Moving Out is a worthy, exciting spiritual descendant of Overcooked. Ganging up with your friends to empty houses at record speed sucks in real life, but it’s a lot more fun in a video game where you can hurl beds off of the top floor and toss fragile boxes across the pool. Those who dive into Moving Out are rewarded with an engaging, hectic experience — the kind that has you and your friends driving each other up the wall in a way that only the best cooperative video games are capable of pulling off.
Instead of running a series of increasingly chaotic kitchens, Moving Out has players doing the grunt work for a hilariously negligent moving company called Smooth Moves. Your goal each mission is to empty the contents of a house into a moving truck as quickly as possible. Windows will shatter, prized possessions will fly, and angry snapping turtles will get stuck in the truck with everything else. None of that matters. Every Smooth Moves client knows to take out moving insurance, so the condition of an item is irrelevant so long as it makes it onto the truck. Feel free to leave the house totally destroyed, too. Nobody will notice, promise.
On the topic of total destruction, it’s a good thing that a few shattered TV screens won’t stall the move, because Smooth Moves expects a lot out of its employees. Collateral damage can’t be avoided as you and your friends have to clear out some absolutely absurd buildings in record time. L-shaped couches, refrigerators with plugs stuck in their sockets, and frantic livestock are hard enough to move on their own, but when you throw in claustrophobic corridors, active traffic, conveyor belts, and a timer that won’t stop tick-tick-ticking, you’re gonna have to put your thinking cap on and break a few eggs (and, as I already said, TVs).
The game is at its most chaotic when the clock is winding down the last few seconds toward cut-offs for each medal tier. There are all sorts of ways to shave seconds and all sorts of ways to add them right back on. You can throw and catch objects across gaps, break windows to make shortcuts, hop across pesky obstacles, and skip the stairs by hurling heavy couches and beds off of high floors. However, you’re more than likely to grab the wrong end of a couch, get stuck trying to fit a bed through a door, and accidentally arrange everything in the truck so that you can’t fit the last giant piece of furniture.
Moving Out has a fair bit of content good for a solid helping of co-op fun. Simply wandering through the bronze medal times for each of the 30 levels is easy enough and will take a normal team just a few hours. For completionist moving squads, however, there’s much more to do. Finishing each mission before the gold medal cut-off takes strategic delegation and carefully coordinated movements. There are also three bonus challenges per level, revealed upon initial completion, that can send your squad back for another playthrough or two on each level.
While it’s a great game with lots to do, Moving Out is ultimately best for completionists who have at least one other person to play with. You can technically play on your own; the game scales difficulty down for a single player rather impressively, lowering the number of items per level and making heavy stuff like beds way lighter, but it’s frankly a soulless experience without friends to strategize and contend with. Since there’s no online play, you should stay away if you don’t have anyone to play with locally.
Similarly, there’s much less excitement if you only go for bronze on every level and skip all of the challenges. The stringent gold times and the creative challenges force you to meticulously plan and execute to perfection. Bumping other players and struggling to maneuver an L-shaped couch through a door are moments worth a laugh and an afterthought at the bronze cut-off, but they are vehicles for Overcooked-esque intensity and frustration when you’re going for gold. Additionally, going for 100% essentially more than doubles the length of Moving Out, since you’ll likely need to replay every level at least one or two times to get the challenges and hone your ability enough to hit gold.
While one title is about kitchens and the other concerns movers, it’s impossible to avoid comparing Moving Out with Overcooked!. Ultimately, this game is not as fantastic as its inspiration, but it’s still absolutely worth your time. Like Overcooked, the magic of Moving Out is in full completion. Going for the accolades of gold medals and challenge completions requires strategy and coordination that demonstrates the full potential of the game’s chaotic cooperative play. If you just walk on through collecting bronze medals, you’ll still have a solid time tossing beds and getting in slap fights, but you’ll also be robbing yourself of the game’s true strategic depth that nearly rivals the best of its genre.
This review is based on a code provided by the publisher. Our review policy.