Outsider- After Life: A Great Game for the End of the World.
Humans are obsessed with their own destruction-it’s what separates us from the animals. We have dedicated more words, images and lines of code to Armageddon than we have to anything else. Outsider- After Life, a new offering from Rogue Games, deserves considerable credit for finding a fresh approach to this well-worn territory. Set after the destruction of humanity, Outsider- Afterlife, is a quiet puzzle game about rebuilding and repairing.
Humans are gone and have been for a while. An initiative to discover the cause of the extinction failed, leaving behind a sole robot. Several years later, a power surge reboots the little android. He repairs his circuits and attempts to untangle the mystery of what wiped out mankind.
Outsider- After Life is a point and click adventure game. Progress through the game by solving puzzles. We are presented with the tools to solve each challenge, but not the instructions. If the objective isn’t apparent, hints are available. Confused by a disparate pile of wiggly lines? Just tap the hint button.
The game offers a great variety of puzzles, such as rearranging the pieces of the robot’s broken circuit board to fix it, or redirecting lasers to complete a maze. The controls are simple– the puzzles are not.
Outsider- After Life achieves an impressive balance. It is lonely in a way that exceeds the isolation of most post-apocalyptic media. You, the player, are the only character. You do not interact with anyone else. This singularity could easily feel oppressive and hopeless. That aesthetic may be effective, but it’s certainly not fun.
Luckily, the puzzles that make up Outsider- After Life are extremely engaging and satisfying. The difficulties fluctuate, so players get neither complacent nor disheartened. Sure, one puzzle is simple enough to finish in three swift click, but the next takes time and concentration. Don’t let harder puzzles shatter your confidence. A simpler puzzle is just a few clicks away.
Outsider- After Life does not connect the action of the game to the story in an effective way. You are vaguely aware of the story–cute robot tries to figure out where it all went wrong–but the puzzles don’t actually provide the answers. Therefore, players may end up checking out on the narrative. The game is still fun and comprehensible. However, there is a story about the end of the world in there, and it’s a shame that the game doesn’t keep us more invested in it.
Overall, however, there is precious little to complain about. The design is beautiful. The world feels realized and empty, as all good post-apocalyptic worlds should. The graphics are lovely. The robot, as the only character is relatable. Its design is the perfect fusion of humane yet synthetic. He is a perfect metaphor for the game itself-lovely, engaging, and just a little disconnected.
Is It Hardcore?
Outsider: After Life is fun puzzle game you’ll be happy to spend an apocalypse playing. It’s variety of challenges and difficulties make it well worth the 3.99 it will set you back.