Out There

This simple and unforgiving strategy game effectively conveys the loneliness and risk of space exploration.

Out There review

It's the 22nd Century and, as those of us alive at the start of the 21st Century might have predicted, things aren't going so well for humankind. Earth is exhausted, grown pale and plundered by its dominant species' greed and unchecked procreation. But there's another pressing issue for Out There's protagonist, one of the astronauts sent into space to locate more resources for the folks back home: his missing CD collection.

With the knowledge that he would be put to sleep aboard the Nomad while the spacecraft crept towards Jupiter, he chose to leave his music at home. After all, he wouldn't have much need for it while lost in cryonic sleep. But when he eventually awoke, in some far-flung solar system, it proved a regretful decision. Alone out there and without a Material Girl or a YMCA to dance to, you've only the flitting of the stars and the fine whirr of the screens for company.

This is just one of the hundreds of succinct snatches of storyline that contribute to Out There's ambiance: a bleak yet hopeful quest for survival against a universe of stacked odds. These diary entries pop up at the start of each new day and add a texture of melancholy narrative to what is, beneath the theme, a cruel and unforgiving strategy game. Out There is a game of risk. You play as a lone space survivor, adrift in space with only a tankful of fuel and oxygen and a bleeping red light on the map to act as a destination. You must gamble your resources as you creep towards your goal, choosing where to stop off to replenish your stocks. The risk is that you run out of fuel or oxygen before you find a stop-off point. The reward is that you get to see another day marked by another sunrise from a new sun.

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