Adventures in Another World
Part of me really wants to like Outerplane. Published by Lost Ark developer Smilegate, the game has some good ideas and great potential. However, generic combat and an unlikable protagonist let down the game’s better qualities.
I’m about to spend a lot of time complaining about the game’s writing, but first, the gameplay. Outerplane is a turn-based gacha RPG and doesn’t do much technically to differentiate itself from similar games. Players chose a party of four heroes of different classes and elements. Each has a standard attack, a burst skill, and an ultimate skill. Characters generate XP over time, which they can use to strengthen their burst skills. The party will also build up charge for a chain attack, where every member attacks in sequence.
It’s not the freshest or most original formula for this genre, and there are better mobile RPGs. However, I will give Outerplane credit for being an excellent version of this formula. The game’s strategy involves finding synergy between different characters’ abilities. It does place a hefty emphasis on elemental counters, perhaps too much, in my opinion. Still, the strategic element is deeper than just making blue attack red and red attack green.
Sword and Board
Unfortunately, while the gameplay was decent, the story lets it down in a few key ways. This is unfortunate, as Outerplane’s plot started on a reasonably strong note.
The game opens in medias res with protagonist K and his party of anime waifus assaulting a dungeon. I got a little suspicious when I realized its main character was a dead-ringer for Kirito from Sword Art Online. He’s also a badass chosen one master swordsman with a dark and troubled past despite looking about 14.
That said, K is far from the blank slate of a typical isekai protagonist, and his adventure as the chosen one takes a turn for the worse not long after we meet him. Betrayed and left for dead, K is saved by an android girl named Eva. After three years in what’s effectively a coma, K awakens and sets out on his quest for revenge.
Outerplane’s setting is also interesting. The fantasy world of Mirsha is a sort of hub for isekai protagonists. It’s not uncommon for earthlings from different parallel universes to end up there through various means. Meanwhile, scattered across the land are vast underground dungeons protecting pieces of lost technology called Scientific Inheritance. The most coveted of these are the Dungeon Cores themselves, which can grant wishes in exchange for a human sacrifice.
A Swing and A Miss
Outerplane‘s supporting cast is likable, especially Eva and the mage girl Lisha. Outerplane also has some competent character writing in the side-story missions. However, K himself was a bit of another matter. He’s supposed to come across as damaged and defensive, which I guess is fair. However, he’s also just kind of an abrasive asshole who alienates potential allies, directly adding to his problems.
For example, an early chapter revolves around a noble secretly sacrificing people to a Dungeon Core. Even his guard commander, with whom K has already built a rapport, is in the dark. So, does K try to explain the situation? Does he show her the Core and explain what it does? No, he goes on a rant about how he’s going kill even more people, convincing her he’s a psychopath. Then again, she doesn’t question why the town has a secret dungeon or how its ruler turned into a big, gross monster. So, K isn’t the only idiot in this interaction.
Meanwhile, the antagonists aren’t much better. They are all black-and-white anime clichés, they are less characters than they are archetypes. I’m not saying every villain needs to “have a point,” but a little personality would be nice.
In summary, Outerplane is a game that somehow managed to be better than I expected but still not impressive. The gameplay is well-made but standard for a turn-based mobile RPG. The story has a few exciting ideas, but that only makes the weaknesses in the writing stand out more. Part of me really wants to like Outerplane, but I’m still not entirely convinced that I do.
Is It Hardcore?
It could have been.
Outeplane has competent combat and an interesting world, but the story leaves a lot to be desired.