Have you played… Out There?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I feel a bit bad for Out There, which can loosely be described as a more forlorn, non-combat take on FTL. I put so much time into its mobile version that, by the time its spit’n’polished PC version rolled around, I had almost nothing left to take from it, let alone say about it.

A disservice for sure: it has far fewer moving parts and perhaps not the longevity of FTL, but I think it possibly makes its central concept more tangible. Where FTL is hand-on-the-back pressure and abstracted spaceship/crew management, Out There is about only you, lost in space.

It feels lonely: there is no-one to talk to, at least not in a language you can understand. There aren’t even enemies to taunt you: there is just the tank ever-emptying of fuel, the vast expanse of unknown to cross, the risk and fleeting rewards of mining and planetfalls.

It feels like the maudlin unheroics of 70s sci-fi, not the twitchy bombast of the post-Star Wars age. A simple thing, perhaps even too punitive too, but it’s a gem. Seek it out if you’ve never been lost in its emptily pretty space before.

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  1. GernauMorat says:

    I have, and I love its’ style – very Clarke in some ways. The thing is though, the game is too reliant on random chance – much more than something like FTL – and is therefore very frustrating. You seem to have almost no control over the game, just guessing and hoping for a good result.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      This is the experience I had.
      I must have started the game about twenty times, but only twice did I get more than a few jumps before I ran out of fuel.
      In a more ‘rogue-y’ game like FTL, where there’s not much plot, constant restarts don’t harm it much, but when a game relies on it’s plot much more like Out There does it’s frustrating to be constantly starting over again. It would be like trying to watch a film that keeps getting rewound to the beginning after every five minutes.

  2. mouton says:

    A bit too random for my tastes and I love FTL. Would love if the game games was a bit deeper/had more content as I did like the atmosphere.

    But I guess that’s the way with games that originate on mobile – they are doomed to be rather shallow for worn-out PC gamers.

  3. clive dunn says:

    I properly love Out There. I was talking to my dad about the writing in this game and how it reminded me of classic sci-fi books. There is a lightness and a philosophy and a feeling that the writer has thought about what space travel would feel like. So many space games just have you steering a giant microwave oven around with no consideration for the mind expanding qualities of interstellar travel.
    I’d love to see a reletively hollow game like Elite have the writing of this game, the desperation, the elation, the confusion and mystery. So many space games are hamstrung by their imaginative limitations. The space of Asimov, Herbert, Clarke et al deserves more than these trucker/blaster simulations. Until we get out there and find that space is (probably) empty and dull we should indulge our imaginations, similar to before we explored and ’emptied’ our solar system and writers could let loose their minds with the crazy and wierd stuff.
    I also like the randomness of Out There, there’s even dead ends where you end up backtracking and just suffocating. It makes no apologises for this, it’s just tough luck, so you just start again. Sucks when you had a good ship all knitted out with esoteric gadgets but that’s the game. Deal!

    • ZippyLemon says:

      I feel like I have to stick up for the Universe and suggest it isn’t exactly “empty and dull”… and we spot new points of interest, closer and closer, all the time! :D

  4. theapeofnaples says:

    I shall be seeking this out.


  5. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    I really enjoyed this one–it definitely feels more suited for mobile platforms, but it’s worth checking out on PC too. Brutally unfair–so much depends on finding a new ship to use, which based on pure random chance–but that seemed appropriate to me. It’s less a game about “winning,” and more about dying alone in the cold void of space, with maybe a few last glimpses of beauty caught along the way.

    These devs also made Void & Meddler, a flawed but wonderfully evocative cyberpunk adventure game, which I’d also recommend. Episode 2 is (I think) supposed to be out next month.

  6. Joshua Northey says:

    I played this game recently and it was great. It is not *that difficult*, you just need to be very cautious, you can absolutely have a sessio nruined by the RNG, but that is sort of a feature not a bug in this sort of game. For example I had a very successful run that was going perfectly until an event destroyed the module that gave me extra range for my jumps. Unfortunately I was in a part of the map where that made me stuck with too few resources to get out.

    Life isn’t all chocolate boxes and roses, its dirtier than that.

    • xyzzy frobozz says:

      Yeah, but if I want to play life and endure all of its diappointments, I get out of bed and go to work.

      If I want to play a game I want to enjoy it and have some hope of an end state that can loosely be defined as “winning”.

      Whereas the end state of life is death via circumstances out of my control.

      Much like a session of Out There.

      • xyzzy frobozz says:



        The end state is fucking depressing anyway – humans didn’t matter anyway, so we sacrificed them for the greater good. You just happenedcto be asleep in a spaceship when we carried out our genocide.

        Sucks to be you.

      • mouton says:

        That is your opinion, some people also want to see only cheerful movies and read cheerful books. Nothing wrong about it, but other people do want the whole scope of emotions and ends in their cultural media.

        • xyzzy frobozz says:

          Thanks for informing me that my opinion is my opinion.

          I’ll let you in on a little secret…. your opinion is, like, your opinion too man.

          • kavika says:

            Man, shooters would be so good if it weren’t for all the violence! And a new genre was born… Maybe rogue-likes don’t have to have in immanent danger lurking just around the corner? Do you think this game would be as fun (slash more fun) if you couldn’t be screwed by the RNG gods as long as you got your strategy ducks in a row?

  7. vorador says:

    This game is completely reliant on luck. You personal skill doesn’t matter in the least. You get lucky, or you die.

    So yeah, it can be frustrating. But if you go with the mindset to enjoy the ride rather than to win the game, it can get quite enjoyable.

  8. internisus says:

    Yes, I bought it full price when it hit Steam because RPS had a high opinion of it, and I think it’s a terrible game. It’s a resource-juggling chore in which all that matters is the luck of what you stumble across, and your choices have very little bearing upon your success.

    Also, the writing is awful but thinks it’s quite clever. Try this:

    Day 63 _

    Let’s say I find a magic lamp drifting in space and it allows me one wish. What would I wish for?

    I must admit to a craving for sausages. Maybe I could return to Earth, but discretely, so I can have some sausages without needing to tell my story a thousand times.

    No… My wish would be to find out what I really want.

    Oh, barf.

    One of the game’s selling points is that it has no combat; it’s just you against the environment. Well, maybe if it did have combat I’d actually feel like I have some control over what happens. The idea of a game without combat appeals to me! But it needs to be better designed than this.

    Out There is no FTL. There’s no real strategy that you can employ as you play to have a greater chance of success. In the moment-to-moment gameplay, it’s just dull, while in the grand scheme of a full session it’s frustrating. Possibly my most-regretted purchase last year.

    • Monggerel says:

      On a scale of Jack Chick to Cormakovlany ShakesBronte that snippet of writing is a solid 5. I see nothing wrong with it. Sausages are both righteous and appropriate.

      • Geebs says:

        Well, “discreetly” is spelt wrong, for a start.

      • internisus says:

        My main problem is the “My wish would be to find out what I really want” twist. It’s shouting at me to look at how clever and full of pathos it is, but it’s eye-rollingly tacky in any context other than a 13-year-old’s diary.

      • internisus says:

        It’s actually made worse by the sausages stuff because that has a rather silly tone to it, so the woe-is-me twist of “I would spend my wish to find out what it is that I truly wish for” comes with a whiplash bonus.

        • Cronstintein says:

          Yeah, I actually liked it fine until the last sentence. Wishing for sausages, or Earth, as a two-for-one to GET sausages is ok by me.

  9. draglikepull says:

    Felt incredibly grindy and aimless to me. You go to a planet, mine a few minerals, then go to another nearby planet, mine a few minerals . . .

    I never felt like I was making any interesting decisions or enacting any kind of strategy. You just float around watching your oxygen and fuel meters slowly bounce up and down.

  10. xyzzy frobozz says:

    I played it on mobile, where I think it’s a decent game.

    But I think it’s a terrible PC game.

    Make of that what you will.

    • Blastaz says:

      I agre 100%

    • mouton says:

      It isn’t a terrible PC game. It does suffer from being a bit too simple on a platform accustomed to greater depth.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    I played a lot of this while on a business trip to London where I found out that I’d be out of a job in three months (which wasn’t totally unexpected but still sucked there and then). The “Space Oddity” mood, the relative simplicity and the feeling of being all alone with relatively little control over my fate – they worked perfectly there and then. As a mood piece on mobile phones, I think it does what it does extremely well; you mainly need to adjust your expectations, or accept that what it does might not be what you’re looking for.

  12. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    And if this still sounds too upbeat to you, play Capsule by Adam Saltsman!

  13. RyanCory says:

    My uncle Angelia recently got a new blue Subaru BRZ Coupe just by some part time working online with a PC… learn this here now …vr

    ++++> Here Are The Details

  14. LogicalDash says:

    I think at least one ending has been added since you played, Alec, and there’s a new game mode slated for the next release.