Outer Wilds - not to be confused with The Outer Worlds - finally has a release date after yonks in development. Mobius Digital say it's landing next Thursday, May 30th. I'm a bit excited for this one, as I've had an eye on it ever since its early days as a short, free proof-of-concept demo in 2013. It's your first day as a low-budget space explorer, but it'll be a long one as it's also the day your miniature-scale solar system collapses and gets sucked through a time warp. So it's off repeatedly planet-hopping in your janky little spacecraft, in search of a way to break the cycle. See the launch trailer below.
Outer Wilds isn't a realistic game by any scientific measure, but it looks to have enough internal consistency to sell its strange little space-fantasy. Tiny toy planets, little more than dioramas that you could walk entirely around in minutes, are dense with explorable terrain. It's just a matter of landing your fragile, physics-driven ship safely on their surface, which can be tricky if it's a planet shaking itself apart, or bombarded by falling debris. There's a sense that space (even adorable mini-space) is a dangerous place, and oxygen is in limited supply if you manage to ding up your ship.
Of course, daredevil lunar lander action is only half the game. The other half is a big space puzzle, perhaps with a little bit of Myst edge to it. There's alien glyphs to decode, a disappearing moon, areas that can only be accessed at certain points during the solar system's collapse and characters to meet. Developers Mobius Digital are keen to emphasise that there's no procedural generation stuff out here. There's a lot to explore on these little worlds, but it's all assembled by human hands and part of the larger mystery, rather than arbitrarily placed by algorithms.
Outer Wilds will be first landing on the Epic Store on May 30th, and is included in the current big sale. Its official price is £20/€21/$25, but is around 50% or more off depending on region, until the sale ends next month. It's published by Annapurna Interactive.