Out Of Space Review: Intergalactic Housekeeping

Out Of Space is a hectic but casual cooperative game for 1 to 4 players. It is available on Steam and Humble Bundle. Gideon’s Gaming receives a small commission if you purchase the game through the humble link. Joseph Pugh conducted this review

Overview

Out Of Space is about powering up randomly generated space stations infested by filthy alien critters. The goal is to power every room with a battery while combating an alien menace that constantly impedes your progress. Yet you and your team must also manage to live together, often in cramped quarters until the work is done.

Players must eat, sleep and even shower as they outfit the station with a variety of nice furnishings. The alien infestation grows stronger with every passing moment, the goo they spread not only makes furniture unusable but can be deadly to players who can end up cocooned inside it.

Buckets of water can clean doors and furniture, while a mop can be used to clean up the messy floors.

Teamwork and coordination are required to complete the job. A fallen player either by hunger or alien goo will need the help of another player to get back on task. Weapons are not permitted, the crew is armed only with a mop, bucket and their own wits as they clean the station.

Money can be earned by recycling trash, unwanted furniture or even aliens. The crew can use this cash to requisition furniture, batteries, tools or maybe even a robotic or furry ally to aid them. Every task takes time, and even the simple act of walking to the ship’s entrance to pick up a package could be long enough for the infestation to spread.

Mopping Up The Mess

Out Of Space is simple to pick up and play, using only a handful of buttons and the concept is easy to understand. The station is infested, the mess needs cleaned up and all the rooms need power. You can play solo, but the game shines brightest with at least one friend.

The ship/stations themselves are randomly generated and can be small, medium or large. The larger the ship, the greater the challenge and time commitment. Overtime the alien goo will form eggs that hatch into aliens that spread more goo. They can spread through doors and vents and will always infest a dark and unpowered room even if it was previously cleaned.

Out of Space is simple to understand.

Players can pick up a mighty mop and sweep up the goo, turning it into trash to be recycled. Buckets can be filled with water and splashed on goo, infested doors, eggs, and furniture. Either tool will stun aliens allowing them to be picked up and dealt with.

Recycling trash, aliens and even food will earn the crew money that you can use to buy furniture, tools and most importantly batteries to power rooms. But beware, aliens will attempt to consume batteries they can reach.

To make matters more intense, each player must eat and rest. Powered rooms have one or more slots to place electronics such a pumpkin grower. Other furniture may be placed anywhere. You can find random furniture to place but you can also buy what you need.

The goo generates eggs that grow and eventually hatch into aliens.

Space is often cramped, the infestation is always spreading and the more rooms you clean, the longer it takes to simply move around. The core challenge in Out Of Space is task, time and space management.

The crew must attend to their own needs but must cut as much time from their chores as possible because every second that passes by, the infestation grows and spreads.

Wise players will buy or move sinks closer to the action so they don’t lose precious seconds running to the starting faucet. At the same time placing a sink, or anything else in a bad spot will only delay the crew because of the small enclosed nature of the rooms.

If a player doesn’t sleep, they will end up passing out on the floor. If they don’t eat, they become incapacitated until an ally feeds them. A cocooned player needs to be recycled, which makes a mess. Or they can be tossed into a shower for a much cleaner solution. If your feeling cheeky, you can toss them into the void of space. What are friends for after all?

You can purchase a variety of helpful objects with the money you earn.

Every mechanic of the game is based on precious seconds. If you knock out a bunch of aliens, many of them will wake up before you can recycle them. If you place a table, you can store them there until you have time to deal with them properly.

You can cook aliens or pumpkins in a microwave for more fulfilling meals. Placing a bookshelf will speed up other furniture in the same room. Yet you must also balance your funds, batteries cost money. Not only do you need them to win, but cleaning rooms is also bloody irritating without them.

Doors in unpowered rooms don’t stay open long, requiring players to constantly pull the levers manually, dropping whatever they were carrying and losing precious seconds. You have to strike a careful balance between buying helpful furnishings and batteries.

An object unlocked via a challenge can be purchased in future runs.

A lot of furnishings need to be unlocked via challenges as you play, such as the cleaning robot, dog and refrigerator. All of which can be very helpful to have. The good little pooch will bark at and stun aliens if you keep them fed, while the space Roomba will help clean up the goo.

Out Of Space is an entertaining challenge about teamwork and chore management. However, you will have seen most of the game after just a couple of hours. The ships are random and remain challenging, but they don’t really offer anything new between them. The only difference is what you have unlocked on previous runs and can now buy in the store.

There is a special weekly challenge ship that offers a run with special modifiers each week. It certainly helps with the variety, but only just. As I mentioned before, Out Of Space is simple to pick up, but its simplicity is detrimental at times. I literally lost count of how many times I accidentally picked up a mop when I wanted something else or how many times I accidentally opened or closed a door. Time is super important in Out Of Space, so wasting it like that stings.

Verdict

Out Of Space is a lot of fun, it’s strategical and rewards clever planning, teamwork, and communication. It has the same hectic chaotic feeling that games like Overcooked can invoke. Yet it cleanly forges its own identity with a slight hint of the Sims. Accidentally picking up or activating the wrong item on the accident is a right pain in the butt though.

Managing furniture placement on bigger ships is the key to saving time.

Out Of Space’s biggest weakness is its lack of staying power. It went for a randomly generated route as opposed to linear stages but squanders most of the strengths that come with that design choice. You can unlock new characters and objects via challenges, but nothing fundamentally changes between runs.

So while the content is technically infinitely replayable, it feels like you exhaust it quite quickly. Despite that fact, I could easily see Out Of Space come out whenever you have friends over the same way that old favorite board game gets dusted off once a week. It isn’t a game you will play for long stretches, but I could see its value as a party choice. Especially to tackle that new weekly challenge when they cycle in and out.

A copy of Out Of Space was provided for Gideon’s Gaming by Behold Studios.

Enjoy co-op party games? Check out my reviews of Unrailed, Overcooked 2 and Tools Up!

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Pros

  • Solid gameplay that rewards clever planning, time management, and teamwork
  • Simple to learn and play
  • The unique concept within the cooperative party gaming circle
  • Neat weekly challenge
  • Randomly generated ships is a nice touch

Cons

  • Very easy to misclick objects and doors
  • Unpowered doors mixed with misclicking can be super frustrating
  • You will have seen most of the game within an hour or two
  • Not much content beyond a few unlockables

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