Excerpt: Outland is a 2D platformer developed by Housemarque and published by Ubisoft for the PlayStation Network. It is also available on the Xbox Live Arcade. The main character is suffering from visions and seeks out a Shawman. The Shawman reveals that there is a conflict and the world is split between light and darkness. The protagonist can switch between red and blue to defeat foes of both colors as well as traverse through varied environments.
Excerpt: 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.
Conclusion: Outland isn't for everyone. Its seemingly simple gameplay becomes surprisingly complex as you progress, and you'll need lightning reflexes to get through the later levels. But for those who like a challenge, Outland most ably provides one, and does so in a framework that is both beautiful and well constructed. It's not pefect, but Outland offers a very satisfying gaming experience for those who are willing to stick with it.
Excerpt: There is no shortage of platformers this generation. You have system staples like Ratchet & Clank and Super Mario Galaxy, but there are also a set of games that didn't exist just five or six years ago. The downloadable game is something that came about in the past half-decade and it has allowed developers to release games that otherwise would not have seen the light of day.
Excerpt: First Impressions My reaction is Platforming is not what it used to be. Then again neither is gaming nor, in fact, are gamers. Things have changed, gaming has developed and classic platforming is nostalgic but passé. Be that as it may, I am one of many gamers with a soft spot for some good old-fashioned 2D platforming, especially since I often find 3D platforming to be frustrating and uninspired.
Excerpt: Scrounging around the PlayStation Network again, looking for a good reason to spend your last paper buffalo? Well then prepare to get your money’s worth and then some more, with Housemarque’s majestic 2D action/cinematic/puzzle platformer, Outland. Barely breaking the bank at $10 and weighing in at a humble 1GB download, Outland promises to find a special place in your gaming arsenal.
Summary: Outland is a genius combination of bullet hell shooter and "Metroidvania" platformer. Its stylish presentation and polished mechanics make traipsing through its world a joy. Marred slightly by repetition and a muddled story, Outland is still one of the freshest, most original platformers in years.
Pros: Brilliant mash-up of genres, Inspired art direction, Co-op missions add variety, Fantastic bosses
Excerpt: Outland is a game none too shy about its influences, exhibiting equal reverence to the Belmont clan's castle crashing, candle-whipping legacy and Treasure's frenzied polarity play Ikaruga. It's an unusual pairing to say the least, but the resulting product is a fun (if a bit fleeting) proof of concept showing that opposites really do attract in the end.