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Have you played… Out There?

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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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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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