12th May2020

Game On! Review: ‘Moving Out’ (Nintendo Switch)

by Jason Brigger

A little about our family… My wife and I love playing video games, board games, card games and any tabletop game we can get our hands on. In the last several years, we have been including our 10-year-old son and our 6-year-old daughter, and sometimes our 3-year old son, in our game nights. With so many choices out there, it is difficult for families to know what a good game is for family game night and this is where we come in. We review a game to help make this decision easier and hopefully help you make a good choice for your family! All suggestions are welcomed! Please comment below.

Who We Are

  • Jason Brigger, aka the Dad: Co-host of the weekly pop culture centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas along with a weekly review of the television series, Black Lightning, which are both on Nerdly!
  • The Boy: My 10-year-old son who enjoys all types of games, from video games to board games to card games, as long as it makes him think.
  • The Girl: My 6-year-old daughter who is learning about games above the Candyland skill level and will guest in this column from time to time.
  • The Mom: My wife who will guest in this column from time to time, bringing a female perspective to games we review.

Officially, What Is It?

Per the official website: “Are you ready for an exciting career in furniture? As a newly certified Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician, you’ll take on moving jobs all across the busy town of Packmore. Smooth Moves may not be the biggest moving company, but there’s no task too dangerous or strange for this busy team of go-getters. Grow your business to brave new heights, recruit colorful customizable characters, and save your town from furniture peril!”

How Do You Play?

Setup:

Moving Out is designed by Team17, the creators of the wacky cooking series, Overcooked! For those unfamiliar with the Overcooked series, you and your friends are giving the goal of making food in restaurants built in crazy situations, ranging from an iceberg, a hot air balloon, and even a pirate ship. The environment changes as you go and overall, it’s just a blast to play.

Now take those mechanics and ideas and put it into a game that revolves around helping people move from their houses! On paper it sounds like an idea that may not work, but in practice, Moving Out may be the most fun and complex game I have played in a long time.

Controls:

Moving furniture has never been simpler as the controls on the Nintendo Switch involve grabbing or dragging (heavier) items, throwing the items, jumping over obstacles, and slapping. Yes, you can slap a person, ghost, animal, etc. but slapping is also useful as it flips levers and switches to move walls and objects.

It may sound easy but the main issue for the game is how clunky and difficult it is to actually use the controls. Whether it’s getting the timing down with another player to throw items or the hit-or-miss detection system when you are just trying to grab items, the controls are the one issue that keeps this game from being a truly great game. The controls in some games can be forgiven but not when players are trying to complete their goals in time challenges, which it makes it even more frustrating.

Gameplay:

The basic gameplay revolves around you, and if you like, up to three of your friends, moving a set number of personal items, ranging from couches to appliances to inflatable giraffes from client’s houses to the moving truck. It seems pretty straightforward and easy but once you try to maneuver an L-shaped couch around tight corners, past fragile vases, and through a narrow doorway, the intensity and your anger, grows. Luckily, you can bust out windows for shortcuts, which allows you to throw furniture in order to get it closer to the moving truck.

The game is able to be played solo but is more fun when you add friends to the game. Once you add friends to help you, some objects become a “two-person” job and you must work together to get that queen-sized bed through the house and into the truck.

Just when you think you mastered the art and physics of moving items, the game switches things up with more unique items and tasks! A farmer may ask you to move his never-stop-moving animals and since they can escape your truck, you have to figure out the best way to stack haystacks to keep them contained. Another unique moving job is a haunted house that produce ghostly dining room chairs that float away and a wandering ghost that can take you out of the game for a few seconds. The game embraces it’s quirkiness and oddness, which makes the experience that much better.

The Levels
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The crazy levels make the game. Along with the haunted houses and farms discussed above, other examples include a factory that introduces conveyor belts to the game in which timing is everything, to corporate offices to a Frogger-inspired level to even levels that require you to throw items from a moving train to your truck that is speeding alongside it. My favorite levels might be the celebrity houses you are hired to move furniture. These houses have guitars the size of three humans, odd pets (giant turtles?), and even gold records that require the most precise moving. Each level has hidden, quirky items as well and it’s fun to see what the developers added to each house or building.

How Do You Win?

The story is limited, I mean you are working for a moving company so the only “winning” is beating the time challenges. The time challenges are broken into “Gold”, “Silver”, and Bronze” for each level and if you don’t move all the objects on the list by the time expires, you lose and have to replay the level to move on in the game.

There are also hidden goals with each level that are only known when you beat the level. That customer that has ten garden gnome statues in their yard? Take them! They aren’t on the list to move but if you do put them all in the truck, you may get a surprise bonus. Basketball hoop at the house? Take a shot and make a basket and you might get a bonus too! The hidden goals are so random and have no reason, which makes it more fun to discover them.

There is a small side story in which the moving company is hired by an unseen villain and you must move some shady items in equally shady buildings. These levels are fun because not only do you move some unique items, you get out of the residential houses and into unique locations with different contraptions to master, including the above-mentioned conveyor belts and even flame throwers.

What We Liked About The Game:

Dad: It’s just a fun game! It’s not difficult to move onto the next level as the Bronze level usually leaves plenty of time to win but to finish the level in Gold or Silver time? That takes skill, logic, planning and a little bit of luck to master. Overall, it’s just a fun family game to play.

Mom: The humor in the game is a strong point. As discussed earlier, the quirkiness makes it a fun game and the chatter between the characters in the game is funny and keeps the game light-hearted.

The Boy: The customization of each character. You have multiple options on what your character can look like, ranging from a robot to a chicken to even a cooked egg, or you can go boring by being a human, but you can also change the character’s headgear, face, and body too. I also like the freedom you have in each level. There is no one certain or correct way to beat the level and there is no wrong way to solve a problem. It’s fun to be able to do what you want in a game and not be penalized for it.

What We Didn’t Like About the Game:

Dad: As discussed above, the controls could use some work. The mechanics for throwing an object take some getting used to as not only do you have to continue to hold the “grab” button, you also have to press, hold and release the “throw” button at just the right time. The more you play, the more you get used to it but even then, it’s still clunky and not always the most accurate.

Mom: Same as above. The controls can be a bit frustrating and can be the difference in deciding whether you get Silver or Bronze in the level.

The Boy: I wish there were more things to do in each level besides just moving items. Despite having hidden goals, I just wanted a little more to do in the game.
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Replay Value: High. The gameplay is fun, odd, and just a blast to play. We highly recommend this game and it’s great for families looking for a co-op game. If you enjoy Moving Out, I also highly recommend the Overcooked series as well as it’s another game series that leans into its quirkiness. Both games are addicting and have high replay value, which provides a great time for family game night.
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Final Score:

Dad’s Grade: B+
Mom’s Grade: B+
The Boy’s Grade: A-

Moving Out takes a concept that shouldn’t work and turns it into one of the most fun Switch games I have played. While the controls can bog down the experience at times, the game still thrives in spite of it. The game is easy to play but difficult to master as not only do you have to figure out the physics of moving each item, you also have a time limit, all the while trying to work together with your friends! If you are looking for a fun, family game night activity, Moving Out is the perfect game.

Have you played this game? If so, let us know what you thought of it below in the comments below!

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.  You can listen to their latest episode right here.
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