Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.
March 2, 2014 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Out There is a roguelike (prev) space exploration game for iOS and Android.

The game shares some themes with FTL (prev, 2) such as random events and a sometimes-punishing level of difficulty, but with a larger emphasis on resource management and exploration. The game features a soundtrack from Siddhartha Barnhoorn and a comics-inspired graphic style.

You're a sole engineer on a routine trip to Ganymede who, after a cryostasis malfunction, wakes up hundreds of light years from home. As you head home, you'll scavenge resources from planets, learn alien languages, find new ships drifting in space, and agonize over whether to assign your last open slot to fuel or an equipment upgrade.

Review from The Verge. iTunes link. Google Play link.
posted by thecaddy (51 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
This game is getting compared to King of Dragon Pass, but I think the resemblance is superficial. Yes, you get presented with text-based decision points, but it lacks KoDP's deep simulation layer, and the decisions don't seem to carry over to other things in the same way.

Which is not to say that I don't enjoy Out There. I do. It's very atmospheric. I recommend playing each run in one sitting, perfecta blu in bed with headphones and the lights off.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:41 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


As you head home, you'll scavenge resources from planets, learn alien languages, find new ships drifting in space, and agonize over whether to assign your last open slot to fuel or an equipment upgrade.

Then I die.
posted by samhyland at 7:24 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


...but it lacks KoDP's deep simulation layer...

Having just deleted KoDP from my iPad because I needed to make room and realizing I never made it through the tutorial (again): hooray! I might stand a chance of actually enjoying and/or doing well at this game.
posted by griphus at 7:40 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


SO I haven't heard of it but there are a few things that make it a no sale for me and maybe someone can answer them
1) Are there in App purchases? (unless it is a "demo" you buy the whole thing I will NOT buy a game that has in app purchases)
2) Is it an online game? (I am olde I hate online games other gamers tend to bug the living shit out of me)
posted by mrgroweler at 8:07 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Mr. Groweler--both the iOS and the Google Play version say they have in-app purchases on the store, but I've been unable to find them anywhere in-game. I'm assuming that there's plans to eventually offer additional content, but right now the whole game is available in the initial download. (It's definitely not pay-to-win.)

Also, the game is totally offline--part of its charm is being alone in such a vast universe.

I will now back away from the thread slowly...
posted by thecaddy at 8:15 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


I am dangerously in love with FTL, and afraid to click any links because I have an iPad 1, which is now pretty much unable to do anything except retrieve e-mail, play Netflix and keep notes.
posted by Shepherd at 8:18 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Is this where I can openly wish for a new installment in the Escape Velocity series? I miss those games...
posted by schmod at 8:47 AM on March 2 [17 favorites]


Anyone have any tips for this game? It seems pretty brutally hard.
posted by yeoz at 9:02 AM on March 2


Is this where I can openly wish for a new installment in the Escape Velocity series? I miss those games...

YES, SO DO I.

If you could somehow mash Minecraft and Escape Velocity together into a single game, that would be My Perfect Game.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:04 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


Oh man, it's a whole $4, I'm just not sure. Better agonize over it for awhile, maybe go down to Starbucks and order a latté and consider whether I'd pay $4 when there's so many free games.
posted by Nelson at 9:14 AM on March 2 [12 favorites]


Anyone have any tips for this game?

Aim for the yellow dwarf stars (which is usually where you find life), don't drill unless you need metals to build something, always keep some iron on hand to fix the space folder, and mine gas giants frequently for fuel.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:15 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Will it work on my 2010 era android 2.3 phone?
posted by Joe Chip at 9:26 AM on March 2


... got warped somewhere, found a fancy new ship ... but all the surrounding systems were too far to travel to :( getting stranded like that really sucks.
posted by yeoz at 9:50 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Aaand I die. It's a choose your own death adventure!
posted by zippy at 9:56 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


The thing about mobile games, at least for me, is that I never have the time to sit down and play them in-depth. I've got a run on Oregon Trail that has lasted me months, and I still can't bring myself to put down a friend suffering with zombivitus.

If this is one of those things that works that way, being pretty good at putting down and picking up, then I'm in. If not, I'll have to keep on waiting for FTL's expansion...
posted by Howisstifflucky at 9:57 AM on March 2


Haven't really looked at this, but....

1. The term "roguelike" is thrown around an awful lot these days, isn't it? (I may have had a hand in that, honestly.) This doesn't look like a turn-based dungeon combat simulation on a regular grid at all. Maybe someone should compare it to the Berlin Interpretation? Of course, what's interesting about roguelikes isn't necessarily step-by-step combat in randomized dungeons with scrambled magic items, and this seems to fit what makes roguelikes interesting fairly well, but I'm starting to think the term might be getting a bit overused.

2. If you like this kind of thing, you really should look into Strange Adventures In Infinite Space, and its sequel, Weird Worlds.
posted by JHarris at 10:20 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Yes, that was my first thought as well. As good as this is -- and everyone seems to agree it's great -- it is in no way a roguelike.
posted by The Bellman at 10:29 AM on March 2


Is this where I can openly wish for a new installment in the Escape Velocity series? I miss those games...

Holy shit. Right before I noticed this thread I was googling for iOS Escape Velocity equivalents.

*theremins*
posted by brundlefly at 10:36 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


If you like this kind of thing, you really should look into Strange Adventures In Infinite Space, and its sequel, Weird Worlds.

Yeah! I loved SAIS. Bought it. Have no idea what became of it... now I need to find it again, which is hard with downloadable stuff purchased probably 8+ years ago.
posted by Shepherd at 11:04 AM on March 2


The term "roguelike" is thrown around an awful lot these days, isn't it? (I may have had a hand in that, honestly.) This doesn't look like a turn-based dungeon combat simulation on a regular grid at all.

It's a roguelikelike, comparable with FTL, where you warp to an environment and have to resolve the challenges of that environment before proceeding, and in which death is permanent and the map is recreated procedurally every time you play.

In FTL's case, the challenges are usually combat, and in real time. In Out There's case, the challenges are largely about environment and resource management - if I skim hydrogen from that gas giant, I will probably damage my ship's hull getting close enough, so I need to get iron to repair it, but if I mine for iron first I may not have enough fuel left to approach the gas giant, and if I build shields I will take less damage, but the ship I am piloting will have one fewer cargo space to store the fuel I am skimming - and are not in real time.

I think that for $4 it's terrific value - and no, there are no in-app purchases, and it wouldn't make sense to provide them; I imagine that this may be a way to offer expansion packs in the future rather than "100 extra helium for $1" now...
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:27 AM on March 2


I know running order squabble fest, I was just pointing out how the term roguelike is everywhere. This I think fits the bill, but in other areas anything with random content generation and/or permadeath is also getting called roguelike.

It is worth noting that the game's entry on the Google Play store promises in-app purchases, although I can't find any. The Apple App Store doesn't seem to list anything under most purchased IAPs, so I presume they aren't available yet. I've picked this up in the App Store, but I reserve the right to hate it if they wreck it with IAP.
posted by JHarris at 11:34 AM on March 2


I've finished the App Store version, and there are no IAPs, FWIW. I could email mi-clos and ask what they're planning if you like - I met them at an event in the indies stand...
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:42 AM on March 2


(Oh, and I feel you re: roguelike - I tend to call almost everything a roguelikelike, just to avoid that discussion...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:52 AM on March 2


I could email mi-clos and ask what they're planning if you like

Plans can change. Anyway, I'd rather approach this without outside knowledge, so whatever outrage I end up feeling is more aligned with that of a typical player.

I tend to call almost everything a roguelikelike

NOOO DON"T EAT MAH SHEILD
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Roguelikelike is the new Off-Off-Broadway.

It could be anywhere and anything.

It could even be ...you.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


The combat in FTL is real-time, except you can pause it whenever you want, which gives it that same micromanagement aspect that turn-based roguelikes allow. Where you sit there staring at it thinking "how am I going to get out of this mess?"

I feel that's more essentially roguelike than the procedural platformers like Spelunky or Rogue Legacy. Inventory management and make-or-break random drops are also pretty core to the rogue experience, and while I haven't (yet) played Out There!, those both are pretty core parts of FTL.
posted by aubilenon at 12:56 PM on March 2


Basically, nothing is in real time - you arrive at a star system, you look at what is in it, you decide what to explore and how, you explore, you move to the next star system. There's a sort of rock-paper-scissors deal - ore worlds take fuel to mine, but provide metals that can be used to repair your ship and build new technologies, gas giants damage your ship but can be skimmed for fuel, and garden worlds cost fuel to land on, and the heat of atmospheric entry does some damage to your ship, but will top up your oxygen to 100%, and can be explored for rare elements and alien bartering (which is a reliable way to learn new technologies).

So, it's like FTL in the sense that you are moving broadly left to right on a map, star by star, but it's properly turn-based, rather than pausable real-time. It's arguably a lot more roguelike than FTL - certainly inventory management and make-or-break resource distribution are vital: more often than not you end up either running out of fuel, running out of oxygen or blowing up from hull damage. There's more to it than that - equipment, anomalies, alien ships etc - but at heart it's a turn-based battle against scarcity.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:19 PM on March 2


I took a gamble with my $4 and it seems to work just fine.

First game: flying around, experimenting with the mechanics, drill drill drill, oooh cool elements, who needs hydrogen when I can have plutonium, and gold, and copper, and cobalt, and.... (stranded in the depths of space)
posted by Joe Chip at 4:30 PM on March 2


Roguelikes are like Rogue. What that means is open to the interpretations including the Berlin one, and the one it's getting at the moment.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:42 PM on March 2


Ok I gambled too it is pretty good so far... Only died 10 times
posted by mrgroweler at 4:47 PM on March 2


I'm starting to think the term might be getting a bit overused.

It is ridiculously overused. You are quite right about Strange Adventures/Weird Worlds. Out There is very similar to those, minus the combat.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 4:56 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


It's a cool wee game. Quite atmospheric.

Some tips... posted by jiroczech at 5:24 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Also, if you are short on fuel, _minimize risk_. Drill once with about 5 units, which should give you an idea of how much fuel there is in the gas giant. If it isn't much, start drilling with one unit, which will get you one ton of hydrogen - so, you double your investment, effectively. It's tedious, but it saves spending 4 units to get 2 tons, which is infuriating.

(Also, learn from my oft-repeated mistake - if you see a cool ship that is better than yours in every way, check that it has enough range to reach any of the nearby stars before you dismantle your space folder and its dependent technologies, and then find you don't have enough elements to rebuild them on the new ship.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:31 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


check that it has enough range

That JUST happened to me T_T
posted by aubilenon at 8:12 PM on March 2


Needs a take all button. Eventually I'll get through the tutorial. Maybe.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:32 PM on March 2


I liked roguelikes back when they were called simulations.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:13 PM on March 2


Where did the last 5 hours go...?
posted by Joe Chip at 10:13 PM on March 2


My only complaint so far is the frequency of really egregious spelling mistakes. I'll let you spot them.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:45 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


It's a two man team and they are French. I can forgive the errors.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 4:52 AM on March 3


You are quite right about Strange Adventures/Weird Worlds.

The third installment, "Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars" is in the works.
posted by eriko at 5:58 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


sounds great. I hated FTL because it was combat based.
posted by mwhybark at 6:14 AM on March 3


I grew up on rogue (and learned save-file-cheating) years before discovering nethack. Rogue was a friend of mine, a deeply frustrating friend that always let you down. That spawned a Quagga that would rip you to shreds. This, sir, is no roguelike

(and FTL is no roguelike, I bought it, fool me once .. )
posted by k5.user at 7:29 AM on March 3


I don't quite understand the drill/probe system as far as how much return I should be expecting at each depth.

Also every game I lost so far has been due to lack of fuel.
posted by curious nu at 7:38 AM on March 3


Incidentally, in case anyone else is wondering, it runs like a dream on the first-gen iPad.
posted by Shepherd at 10:37 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


[spoilers]

Ultimately, I decided I did not like this game. When the fleet shows up, perhaps 2/3 of the planets in the universe become inaccessible, and I always spend the remaining part of my game flying about not visiting planets, because they're blocked.
posted by quillbreaker at 3:49 PM on March 6


I've played a bit of this the past couple of days. I think the game is too unforgiving at the start. You pretty much have to scoop for fuel at every gas giant you encounter, which damages your hull, which means you have to mine for iron at every rocky planet you encounter, which pushes you towards needing more fuel, and so on in a big viscous circle of resource upkeep until you can find the plans and elements for something to increase efficiency enough to free you from that cycle -- and even then, it isn't freeing as much as slightly lessening how tightly you're chained to it.

In addition to that, you also have the random breakdowns and destruction of equipment threatening to end your game if you don't keep some spare materials handy. When you repair your hull, you aren't asked ahead of time how much of the Iron you want to put into it, to stop from putting the whole stack in you have to split the stack first, and you can only do that if you have an empty spot to put the stack into, which are in short supply. I lost a game because I was afraid of repairing my hull because I needed to have one or two spare Iron left over at all times in case of random equipment failure.

When you build something, you have to be very careful to build it in an appropriate place. When I constructed Solar Sails, they went directly in the spot I clicked to build. But to be useful they had to be adjacent to the engine, meaning I had to deconstruct them (at a waste of 1 AU) and rebuild them closer. Kind of frustrating.

I dunno. The game seems like it could be interesting, but the place at which that happens is a little further up the power curve from where you start, which is very close to the zero point, where you have very little leeway in terms of wasted actions if you want to survive.

Think of it like being chased by an angry bear that you're just very slightly faster than. If you trip, you get mauled, so you have to be very very careful not to trip, or waste any time at all. But if you can keep going long enough, you'll widen a little space between you and him, and then you can afford a little wasted time, to maybe use to scoop up rocks that you run by and toss the back at the bear. That slows down you a little, but it might dissuade his pursuit and open up more ground than you'll lose, where if you did it when he's right on your heels such a move would be suicidal. That space is what opens you up to using different strategies; without it, all you can do is run.

And if you lose, you aren't put at the place where the game starts to be interesting but back at the zero point, right back in front of the bear, meaning you basically have to grind along with nearly forced moves again until you can get back up to speed.
posted by JHarris at 1:42 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I don't mind that stuff so much, I mean the basic gameplay is just "mine gas giants for fuel, mine rocky planets for iron," but I feel like there's enough other stuff in there to spice it up, between technology and interacting with aliens and finding ships, not to mention all the random events.

One thing I've found useful is that if you have no cargo space left to build a technology, you can drill something and then temporarily swap out your excess cargo into the drill (I guess?) while you clear up an empty space on your ship. (You can do this if you find a new ship as well.) And if you find a new ship, it's usually good to transfer most of your cargo into it, and then mine as much stuff as you can in that solar systemas you can with your old ship before you take it over, so you don't waste fuel and oxygen.
posted by whir at 11:31 AM on March 7


I don't mind that stuff so much, I mean the basic gameplay is just "mine gas giants for fuel, mine rocky planets for iron,"

Yeah, that is an interesting thing.

It's one of those things in the game that's in there to make you feel like you're doing something, to lend narrative weight to the passage of time. If you didn't have to do that, then that early phase of the game would go much faster.

That's a weird things games do, and one of the things I've been thinking about, in my own project, is a way to have that passage of time thing without filling it with makework.
posted by JHarris at 12:05 AM on March 8



And if you lose, you aren't put at the place where the game starts to be interesting but back at the zero point, right back in front of the bear, meaning you basically have to grind along with nearly forced moves again until you can get back up to speed.


As much as I like the idea of roguelikes, this is my biggest problem with them. The beginning game is just not very interesting, and the beginning game is where you'll spend the majority of your time. Also, too many of them require grinding, which seems to defeat the point. So far, the best strategy I've found is to find a space station that gives fuel-refill, and then completely explore every system within a couple of jumps. Find tech, find aliens, hopefully find a better ship, et cetera. However: super boring.
posted by curious nu at 9:07 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


The best roguelikes combat that by making the opening vulnerable to occasional spikes of peril (even Rogue can kill you in the first couple of levels if several Hobgoblins find you in short succession), and giving you items to try to identify in the relative ease of those early levels.
posted by JHarris at 4:09 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Arrrrg I hate this game... Yes I have been playing it constantly...
posted by mrgroweler at 9:42 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


« Older The Motorbike Girl Gangs of Morocco: 'Kesh Angels ...  |  Human Terrain Systems is a U. ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments