Out Of Line preview (PC)

A game that was just announced and due out this summer, we’re taking a look at Out of Line, a puzzle platformer with a gorgeous aesthetic.

What we know

Out Of Line is currently being developed by Nerd Monkeys and will be published first on the Nintendo Switch and PC by Hatinh Interactive this summer, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version coming later this year. It’s already scooped up the Portuguese PlayStation Award for Best Game and features San, a young boy trapped in a factory controlled by an ominous and strange mechanical being. Along the way you’ll collect memory cubes by solves puzzles and discovering why you’re there and what it means to be free.

The core mechanics in Out of Line all revolve around spears, and San can throw his spear into a wall to use it as a makeshift platform or to make a jump across a gap just a little bit more manageable. Spears can also be used to destroy parts of the environment, bring gears to a stop or help others, sometimes by picking up an extra spear that you’ll need to get past a puzzle.
Visually, the game reminds us of Limbo even though it looks very different. It’s strong in the sense of visual storytelling that doesn’t use words of voiceovers to convey its story, although instead of shadows and darkness the world of Out of Line is rich in color and detail – with a handpainted style that’s lovely to look at.

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What we saw

We played a private demo of the game that gave us about 45 minutes of hands-on time with the game, featuring two “chapters” that we were told make up about a third of the final product. That leads us to believe that Out of Line will be relatively short experience when it’s finished – again, not too unlike Limbo, and we know how beloved that one is.

What we thought

Although the storytelling is very abstract and visual in nature, without voiceovers or even much in the way of an introduction, the design of the game features an extremely rich art style that uses a handpainted approach that’s both lush in detail and color and serene at the same time. The latter is due to its subtle canvas-like hues and perhaps also its understated narrative, but this “gentle walk in the park” feel is also strengthened by the fact that most of the puzzles we encountered were relatively intuitive in nature and not that difficult, often using the same mechanic of throwing a spear into a wall and jumping on it.

The latter part of our demo version introduced some clever new ways of working with your spear and cooperation with other characters as well though, so if that’s anything to go by we should see some innovative uses of San’s spear during the full game’s two to three hour runtime. Over that time we also expect to find out more about the game’s narrative, which is intentionally vague and abstract with plenty of ingredients that will likely not make a ton of sense outside of the wider context of the full game. For that reason alone, we’re looking forward to seeing how Out Of Line is going to turn out.

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