At the back end of the last year I reviewed Tools Up! in which I heavily noted that I was useless at DIY. Give me a nail and a drill and you’re more likely to see a trip to A&E than any sort of home improvements being fulfilled. Moving Out on the Xbox One has a similar DNA to games such as Overcooked and Tools Up!. This time the hook is a removal service, tasked to quickly vacate people’s homes of their prized possessions. Throwing everything out alongside the kitchen sink is probably more akin to my skills, as feng shui has never been my strong suit. Due to this, I thought quickly applying to try out Moving Out would better suit me.
Right off the bat, the tone of Moving Out is evident through its humorous training sequence which invokes the feeling of an ‘80s training video. With cheesy dialogue and up-beat stock music, it’s clear it doesn’t take itself seriously at all and neither should you. Moving Out hit the ground running as I began my new found career driving around the neighbourhood, subjecting its poor inhabitants to brash moving skills. I suppose the houses they’re vacating are home to some other poor sucker now, so who cares about a few broken vases and the odd smashed window, eh?
Day one on the job saw me visiting a few fairly straightforward homes. Couple of sofas here and a games console there, all were quickly thrown in the back of the van. Each mission completed ended with a result from my boss. Depending on how quick we vacated the home, we are awarded either bronze, silver or gold. I didn’t tell him about the damages I caused. The company prides itself on timeliness and I wouldn’t want to tarnish our reputation by causing a ruckus over a few broken pots and pans.
Everyone seemed to want to quickly vacate this neighbourhood, as the team drove from house to house, quickly diminishing each of its essential items. Every house we visited, we were provided a number of items to gather, each conveniently glimmering to alert us of its presence. With timeliness being the key, we sought to quickly utilise the house’s blueprints as a means for a quick removal. TV right by the front window? Stuff the front door we thought, as without hesitation we lobbed it out of the window.
The objects that we were asked to remove were fairly simple, but some of the later occupants had some truly annoying furniture which proved highly tricky to remove. For the most part the jobs were easy enough, but on quite a few occasions I’d find some objects that would seem to clip on the walls despite there being plenty of room, or were hard to maneuver out of tricky house layouts. Being on my own, this became a fairly frustrating experience that had me questioning how they got it in here in the first place! But with the help of a close buddy who’d also been enlisted by the company today, we made quick work of it through clear communication skills. That’s one I can add to the CV.
My boss awarded me many goals by the end of my first day and offered me an opportunity to further prove my skills through optional challenges.
I think he likes me. I’m going for a promotion.
We were tasked with various objectives as we replayed the levels, such as not smashing windows this time or trying to keep the tenant’s pet chicken out of the house. These challenging little tidbits provided us with extra coins which enabled us to visit the local arcade or gain access to some historical VHS tapes of past removal workers’ triumphs.
At the end of my first day, I decided to unwind at the local arcade. With the coins I earned from my extra recognition of being the best removal service employee there’s ever been, I’d unlocked a few missions. These proved to be more challenging than I thought and a real way to test my skills in truly unique and creative ways. One challenge had me trying to deliver a small box through a highly challenging platforming gauntlet. It was brutal and I was starting to think this was an elaborate ruse from my boss, mocking my hard work, but through trial and error I prevailed. Another challenge had me navigating a sofa through moving platforms and avoiding fire. The challenges were fun deviations that normal houses wouldn’t be able to incorporate and really pushed my skills to the test.
After the rush of adrenaline of the arcade, I thought it was worth a visit to the other unlockable extras, which took the form of VHS tapes of past workers. Here the creativity of the industry really shines through again as I was able to replay past achievements they accomplished. From quickly slinging luggage out of a crashing plane, to swiftly removing a sofa from a lengthy car crash, these were the experiences I hoped to delve into outside of the initial neighbourhood I tackled. The level design showed some truly creative ideas and little did I know, that was only the beginning.
I woke up the next morning, ready to show the neighbourhood who was boss again and give something for those curtain twitching neighbours to talk about. I loaded up the van and was told that the locations now would be moving to another area of the map. Cool, I thought, as I proceeded to make my way across the river. This is where Moving Out really opened up to the sheer creativity the team had poured into the game.
The removal service tasks began with an elaborate rendition of the classic game, Frogger, as I was tasked to retrieve objects from one side of the river to another. This involved carrying boxes across the treacherous river, filled with logs and crocodiles, all in the attempt to load up the van. Honestly, I feel like I’m on the frontline here, but I love it.
This later expands into further experimental ideas as I’m vacating haunted office blocks and mansions, all while avoiding deadly ghosts. Possessed chairs are coming to life and jumping out of the van, resulting in some key decision making into how the layout of the objects in the van should be placed. Yesterday, I thought I had this job nailed, but today has broadened my mind to the world of removal service workers, and I tip my hat off to them all. The added challenge of now ensuring everything fits into the van puts a sweat on my brow as the accomplishment of a gold time slips further away from me.
Around every corner now, I’m unsure of what challenges are going to be thrown at me and this pumps pure adrenaline into my body. I’ve never felt more alive. Environmental hazards such as lava and sawblades become obstacles for me to overcome and add to consistently upping the ante with more risks. I’m now solving puzzles such as placing objects on buttons to get doors open and shaking trees to quickly catch falling fragile objects. They could make a movie about this and people would undoubtedly pay to see it. Move over, Marvel!
Moving Out on the Xbox One’s biggest strength lies in the level design. Even the objects I’m picking up are changing from simple household appliances to the entire animal population of a small farm! It would be easy to compare this to the job of a chef in Overcooked or a freelance builder in Tools Up!, but Moving Out embodies its own personality, soul and sense of accomplishment that’s unlike any other games of the same genre.
I do wish I had more company though. It’s quick and easy to bring a buddy along from the comfort of home, but with no online capabilities it feels like a truly missed opportunity to bring people closer together and provide further multiplayer options. While I did enjoy pushing myself through the ranks on my own, the later levels do feel as though they pose a bigger challenge for those going solo, therefore penalising them.
As I finished my second day of Moving Out on the Xbox One, the town was eloquently vacated. It could be argued that a path of chaos and destruction lay in my wake, but those gold medals aren’t going to earn themselves, am I right? Though the job initially seemed to unveil its cards fairly early, it quickly subverted my expectations in a truly inventive and imaginative cooperative party game. Annoyances do present themselves in the form of some objects clipping on seemingly thin air and the later portions of the game seem highly restrictive for only one player, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this removal company. In fact, I’m diving back into work tomorrow to work on those bonus challenges. My boss is going to be so proud of me.
Despite some hurdles, Moving Out proves to be a more than solid cooperative journey into the lifestyle of a removal service that I quickly found myself recruited for.