Outer Wilds Critique | The Opposite of No Man’s Sky and My Game of the Year

The planetary system you explore in Outer
Wilds is small but oh so densely packed with wonder, both good and bad, that it offers
more interesting sights and observations than games 18 quintillion time’s its size. It truly is a marvel. Outer Wilds captures both the majesty and
horror of space in all its terrifying glory. Outer Wilds is simultaneously beautiful and
dangerous. You can be suffocating in space due to lack
of oxygen while being enraptured by the glorious view of two planets orbiting around each other
as a huge tower of sand flows between them. One second you’re walking upside down on
ice thanks to nearby gravity crystals and the next you’re falling into a black hole
after getting a little too aggressive with your jetpack and missing a ledge. Or you can just sit next to your friend on
a small moon and listen to him whistling a lovely tune without a care in the world. Outer Wilds mixes the spectacular with the
mundane so smoothly that you’re just as likely to track down the sound of a harmonica
as you are the quantum signals that lead to objects which disappear when you’re not
looking at them. Outer Wilds is more of an outlier than it
should be. After all, our own universe is a place of
infinite possibilities. Our mere existence is a miracle of impossible
to comprehend proportions and yet the universe is so large that it’s almost certainly a
miracle that has been repeated elsewhere, likely many times already and many more to
come. But video games have generally done a terrible
job depicting the majesty, variety, and horror of the universe. If we’re lucky, planets might be distinguished
by extreme weather conditions such as snow or sand, but just as often the differences
come down to different colored grass. Alien creatures often look a lot like our
own and strangely they are often present on multiple planets as if a race of glorified
dogs somehow developed a rudimentary system of space travel to move between planets before
giving up and spending the rest of their lives wandering around on all fours and shitting
on funky looking grass. And God forbid any of these planets have tangible
differences in gravity or planetary rotations. Outer Wilds is the exception. Its solar system may be small, but everything
in it is worth exploring to uncover a touching story, solve interesting puzzles, or even
just watch as a planet crumbles before your eyes, losing a battle for survival with a
black hole at its core. I’ve already said too much because the best
part of Outer Wilds is discovering the madness for yourself. For that reason, this video will have two
spoiler warnings. Before getting into any spoiler territory,
I’m going to try and sell you on the game keeping details as brief as I can, while still
providing enough information to help you make a decision. Then I will give a spoiler warning and start
including some spoilers more akin to what you’d see in a traditional review. This will include information you’d be better
off discovering yourself, but it won’t ruin the experience or anything. Then there will be another spoiler warning
at which point the entire game is up for discussion. Outer Wilds is an exploration and puzzle game. Or perhaps an exploration puzzle game because
the two genres work in complete tandem here. You can only explore so far before you’re
confronted with a puzzle, which opens up more areas to explore once you’ve solved it,
and those new areas in turn might provide more puzzles or the solutions to other puzzles. Outer Wilds feels a bit like the natural evolution
of Myst, as you explore new locations, get stuck, go on to explore elsewhere, and then
return to one of the tricky parts later. However, lest that comparison put you off,
Outer Wilds is nowhere near as obtuse as Myst, which could be ridiculously cryptic at times,
and frankly cruel, in an era where puzzle solutions were not a quick google search away. Mobius Digital wants you to solve Outer Wilds
problems and see all the game has to offer. In fact, I can’t think of a puzzle game
that so desperately wants you to solve its puzzles without actually letting you skip
them or holding your hand all the way through. The game even pulls out the tools you need
automatically, so whenever you need to translate something the translator will appear in your
hand. Better still, if you find a building you can’t
get inside, the scout probe will pop up when you approach any window through which you
could fire the probe. The game is telling you that you might want
to take a closer look inside. Despite all this help, Outer Wilds can be
tricky at times, but it gives you more than enough information to progress while still
letting you be the one to process the information and come up with the solution. It’s also worth pointing out what Outer
Wilds is not. It’s not The Witness in space, which I mention
because it may look like that way at times with these lights that you can move around
with your cursor. I loved most of The Witness, so I don’t
say this in a derogatory manner, but it was a fairly traditional puzzle game at heart. You were given a simple set of rules and then
asked to implement them in increasingly challenging ways, at least until the end game stuff. They felt like pen and paper puzzles, a fancy
digital collection of the sort of thing you used to find in a Sunday newspaper supplement. Outer Wilds has far fewer puzzles but each
is memorable. It’s not interested in testing you ten times
on the same concept when it can just test you twice and move on to something else. The problems feel a little more practical
and are based on gravity, time, and even quantum mechanics, not just how do you get a line
from A to B following a set of arbitrary rules. And don’t worry, the quantum mechanics stuff
isn’t all that difficult. Oh, and Outer Wilds is also not a survival
game, despite the fuel and oxygen meters, ship repairs, and the like you might see on
screen. You play as a Hearthian, so called because
you are from the planet Timber Hearth, and the game starts on the day of your first voyage
into space. You aren’t the first Hearthian to go into
space, but it’s still a relatively new concept, and there’s an element of danger associated
with it. Not that you’d know that from the casual
reactions of your fellow citizens. Before going into space, you need to get the
launch codes which in turn has you trekking around your town and potentially participating
in a bunch of option tutorials. While some of the kids seem excited, most
people are fairly chill about your imminent adventure and you get the distinct impression
that Slate is more interested in roasting another marshmellow than listening to tales
of aliens and black holes. The Hearthians understand space and space
travel, they just don’t make a big deal out of it. Once you have the launch codes, you can jump
in your ship and take off. Within seconds, you’re in space with five
planets, plus a bunch of asteroids, moons, and space stations on your map, and you’re
free to go wherever you like. And you really can. No area is inherently any harder than the
other so there’s no right or wrong choice for where to start. Wherever you go, your curiosity will be piqued
by buildings or objects nearby, so you’ll land, wander over, find a small piece of the
story and roll from there. You could start on the nearby moon and track
down a fellow Hearthian or go straight to a strange comet called the Interloper. You don’t even have to leave the starter
planet immediately; there’s plenty to explore at home. There’s no obvious goal in mind initially,
although a clear end state does eventually present itself. At first, your only motivation is your desire
to see more of the nearby planets and then to uncover the story of the nomai, the race
of now extinct aliens that used to populate this system. Uncovering the history of the nomai is truly
fascinating thanks partly to how their fates are inextricably linked to the nature of the
planets themselves. The nomai built many of the structures you
see and they have close connections to every planet. Understanding the nomai is understanding the
system, and vice versa. The nomai even help you solve the puzzles. Best of all though, the nomai themselves are
believable characters who communicate with you in a fun and relatable way. They aren’t just an extinct race of aliens
who leave behind dry and insufferable writings that you just collect in a journal and largely
ignore. The nomai writings all refer to other nomai
by name and they each have distinct personalities and voices. Their writings evidence feelings of excitement
and fear, they joke and even flirt with each other. They debate the ethics of their actions and
they manage to convey incredibly complicated principles in simple terms. I expect most people’s prominent memories
of Outer Wilds will revolve around the planets and puzzles, but for me, its moments like
watching a brother call someone out for flirting with his sister that form the most memorable
scenes and made me care about a group of people I only knew through squiggles on a cave wall. Outer Wilds is accessible, charming, at times
challenging, and completely different to any other game I’ve played. It’s a game that makes me feel clever one
minute by letting me solve problems involving quantum mechanics and then stupid the next
as I walk out of my ship without a spacesuit on. At between 15 to 20 hours, it never overstays
its welcome and will leave you thinking about it for a long time after completion. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played
and my game of the year. Alright, that’s the end of the sales pitch
part of the video. I highly recommend you stop watching now and
go play it, however, if you want to know a little more, but without full spoilers then
keep watching. This is your first spoiler warning. And with that said, the big thing I was trying
to keep hidden in the last section is something you likely already know: Outer Wilds works
on a 22-minute time loop. You start each loop waking up from a peaceful
sleep by the fire where you see an explosion around a distant planet and then go about
doing whatever it is you want to do. 22 minutes later, the star at the center of
your system goes supernova and wipes out everything in the system. You wake up by the fire and start again. No one else is any the wiser. Well, no one except another Hearthian on Giant’s
Deep called Grabbo, who is also aware of the loop, but is perfectly content to spend his
time relaxing on or above his hammock. You and Grabbo were singled out by nomai statues
during that introduction when it turned to look at you with ominous blue eyes. Whenever you die, either due to the supernova
or an accident, you see the statue and your memories from the last 22 minutes flash before
your eyes. The only thing you keep from each loop is
information, both personally as the player and in your ship’s log. There is absolutely no system of upgrades
either to your space ship or character, no shortcuts to unlock, and no permanent changes
to the world. Every 22 minutes the entire system is reset
to exactly as it was before except for the ship’s log. If this sounds like some kind of harsh rogue-lite
or rogue-like experience, then fret not, Outer Wilds is absolutely not one of those. Each death is hardly a punishment at all;
more a chance to reset and tackle things from a fresh perspective. Quite often, dying and starting back on Timber
Hearth next to your ship is a quicker way to get to another planet than backtracking
to your ship from wherever you ended up on the previous run. Death was sometimes a punishment for my mistakes,
but it wasn’t a punishment for my curiosity; 22 minutes is a lot longer than it sounds
so you’ll rarely find the supernova stopping you in your tracks. This is going to sound cliche and I’m even
rolling my own eyes as I say this, but you really do learn something on every run. By that, I mean you learn something tangible
and useful. I don’t mean it in the traditional rogue-lite
sense where you play for 90 minutes and learn that “Oh, you don’t have enough invincibility
frames to get through that attack” or “oops, using that item actually kills you. Better remember for next time.” Learning in Outer Wilds is gaining actual
knowledge that you will use on the next run to unlock something new. Looking back through my footage, I only found
two runs where I stayed alive the full 22 minutes without finding information that changed
the way I approached the next run. That explains why the time loop isn’t a
pain in the arse, but when a game includes a core feature like this, it needs to do more
than just not be annoying to justify its existence: it needs to add something positive to the
experience, and the time loop in Outer Wilds does that many times over. Before continuing, I want to point out that
I will not be comparing Outer Wilds to Majora’s Mask. Not because I’m actually capable of analyzing
games on their own merits, I’m certainly not above throwing cheap comparisons around
if it helps, but because I haven’t played Majora’s Mask and don’t intend to. I’m aware than Majora’s Mask may have
done some of these things already, but I’m also aware that Zelda games are fundamentally
boring and overrated. The time loop in Outer Wilds is crucial to
the experience because nearly every location you can visit undergoes significant changes
during the 22 minutes. This goes well beyond needing to meet a certain
NPC in a certain place at a certain time. During the 22 minute loop in Outer Wilds,
Brittle Hollow almost completely collapses into the black hole at its core, with its
pieces ending up floating around a white hole at the edge of the system. On Ash Twin and Ember Twin, known collectively
as the hourglass twins, all the sand from one ends up on the other, completely transforming
the landscapes of both. Ice on the interloper melts and freezes again
as it gets closer and further from the sun. These changes provide some spectacular views,
but the real pay-off is in the puzzles. I won’t spoil the complicated stuff yet,
but at a basic level, you might need to think about when you attempt to access locations,
so for example, if you need to get somewhere on Brittle Hollow, you’ll find it a lot
easier if you do it before half of the planet, and the platforms you’ll need to stand on,
are swallowed up by a black hole. If you need to get inside a building on Ash
Twin, you might have to wait until some of the sand has made its way to Ember Twin. The 22 minutes allotted to each run also makes
sense when you consider the size of the planets and the system. I must admit, when I first took off, I was
a little disappointed with how small everything was. The system here feels like a glorified science
project. You can imagine the planets supported on wires
and your ship, which is a rough collection of spare parts and held together by what I
hope is strong sellotape, is probably flying around on a piece of string held up by a young
kid. It feels like you’re watching the results
of someone playing around with toys like in the LEGO movie, and it never quite goes away,
but I did cease to care, and I eventually appreciated the smaller scope. You can land on any planet within a minute
of taking off and once there it won’t take long to get to where you need to go. Even outside of the ship, you can run around
the planets in a minute or two. By the time you’ve solved a simple puzzle
and explored the environment for all the written and visual clues available, you’ll have
used up most of your 22 minutes and be ready to go somewhere else or take a fresh look
at the ship log to see what further mysteries you’ve revealed. And that ship log will be your best friend. I’m sure it sounds a little silly to make
a big deal out of what is essentially a glorified journal, but Outer Wilds would be a lessor
game without it and it nearly was. According to an interview with Beachum for
US Gamer, as of February 2018, Outer Wilds didn’t have the ship log and playtesters
reported that they were confused as to where to go and what to do at any given time. After talking it over with his team, Beachum
decided to add what were effectively the design notes for the game’s puzzles into the ship
itself. The ship log is incredible. Whenever you discover new information or even
rumors, a new entry is added to the log and it’s all linked in this easy to understand
chart. When you first hear about the orbital probe
cannon, an entry is added to the log as a question mark and clicking on this shows the
associated rumors. Following the rumors leads you to the cannon
at which point you will find the three modules: the control module, the launch module, and
the probe tracking module and these in turn are added to the log as question marks and
then filled in once you’ve explored them. The four major mysteries are each color-coded
although ultimately they do end up blending together. As I said, Outer Wilds wants you to uncover
its secrets and as such it makes it clear when you’ve missed something from a given
location. This is essential not just to completing the
game but to understanding and appreciating it. More than once I found myself spending ten
solid minutes just staring at this mind map, wrapping my head around the discoveries made
in the last run and working out how they’re linked to what I had already uncovered. This is challenging enough with the ship log;
we’re talking about a game with quantum mechanics, warp holes, and long-dead alien
races after all. Oh and the story is told in a non-linear fashion
because you can go wherever you want from the start. There’s no telling when a player will stumble
upon each piece of information. The log is crucial and I hope other developers
make more effort with their in-game journals in future, instead of just listing quests
under different headings. Without this log, I wouldn’t have grasped
the detail so clearly and the ending wouldn’t have had the same impact as a result. And the ending really did hit hard in ways
I wasn’t expecting for a story about an extinct species. No matter what planet or moon you go to first,
you start uncovering information about the nomai, a race of three-eyed aliens who arrived
in this system following a signal from what they call the eye of the universe. Unlike the hearthians, the nomai are a curious
bunch. Exploration is in their blood; it’s a calling,
a desire impossible to ignore. Unfortunately, in this case, the hunt for
the eye led to their vessel crashing into a strange entity known as Dark Bramble. Three escape pods were launched, landing on
various planets throughout the system. Although the nomai aren’t the type to settle
down, they realized that the only way to continue the hunt for the eye would be to lay down
roots in this system and work together to build a society that would eventually be capable
of creating the technology to find the eye. And so they did. You can find traces of their civilizations
all over the system. What happened to them, however, is a bigger
mystery. As are the black rocks that move when you
look away from them and the weird device around Giant’s Deep. Not to mention the location of the crashed
vessel, the contraption orbiting the nearby star, and whatever weird experiment was taking
place at the hourglass twins. The puzzles in Outer Wilds are mainly about
gathering and understanding information about the nomai and the world around you. Early on, many paths are locked off either
through literal locked doors or insurmountable environmental obstacles, but clues elsewhere
will typically point you in the direction of a secret path to your destination. As you progress, you’ll need a much deeper
understanding of the game’s systems and tools. For example, the scout probe is useful for
taking pictures of what lies ahead down certain paths or in rooms you can’t reach, but it
also provides a signal for you to track which can be useful when dealing with objects that
don’t necessarily stay in one place. Even the traditional puzzle sections are there
as a learning tool more than an arbitrary test you must pass. Remember, you don’t technically have to
beat any puzzles to complete the game; Outer Wilds is about learning and so are the puzzles. In the tower of quantum trials, you’re tested
on your understanding of quantum objects and how they move around when unobserved. You move from floor to floor with progressively
tougher puzzles in one of the only times Outer Wilds felt like a traditional puzzle game. The last puzzle was tense and I only just
about beat it when the star went supernova. It was only later that I realized I didn’t
actually need to beat the puzzle. There was no notable reward for doing so other
than a bit of information for my log that I could have lived without. If I’d failed, I would have been just as
equipped to tackle the next challenge as I was after succeeding. This lack of pressure means the music that
starts playing just as the star is about to go supernova ends up being joyfully melancholic. Even if you were busy doing something, there’s
a temptation to stop, listen, and chill out as the sun explodes around you. The music is so relaxing that even if you
have time to go elsewhere, you might be tempted to whip out the Signalscope and tune in to
Outer Wilds Ventures and listen to Feldspar playing the harmonica or Esker whistling. Outer Wilds is a game with so few negatives
that I’m struggling to think of any valid criticisms. The visuals won’t be to everyone’s taste,
I suppose. I love it, with the exception of parts like
the tower of sand or the cyclones where things can look a little rough once you’re inside
them. I suppose the game could have used a more
in-depth tutorial on controlling your ship, especially when it comes to traversing from
planet to planet. It’s surprising how early you have to start
slowing down when approaching a planet so more often than not I would use the autopilot
although even that has issues and won’t hesitate to send you directly into the sun
if your goal happens to be on the other side. I appreciate that flying a spaceship should
be challenging, but come on, it’s not rocket science. Landing can be a little fiddly as well, but
it really doesn’t matter all that much. You can repair the ship in seconds and the
22 minute timer means you often only need to use it once per run anyway. So yeah, you should absolutely buy and play
Outer Wilds If you haven’t already. Everyone has different sensitivity to spoilers,
but if you think knowing about the secrets in Outer Wilds would negatively affect your
enjoyment in any way, then stop watching now. This is your final spoiler warning. One of the most impressive parts about Outer
Wilds, and the reason I want to get into spoiler territory, is the way all the separate threads
link together in the story and how natural the discovery process is. As a reminder, the four separate stories marked
in your log revolve around the orbital cannon that explodes around Giant’s Deep at the
start of each loop, the location of the Nomai vessel that brought them to this system in
the first place, the mysterious quantum objects, and the nomai project on the hourglass twins. Despite being scattered across the system
when their ship crashed and they launched their escape pods, the nomai never gave up
their plan to reach the eye of the universe. They knew the eye must be close because of
the quantum moon. The quantum moon moves locations when it is
not being observed, hanging out at each of the five major planets in the system, however,
it occasionally disappears completely. The nomai theorize that the mysterious sixth
location is the eye of the universe itself and therefore the eye must be close. Unfortunately, “close” in the context
of space, still leaves a hell of a lot of room for error and their attempts at tracking
the moon to this sixth location all fail. The nomai considered launching a probe into
deep space, but the chances of them finding the eye with one probe were slim and the resources
and power required to launch the probe to the outskirts of the system mean it’s not
something that can be easily replicated. Their first major breakthrough was the discovery
of a wormhole that transports people from one end of the system to another. The entrance to this wormhole is the black
hole at the center of Brittle Hollow and the exit is the white hole at the edge of the
system. The nomai adapted this technology to create
their own warp points which let them move between the various planets ensuring that
the initially separate groups of nomai were able to work together once again. The warps were also used to transport raw
materials such as metal ore between planets. The nomai were careful not to completely strip
planets of raw materials, noting for example that Timber Hearth had a race of four eyed
creatures currently living in the oceans but that one day might evolve to live on the land. This warp technology led to another major
discovery. One day, a nomai used the warp drive and the
instruments detected that he somehow arrived at the exit shortly before he entered. The time difference in arriving and departing
was almost imperceptible and initially the nomai thought their instruments must just
be faulty, but after further tests they proved that the warp holes do indeed send you back
in time ever so slightly. This gave them an idea. What if that element of time travel could
be boosted to something more practical, like, say, 22 minutes? In 22 minutes, the nomai could send a probe
out to any given location to have it look for the eye and then the probe would send
the information back to the nomai using the warp technology. This information would reach the nomai 22
minutes before it was sent and crucially before the probe was launched. If the probe didn’t find the eye, which
it likely wouldn’t, then the coordinates would be changed and the probe sent to a different
part of space, where again it would send the results back in time. This would be repeated as long as necessary. There’s just one tiny problem with this
plan. The amount of energy required to create a
time differential of 22 minutes is enormous and the nomai determine that the only way
they can generate the amount of power required to send information back 22 minutes is to
cause the sun to go supernova. The nomai really want to reach the eye of
the universe, so they went ahead and built a sun station to blow up the sun. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds because
the nomai also built a failsafe in the form of the nomai statues that would record people’s
memories so that they know they are in a time loop. The nomai statues would kick in when the project
was successful and the eye had been located and those captured in the loop would then
retrieve the coordinates of the eye and deactivate the sun station before it had blown up the
sun. In theory, it would be like the sun had never
blown up at all. Even so, the nomai in charge of the project
had huge reservations and doubts about the ethics of what they were doing. A probe cannon was developed however due to
the power required for that, it was installed in orbit around Giant’s Deep, ensuring no
energy was wasted by the probe needing to escape the planet’s gravity. There’s an amusing conversation between
the developers of the probe and those who will end up using it. The developers realize that their friends
will likely push the power levels beyond the accepted bounds, so they deliberately reduce
the recommended power level, however, those using the device predicted that other nomai
would have accounted for their enthusiastic nature and ignored it. That’s why the cannon then blows up when
the probe is launched. Everything was now ready to go. Except… the sun station didn’t work. There was nothing else the nomai could do. They carried on as before, presumably trying
to think of other ways to reach the eye of the universe, but they never made it. The closest they could get to the eye of the
universe was by traveling to the quantum moon which became a sort of right of passage for
nomai youth. The nomai have one more story to tell. Three nomai travelled to the interloper, the
comet that travels around the sun. After making it to the center, they find a
large mass of ghost matter, a deadly substance that kills on contact. One of the nomai stays behind to document
the problem and another tries to leave to warn the others. He’s too late. The core explodes, spreading ghost matter
throughout the system and wiping out all life in the process. The nomai, in this system at least, are no
more. I’m not quite sure why the interloper is
still in tact given that the core exploded, but I guess ghost matter could have travelled
throughout the system without destroying the comet itself. If I’m missing something here, let me know
in the comments. Anyway, the ghost matter doesn’t quite wipe
out all life in the system. Presumably it doesn’t travel through water
because the early hearthians survive and over two hundred thousand years later they evolve
into what we see today. Mind you, if it can’t travel through water,
how did it get through the ice? Like I said, I’m a bit confused on this
part. And that finally bring us to the events of
the game where the orbital probe cannon is kickstarted into life by the sun going into
supernova at the natural end of its life. Actually, the orbital probe cannon started
a while ago and we don’t remember the first loop. Or the second. Or even the second thousand. Using the energy from the expanding sun, which
is actually expanding slowly in the game world by the way, the orbital probe cannon has already
launched over 9000 probes into space trying to find the eye of the universe. And then it succeeds. On the 9534th attempt, the probe finds the
eye of the universe and sends the signal back in time which activates the nomai statues,
one of which happens to choose you because you’re the closest. Under the original plan, as the nomai envisioned
it, you would now deactivate the sun station and travel to the eye. Except it wasn’t the sun station that caused
the supernova. The supernova is a natural event and it’s
going to wipe out all life in the system unless you can stop it. You track down the coordinates for the eye
of the universe, grab a warp core, and hook it up to the original nomai vessel to travel
to the eye of the universe itself. But there’s nothing you can do. You can’t stop a supernova. The system is going to get obliterated and
eventually so too will all the other systems and galaxies in the universe. At the eye of the universe, you watch as all
stars, planets, and lifeforms are wiped out. Presumably this happens over a long period
of time mind you, I don’t think the entire universe disappears in one instant. It was on its last legs though. The hearthians were simply unlucky enough
to have evolved right before its star was due to go supernova. As with the quantum moon, the eye of the universe
needs to be observed. It can’t do anything without people around
to watch it and so you and representations of the friends you made along the way all
gather around the fire, play a song and watch as the eye creates a new universe right in
front of you. An epilogue shows us a glimpse of 14.3 billion
years into the future as new life is starting to evolve. It really is an incredible tale and one that
wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the work of the nomai. They may not have lived long enough to see
the eye of the universe for themselves, but without their efforts we would never have
made it to the eye and been able to help bring about a new universe. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I
first saw these cute four-eyed blue people sat around a campfire roasting marshmellows,
or travelled to the nearby moon to listen to a song under the stars, or hung out with
Grabbo surrounded by cyclones, but it wasn’t the inevitable death of all life in the system
as the sun exploded. Reaching the eye of the universe was a huge
moment. It wasn’t a surprise in the traditional
sense. It was obvious where we were heading. At yet, after landing on the eye and taking
a look around, I genuinely had to pause the game just to give myself a moment to take
it all in. This moment, and the story in general, wouldn’t
have been so impactful if it weren’t for the beautiful and gradual way the information
is drip fed out of the course of fifteen plus hours. In each loop, you go into space equipped only
with a translator, scout probe, and signalscope and yet this is all you need to solve the
wonders of this solar system. My favorite section by far was learning the
rules of quantum mechanics. The quantum rocks, which it turns out are
part of the quantum moon, are introduced during the tutorial when you explore Timber Hearth. The first lesson imparted by these rocks is
that they move when you aren’t looking at them. Using your signalscope, you can track down
quantum rocks on other planets and learn new lessons such as how if you are in contact
with a quantum rock and in complete darkness, you will travel with the rock to its new location. We also learn that the quantum rocks can affect
nearby objects, so in one section you can progress either by turning your flashlight
off and on again or just spin in a circle to make supposedly impassable objects disappear. The best rule is the one taught in the quantum
trials, namely that looking at a quantum object and a picture of a quantum object are the
same thing. Using this knowledge you can effectively keep
a quantum object in place by taking a picture of it with your scout probe. A thorough understanding of these quantum
rules is essential to land on the quantum moon and then to successfully transport it
to the sixth location around the eye of the universe. As with all good puzzles, there are moments
where you’re stumped only to stumble on a solution that with hindsight was incredibly
obvious, such as when I needed to make it into a tower on Brittle Hollow, the planet
with the black hole at the middle. I tried getting to the planet early to see
if there were any new pathways that I needed to use before they got destroyed, but nope. I tried going there late incase the destruction
of the planet created an opening but that didn’t work either. It was an embarrassingly long time before
I realized that the tower itself was one of the items that was collapsing into the black
hole and that if I followed it in, I would be able to access the tower from the corresponding
white hole. You have to adopt a similar approach when
looking for a vessel in the Dark Bramble, a mysterious planet with a seemingly infinite
core. White lights lead you to the next zone, although
they are also used by anglerfish to lure you in. Many of these zones are effectively dead ends
and one wrong turn means you will be stuck in a never ending loop. Therefore, when you find the third escape
pod and a connection to the vessel, you should fire a scout probe through and follow its
trail. These anglerfish represent one of my few gripes
with the puzzles in Outer Wilds. On a couple of occasions, such as these anglerfish
or the inner zone in Giant’s Deep, your progression is blocked until you find the
information you need somewhere else. This effectively creates a roadblock to one
story path and forces you onto another until you get what you need. I’m fine with this in principal and sometimes
it works rather well. For example, the only way to get closer to
the core in Giant’s Deep is to note that while most of the cyclones are spinning clockwise
and throw you up into space, some are spinning anti-clockwise and will shoot you down past
the barrier that’s in your way. I thought this was really good because if
you were especially observant there’s a chance you would notice that some cyclones
are spinning the other way and experiment with them. Failing that, the solution is spelled out
for you elsewhere. Similarly, there are the warp towers on Ash
Twin. These towers round the equator all send you
to another destination. You’ll likely learn how warp towers work
by falling into the black hole and stumbling into the only thing you can access in deep
space and noting that you can warp to another place just by looking up at the ceiling when
the destination planet is aligned with the roof. From here, you might realize that the towers
on Ash Twin resemble other planets and each has a ceiling that looks like the one in the
white hole station. If you don’t notice, you’ll again have
it spelled out to you later. In the case of the cyclones and the warps
zones in Ash Twin, you could stumble upon the solution by accident, either by going
into the one cyclone that happens to be spinning anti-clockwise, or by looking up at just the
right time, however, it’s unlikely. Unfortunately, with other puzzles Mobius Digital
seems to be overly paranoid that the player might stumble upon the correct answer by chance
and makes things annoyingly fiddly to compensate. Take those anglerfish. The first time you try to reach the vessel,
you will likely pass through a pod and run straight into three of the fish. You might be able to back up in time, but
chances are you will be eaten and have to start again. Similarly, you won’t be able to get to the
core of Giant’s Deep without knowing how to get past the electricity surrounding it. It was a long time before I found the solutions
and when I did it was a bit underwhelming. The anglerfish are blind and therefore you
can get past them by not making any noise and you can get into the electric sphere by
hiding away inside a jellyfish. The problem with these solutions is that players
could find the solution by accident. The fish are often asleep anyway when you
first see them, so it’s natural for you to stay quiet to make your way past them. Likewise, the jellyfish will probably attract
your interest so you might try to swim inside them anyway. In order to stop you getting past these obstacles
by accident, Mobius decides to make the whole thing awkward instead. The anglerfish are all blocking the entrance
in a way that makes it incredibly difficult to get past them even if you do know you have
to stay silent. Weirdly, though, you can basically clip through
them. The jellyfish are also fiddly enough that
the first time I tried to get inside I just ended up getting electrocuted and thought
perhaps I had to do it in the ship but that didn’t work either. I got there in the end of course, it was just
more annoying than it should have been. With these puzzles, I knew exactly what I
had to do and yet the game wouldn’t let me do it. Likewise, there’s the quantum moon. To land on the moon, you must have a picture
of the moon visible when you approach, otherwise you’ll just fly straight through it. This is because quantum objects have to be
observed. Except if you’re flying straight into the
moon, you kind of are observing it by default, so why can’t you land on it without a picture? The answer is that the game doesn’t want
you doing this until you know the quantum rule about observation and this is its solution. My only other puzzle complaint is that there
can be the odd bit of time-wasting such as when you have to wait for certain towers to
become available or for sand to fill up before you can move on. These are the exceptions and not the rules,
though. In fact, if you do find yourself having to
wait around, there’s a good chance you actually need to go and do something else first such
as moving the black hole tower into position before warping there. As you get near the end of Outer Wilds, you
do start to see how the sausage was made a touch. I loved how the story came together no matter
where you started your adventure, but one of the major ways it does this is by including
the same information in multiple places on the projection stones, which is effective
but a little dull. But then you see how much effort and flavor
text surrounds every little thing. For example, you aren’t just told that the
anglerfish are blind through a random note. You discover how the children used to play
a game where one of them would be an anglerfish and chase the others, and how they ended up
incorporating the anglerfish’s blindness into their game, which the parent’s find
cute. The jellyfish secret was revealed because
someone was determined to experiment with them as a food source first. Outer Wilds provides many little moments like
this. The exploration leads to puzzles which leads
to little details about the nomai and lives long since snuffed out. With the exception of duplicate text and a
couple of puzzles, I can’t think of any wasted time in Outer Wilds. I enjoyed reading every line of nomai conversation
and checking out every new building. It’s densely packed in a way that so few
open-ended games manage to be. Credit must go to Kelsey Beachum for the consistently
high-quality writing. Outer Wilds makes most other space games feel
tame by comparison. You can hop from platform to platform above
an all-consuming black hole, wait for the sands of time to trickle from one planet to
the next until all its secrets are revealed, or explore the inside of the comet that wiped
out all life in the system. Or you can just sit down next to Slate and
cook marshmellows over the fire, waiting for the inevitable blue blast of the supernova
to consume you all. There’s no bad way to spend each 22 minutes
in Outer Wilds. Whatever you do is bound to enchant. If you’ve made it to the end of this video
then hopefully that means you’ve already played Outer Wilds, but if you’ve been a
little naughty and watched it anyway, I implore you to play this game. It is absolutely incredible. It’s my game of the year without a doubt. An unbelievable experience that is hard to
put into words, hence I bumbled my way through this video. If I’ve convinced even one person to buy
it, the whole thing will have been worth it. On that note, if you enjoyed the video, please
consider hitting like, subscribing, and sharing wherever appropriate for a few new eyes on
the video. And don’t forget to let me know what you
thought in the comments, especially if you know what the deal is with Dark Bramble. I feel like I’ve missed a bunch of information
about the nature of that planet and its existence. Also, let me know how many times I accidentally
referred to Outer Wilds as The Outer Worlds. I have a Patreon if you feel like donating. This gets your name in the credits and a patreon
role in my discord server which is open to all. I should be able to get out another video
in December. January will hopefully see the return of the
History of Isometric CRPG series and then I will finally get the Witcher 3 video done. Okay, until next time. Cheers.

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