Title: Out of Line
Developer: Nerd Monkeys
Release Date: June 23, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Hatinh Interactive
Out of Line is an adventure game about a small robot named San. His goal is to leave the clutches of the Factory that he’s trapped in, which requires him to solve various puzzles. There’s no dialogue, but this adventure artistically tells its narrative through atmosphere and visuals.
Everything begins when San waking up in the middle of a strange structure that appears to be ruins of some sort. Above his head, he finds a yellow cube and decides to run after it. As he explores, he finds multiple blue cubes, and things seem peaceful.
However, weird machine arms begin to attack him and the cubes, and the time of peace comes to an end. The next time he wakes up, he’s in a darker, more industrial area. Now San has to find a way to escape from the control of his captures.
To escape, the little robot can use the yellow cube and turn it into a sort of lance. Its purpose isn’t for attacking but instead serves as a platform to climb ledges and reach higher areas. It can also be used to power up switches along the way, allowing the player to activate mechanisms that move platforms and opens gates. This cube can always be used and is an important part of solving puzzles throughout the entire adventure.
Aside from this, black spears are used for specific puzzles and vary depending on the use case. However, they can be impossible to retrieve and shatter after a certain amount of time. This limitation affects puzzle-solving sometimes, forcing the player not to dawdle around.
During gameplay, other characters show up to help. One character happens to be a giant who also has a spear and can use it to repurpose the creatures turned evil by the machines. Sometimes it’s necessary to synchronize San’s actions with those characters, avoiding machine arms, cliffs, and traps along the way.
All puzzles are simple in design, with some helpful clues scattered throughout the scenario combined with simple logic. However, it caused the experience to never become overly clever, which is only affected by the short runtime. The issue is heightened, given that the story is so average. Not using words isn’t an issue, but the plot events are predictable. You’ll likely have a decent experience, but the whole package lacks ambition in both gameplay and narrative.
Throughout areas, collectible blue cubes can be found that will often ask a bit more of the player to figure out how to acquire them. The most significant feature of Out of Line is the charming visuals. The game thrives on its use of color and 2D hand-painted environments. The areas include heavily industrial portions and others that emphasize nature while still affected by machinery. It also features multiple layers, including foreground and background objects.
I’m fond of the way the game portrays the evil machine arms. Every encounter with them is dreadful, and a big part of this sentiment has to do with the sound of screeching metal that comes with them.
Out of Line doesn’t break the mold of adventure games but still manages to offer a straightforward puzzle experience through a gorgeous hand-painted world. There’s fun to found during each movement of gameplay, but the lack of challenge and the minimalistic narrative doesn’t make for an engaging time. It’s a low-impact puzzle adventure that could easily be enjoyed for a nice afternoon game session.
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