Moving Out is Couch Co-Op at Its Best, No Pun Intended
Moving Out takes couch co-op literally as you move couches and furniture with your friends in this chaotic and fun multiplayer game.
If there is one thing that I look forward to the least in life, it’s definitely moving. While games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and The Sims have been able to take the mundanities of life and turn them into something engaging, I couldn’t say that I have that same sort of enthusiasm for a game that involves taking everything I own, putting it into boxes, moving them, taking said things out of said boxes, and dealing with the madness afterward. However, that was all until I played Moving Out, which takes the concept of “couch co-op” quite literally and turns it into a frenetic and fun multiplayer experience. Luckily, you don’t even need a U-Haul or to hire movers to do it.
During PAX East 2020, I went through a few rounds with the showfloor demo of Moving Out to check the game out for myself before its release next month on consoles and PC. Playing the game at the PAX booth was enhanced by the fact that the booth itself was charmingly made out of cardboard moving boxes, adding to the ambience of the game’s manic pace. It helps too that from what I played of the game with three other PAX attendees, so far Moving Out makes moving out way more fun than it has any right to be.
If you’ve happened to have played either of the Overcooked! games, then Moving Out should be pretty easily accessible and quick to jump into. Much like Overcooked!, the name of the game in Moving Out is to (attempt) coordinating with your team to try and move as many objects out of the level into a moving truck at the edge of the map in the fastest time possible. On paper it sounds easy, but in practice, it’s delightfully silly chaos when four players are getting in each others’ way AND trying to work together at the same time.
Playing as one of four characters (human, animal, or otherwise), the controls in Moving Out are easy to grasp, as they mostly involve grasping things. Using the triggers on your controller, you can control your character’s left and right arms to grab objects, jump, run, and throw items in the mad dash to try and move everything out of the area as quickly as possible. Likewise, you’ll need to coordinate some of your movements with other players, as some objects will require help from another player or two to successfully move onto the truck.
What ensues in Moving Out is complete and utter chaos as players try to work together but fail spectacularly, adding to the game’s whimsical humor and light-hearted tone. As I played through the game’s first few levels with the other players, there was as much laughing and cheering when something went right as there was frustration and cursing when things were literally (and figuratively) falling apart. Given that the game relies so heavily on its frantic pacing and the pressure of time to encourage players to move as quickly as possible, the joyful energy of the game definitely comes from its chaotic nature, but there is method to Moving Out‘s madness.
Though a large part of the game’s physics might leave things up to chance or randomness, in a way this works to Moving Out‘s benefit by making things pretty flexible for players. Though the objective of each match in the game is to move as quickly as possible, the game thankfully doesn’t rely too much on cleanliness or efficiency, as you can pile objects on top of one another in the moving truck and finagle your way past some of its trickier challenges. Some of the best moments that I felt this was when I was trying to move a pinball machine with another player while trying desperately to keep it intact, or trying to maneuver a sofa onto the moving truck that was just barely not able to fit inside the safety zone, trying our hardest to shove it inside the truck.
While the core experience of frantically trying to pack up the truck is fun in itself, the real highlight of Moving Out is the game’s inventive and charming level design. Much like Overcooked!, the different environments of Moving Out all feature their own unique challenges and quirks to make transporting objects and working together more difficult, whether it’s through the level designs themselves or added gameplay elements. The first environment that we played through in our demo was a simple one-story house, but allowed players to crash through windows to quickly access different areas, adding to the efficiency, hilarity, and strategy of working together with other team members.
From there, the other levels in Moving Out grow in complexity and more unique gameplay elements to give each environment its own sense of identity and challenge. A later level that we played in a haunted mansion adds some additional twists on top of everything with ghouls that will chase players down and possessed furniture that will make life even more difficult for other players. My favorite level that I played from Moving Out by far was an homage to Frogger, where players had to skip across floating logs and alligators to reach their objective, including all the furniture that you’re trying to move.
Of all the games that I tried at PAX East, Moving Out was easily among the most purely fun and joyful games that I was able to play on the showfloor. Though at a glance it might share a lot of similarities to Overcooked!, if anything it speaks to the game’s strengths that Moving Out is able to bring its own identity and quirks to the growing genre of hectic multiplayer couch co-op games. Thankfully, Moving Out brings all the fun and chaos of actually moving out to your living room, and it won’t cost you a security deposit, contracts to sign, and weeks worth of inspections to enjoy.
Moving Out will release for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 28, 2020.