). My recommendation is to play it now!