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Out of Order (PC) Review

By Ofisil 12.04.2018 1

Review for Out of Order on PC

The world of freeware videogames is basically a junkyard of planetary proportions, with tons upon tons of smelly garbage, but also lots of shiny treasures for those who don't mind getting their hands a little dirty. One such example is Tim Furnish's, Sierra-esque, point-and-click adventure, Out of Order, a title which the developer decided to offer for free, mainly to showcase the capabilities of its game engine, SLUDGE. "So, it's a tech demo, right?" Well, fellow imaginary, talking reader, the answer is, luckily, no. Thus, 15 years after its birth, Cubed3 visits this wacky, sci-fi comedy to tell you while you should do so as well.

The story? Hurford Schlitzting wakes up during a storm, and, feeling kind of peckish, decides to go downstairs and grab some grub. 'The End' flashes on screen, and the credits roll. That wasn't so bad, was it? Well, it turns out that at the exact moment, and in a parallel universe of sorts, Hurf will awake only to find that his back lawn looks kind of strange, as in it doesn't exist anymore. In fact, besides his bedroom, nothing from his house or hometown does either.

Yes, something bizarre is going on here, and he will have to get to the bottom of it if he hopes to see his mom again. Now, while soon enough he'll realise that this place he has ended up at is some sort of Orwellian nightmare, evident by his... The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-inspired attire, our, bathrobed, dog-slipper wearing, unlikely hero is the lead character in nothing more than a LucasArts-like tale, where comedy is at the spotlight.

Screenshot for Out of Order on PC

Out of Order doesn't take its self too seriously, yet some pretty some serious attention has been given to the writing, with almost every single line of dialogue including a joke; a good joke, mind you. Having said that, and while most of the fun here stems from the wacky humour on offer, the plot is actually quite enjoyable as well, as it manages to keep the player interested in finding out who runs this weird, utopia/prison where everything feels sort of fake.

The art style is pretty neat too, as long as you don't mind something that has a certain, for a lack of a better description, amateur stench. The backgrounds, in particular, are somewhat simplistic, with most surfaces screaming "Photoshop newbie," and yet, everything has a pleasantly surreal, "Toon Town" atmosphere despite that, or, maybe, because of that. The music is also pretty good, and, combined with the ambient sound effects, helps bringing character to each section.

Screenshot for Out of Order on PC

Putting aside the whole story and immersion thingy, the gameplay is point-and-click adventuring 101, as it follows the typical old-school control scheme, since players can swap the cursor between 'Look,' 'Walk,' 'Talk,' and so on, with most of the obstacles at hand requiring the use of the items that can be acquired while exploring. To the game's credit, however, while this system is far from innovating, the puzzles themselves are quite good.

Not a single puzzle will win any award for its originality, and yet finding the solution to most of them turns out to be quite enjoyable. The keyword here is 'balance.' While there are a couple of sections that follow the typical weird logic frequently found on the older adventure games, most of the time all it takes is a little bit of grey matter, a little bit of imagination, and a little bit of poking around in order to gather clues.

Screenshot for Out of Order on PC

Everything is perfect? Not really. Sadly, Out of Order doesn't escape from the almost standard flaw of the genre: the backtracking. Thank the almighty galactic dictator Xenu for the relatively small size of the game world, as walking back and forth between areas can be a royal pain, even when you do know what to do, first, because Hurford is kind of slow (damn those dog-slippers!), but also because it's not possible to double-click on the edge of the screen and "teleport" there.

This sadly makes the final three or so hours feel kind of like a chore, something that will "force" the less patient amongst players to do some walkthrough-reading and just "get it over with." Does that ruin the whole thing? Thankfully, the answer is no. This is a great adventure, with a pleasantly wacky plot, humorous dialogues, and very good gameplay on top of it all - and if it hasn't been made abundantly clear so far, it's not great for a freeware title, but it's great, period.

Screenshot for Out of Order on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Don't let the non-existent price tag fool you. Out of Order is a great adventure, with very good gameplay, an intriguing plot and game world, and tons of humour thrown in for good measure. It won't turn the heads of those who don't like the genre, but it's a definite must for those who do.

Developer

Tim Furnish

Publisher

Hungry Software

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I love some of these freeware point and click adventures. A bit like how much love clearly went into Nick & Willikins. There are also loads made using the Adventure Game Studio.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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