Outland

Common Sense Media says

Outstanding platformer looks and plays like a dream.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story draws inspiration from the aboriginal cultures of the Americas, with talk of spiritual energy, gods, and goddesses. That said, there are no overwhelming messages of spirituality or environmentalism. If players take anything away from the game, it will likely be that curiosity and tenacity is often rewarded with discovery and success.

Positive role models

The game's hero is a warrior on a spiritual quest. Violence -- directed against fantasy creatures -- plays a role in his mission, but just as important is his ability to adroitly navigate perilous environmental hazards. Players get the sense that he is noble, intelligent, and courageous.

Ease of play

A slow learning curve lets players get used to and master each new ability they earn before moving onto the next. Controls are well-tuned and extremely tight, making navigation comfortable and intuitive -- which is fortunate, since the game becomes quite challenging in its later levels.

Violence

Players use a sword and slide attacks to battle fantasy creatures including giant spiders and large floating insects. There is no blood or gore; enemies simply disappear when defeated.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Outland is a downloadable side-scrolling platform game with mild violence. Players do battle against fantasy creatures using a sword and dash attacks, but the game’s silhouette-style graphics show no blood or gore. Plus, the focus isn’t on violence so much as acrobatically navigating tricky environments. Parents should note that this game offers online play with open voice communication, a feature that Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

A downloadable side-scrolling platformer available through Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, OUTLAND has an aesthetic strongly inspired by ancient tribal cultures of the Americas. A narrator with the cadence and tone of a wise old shaman tells a story of a clash between gods and conflicting spiritual energies. Players take on the role of a warrior dedicated to ensuring the world stays in balance. He does battle with fantasy creatures while skillfully moving through environments populated with lethal traps, such as spiky pits. Along the way he earns several new abilities, perhaps the most important of which allows him to switch between red and blue spiritual energy alignments at will. This allows him to absorb energy balls of similar color, attack enemies of opposing hue, and select specific environmental elements -- such as platforms -- to interact with or avoid.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Outland stands out as one of 2011’s best downloadable games. Once you finish admiring its arrestingly artistic world, which features layers of intricately designed shadowy backgrounds and a hero who looks like a tribal version of a character from Tron, your focus will center on the game's wonderfully enjoyable movement mechanics. Sliding under hazards, leaping between canyon walls, jumping over a series of moving platforms -- everything feels natural and intuitive. Running and jumping is rarely this much fun.

Beyond movement, the game's clever system of earning abilities that permit further progression -- borrowed from games like Super Metroid -- makes for compelling play. Once you earn a new ability, you'll want to search out opportunities to play with it. Then you'll want to keep playing to find the next ability. And we haven't even mentioned the plants that spew glowing pellets in beautiful, intricate, and deceptively lethal configurations (think top-down shooters like Ikaruga). They really put the player’s pattern recognition and timing skills to the test. It’s a sure-fire hit for platformer fans.

Online interaction: This game can be played cooperatively between two players. It supports open voice communication, which means players may be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of discussion, or share personal information.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about games as art. Do you think games can effectively express emotions and ideas through their visual design, audio, and narrative? Do you think you can learn things from video games?

  • Families can also discuss the perils of online play. How do you protect yourself when playing online? What do you do if you think you’ve run across an online predator?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Price:$10
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:April 23, 2011
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Outland was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byromneysgirlfriend November 1, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Fun Game. Neat Graphics.

The plot and story are very interesting. It is an overall very fun game, but the more you progress, the harder it gets because you have to switch from blue to red all the time and it gets pretty difficult. Overall, the game isn't really violent or scary. The boss battles are hard as well. I haven't beat the game yet but I'm working on it. It's pretty fun :)
What other families should know
Too much violence

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