Out of Line (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Out of Line is one of those games that tells its story without words.  Well I have no choice here so forgive me if this sounds dumb.  Anyway, you play as a dude who looks like the kid from Scribblenauts.  You’re in a hand-drawn mechanical world trying to escape these giant grabber claw hands.  You have to find these glowing blue cubes that attach themselves to trees, and you also meet older versions of yourself.  Early on in the game you get a yellow spear of light that you can throw and do other things with to creatively bypass obstacles in this 2-D puzzle platformer.  Out of Line is available on nearly all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

In the game you run left and right with the L stick, and jump with the A button.  Push certain objects and flip switches with the Y button.  To throw your spear, just hold down the R trigger button to bring up an aiming icon, then use the R stick to aim and release the R trigger button to throw.  You won’t really use your spear to attack enemies, but solve puzzles instead.  Your spear can stick into walls (call it back with the R trigger button), and you can use your spear as a stepping stone or to stop moving gears.  You can use your spear in other creative ways, too, like a makeshift lever.  Or attach it to a rope to cross longer distances.  If you get hit by something dangerous or fall off a ledge, you’ll start over pretty close to where you made the mistake most of the time.

I really liked the hand-drawn graphics and creative ways to use your spear to solve puzzles.  But the game does have a few problems.  It’s awfully short and I was able to beat it in a couple of hours.  But one good thing is that it doesn’t wear out its welcome.  The game is pretty easy, too, and I only looked up a video guide a couple of times when the solutions weren’t very clear, not because the puzzles were tough.  But otherwise, this is a pretty neat little game that kept my interest all the way through.  So if you like 2-D puzzle platformers, you may want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

For a game about throwing a spear, it’s actually surprisingly non-violent.  If you fall off a ledge or are about to get hit by an enemy, the screen fades out before anything bad happens.  Sometimes one of the characters stabs these spiders, but then stabs them again to bring them back to life and they become good spiders that help you solve puzzles.  Reading skill isn’t needed to play, but younger gamers may need help with the tougher puzzles, jumps, and timed obstacles.  Out of Line is rated E for Everyone.

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