Out of Line is a 2D puzzle platformer where you help San escape the Factory, a run-down place that was once their home. We were fortunate to receive a preview build that contained the first hour of the game. Note that, being a preview build, it is not representative of the final product. As a result, my criticisms may not apply to the release version.
Out of Line is both desolate and visually charming. The environments were bleak, mechanical ruins that seemed to only become more oppressive and dangerous as I progressed. Despite the factory setting, color is actually pretty prominent in the environments. While the game begins in an ash-grey landscape, the landscape quickly adopts blues, yellows, and slowly evolves over time. The world does not consist of only industrial environments either. San also traverses an overgrown forest that appears to have once been part of the Factory. Even within just the Factory, every room had a different mood and the backdrops were visually distinct.
San awakens to a yellow flying cube that eventually transforms into a spear. Rather than having purpose as a weapon, the spear is used primarily as a puzzle-solving tool. San can toss the spear in an arc into most walls, creating a new ledge they can jump on. This ability is useful for scaling walls that are too high to jump over. San can also jump on the spear platform and spring upward. They can then recall the spear, which will come back to them in a boomerang fashion.
The spear is not only used for creating platforms. It can be thrown at buttons, at moving cogs to jam them or used as a lever to operate switches. In some situations you can even use it to destroy obstacles in your path. While I did not actually use the spear for combat, I am curious if indirect methods will be used to deal with the enemies introduced.
I personally did not find many of the puzzles to be challenging and progressed smoothly. There were a few stealth puzzles where you hid from the claws as they patrolled, but these were frustration free. My main issue was not being able to easily distinguish what plane an object or platform was on at times. In the factory area you quickly run into other San characters who are trying to solve their own puzzles in the foreground and background.
Occasionally, I found myself trying to jump down onto platforms that were actually part of the background environment. This was the result of a lighting issue where the fog effect either needed to be a bit stronger on these platforms or they needed to be color coded differently. Some puzzle elements, like yellow gears, would also blend in with backgrounds of the same color.
I had a hard time telling how far I could walk on certain ledges due to the perspective the platforms were drawn in. As a result, there were issues where I would jump too early thinking I was at the edge of a ledge. Luckily, deaths did not reset most of the puzzles and I quickly made up the little progress I lost.
Aside from these visual comprehension issues, I would say Out of Line is shaping up to be a good puzzley adventure. While it took a while to get to more complex puzzles, by the end of the session I was being introduced to multiple spears and timing mechanics which increased the challenge.
I am curious if the other characters on the promotional art will be directly controllable or aid in puzzles. The story has been rather light thus far, but I’m hoping for characters that I can invest some emotion into. Either way, I am excited to see how this game turns out.
Out of Line launches for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam this summer and on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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