2D puzzle platformers are a dime a dozen so let's give Out of Line a go and see if it has what it takes to stand out in the crowded genre.
Within the past 15 years, there have been so many indie puzzle platformers that it's absurd. So, it takes a lot for one to be worthwhile, especially considering how much choice there is out there. Plus, you could always play classics like LIMBO, Braid, and Thomas Was Alone if you haven't already and to be frank, these titles are generally far more enjoyable than most similar games that have released since.
So, where does Out of Line stack up? Well, to start; it has a basic premise where you aim and throw a light javelin that doubles as a springboard whenever you throw it into a wall. On top of this, there are puzzles that involve pushing blocks, using your javelin as a lever, standing on button panels, and jamming gears with your javelin. There are also light stealth segments and you'll frequently have to cooperate with AI characters. Out of everything, I'd say that these cooperative segments are the most interesting by far.
All of these elements come together to form a serviceable core gameplay loop that's extremely intuitive so anyone can play it without much struggle regardless of skill. That being said, if you've been playing these kinds of games for as long as I have, you'll likely become sleepy by the lack of challenge as you merely go through the motions of solving obvious puzzle after obvious puzzle. 😴
With that in mind, Out of Line does have redeeming qualities. Even though I personally found the campaign to be too easy, that actually makes it a good fit for children or those who simply want to chill and play through a laidback game. Also, I thoroughly enjoy the artistically-rendered backgrounds which are quite layered and lovely and the sound effects are impressively gratifying as well.
I should mention that although the environments are rather beautiful, they can sometimes be frustratingly ambiguous. On multiple occasions, I mistakenly jumped down to what I thought was a platform but it was just part of the background or where my co-op AI friend was and apparently, you can't go there, too. I also wish the audio was more fleshed out with some sort of voice work even if it's grunts and music that's more noticeable because it's quite hard to hear it a lot of the time since it's so quiet and subtle.
Overall, Out of Line isn't a bad game but there are certainly much better ways to spend a few hours of your time. As I discussed at the start of this review, there are oodles of 2D puzzle platformers and many of them are much more enjoyable and challenging than this so if you want to check some better titles out then I suggest playing the 3 classics that I mentioned but you can also have a great time with games like Mighty Switch Force! Collection, Nihilumbra, Hue, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Semblance; too many choices!
Is it out of time for games like Out of Line or did it run out of shine which made me go out of mind? Either way, now that I'm out of whine, I'll slap a 5.6 on this review and look forward to what the devs come up with down the line.
- + Simple puzzle platforming gameplay that anyone can adapt to with minimal effort
- + Decent environmental artwork
- + Well-done sound effects
- - Gameplay doesn't pose much of a challenge so genre veterans may be disappointed
- - Ambiguous backgrounds and foregrounds
- - Could use voices and more prominent music