If you’ve seen Gravity, Alien, Apollo 13, or any other movie set in space, then you know that a lot can go wrong. In that airless, uninhabitable environment, humans rely on tools to keep them alive. In Out There, you play as an astronaut who’s alone on a ship, far from home, and wants to get back safely. To put it bluntly, a lot goes wrong.
Out There is a game about resource management. You start with a ship equipped with a handful of tools, plus a small stockpile of fuel, oxygen, and hull metal. As you hop from system to system, you can probe and drill planets to collect more resources.
Of course, flying through space depletes your fuel and oxygen, and your tools need to be maintained. Keeping your resources up provides the groundwork of the game, but a lot of variables get into the mix as well. As you travel, you’ll encounter black holes, meet strange creatures, learn their words, and experience ship failures that range from minor to catastrophic.
Oftentimes you’ll have to react to a situation based on incomplete knowledge. Make the right choice, and you’ll move on. Make the wrong choice, and you might die. This makes these decisions meaningful, but the consequences can also feel disheartening if you’re not willing to invest a good deal of time and mental energy in the game.
But I found the Out There utterly engrossing. It’s not an easy game, and luck isn’t always on your side. Nor is it flashy; most of the action takes place in text boxes and resource menus. But if you meet the game halfway, you’ll probably forget you ever wanted to play flashy, action-packed games, at least for a while. Out There is something special.