Having been delayed a bit over in North America, Out of Line is finally available here. Developed by Nerd Monkeys and published by Hatinh Interactive, Out of Line is an award-winning hand-drawn puzzle platformer inspired by the art of Studio Ghibli. Out of Line follows San and his search for identity. Who are you and why are there so many others that look like me?
The story itself is interesting enough, though much of it seems interpretive. It’s told mostly through actions and paintings as there are no words, spoken or written. You just kind of assume what’s going on based on what’s going on around you so the story could potentially mean different things to different players.
So with that said, it’s the gameplay and the art that take center stage here. The game for the most part is like a traditional platformer with puzzle elements. Most of the puzzles come from environmental types that must be manipulated with your trusty spear. The spear serves multiple functions and can be used to pierce objects, used as a stepping platform to get to higher areas you can’t normally jump to, and as a lever to control platforms. There are also portions of the game where you’ll need to avoid enemies either by running or hiding as you can’t really use your spear to kill them.
Back to the puzzles, some can be challenging, but for the most part, they aren’t too difficult to solve. Mostly you just need to sit back and just examine what’s going on. There is some trial and error involved but if you just take the time to think things through, the puzzles aren’t very hard at all.
Aside from the fantastic gameplay, the art is the other highlight of Out of Line. I love all the hand-drawn elements. You can tell a lot of effort went into creating these and it really pays off. The backgrounds look like works of art and they really do a good job of setting the one of the game. The hand-drawn nature makes each set piece look different from what came before it and helps to keep the game from feeling repetitive like some games in this genre can feel.
There isn’t much about Out of Line that I don’t like, though the game at times can feel a bit slow. By that I mean the pacing can feel a bit slow at times and there are small parts of the game here and there where you really aren’t doing much aside from just walking. Looking at the beautiful scenery is great and all, but there were a lot of times where I just wanted to get to the next puzzle.
In the end though, Out of Line is a beautifully crafted game with wonderful art and solid gameplay. The puzzles aren’t terribly difficult and the use of the spear is quite creative and unique. The story is pretty good too and up for interpretation which is kind of nice as they don’t just spoon-feed you what they want you to think of the story. Out of Line certainly makes for a great experience both visually and mentally, but just know that this is one of those games where once you beat it, that’s probably it.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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