Outland Hits PSN This Spring With Co-Op, Arcade Modes

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Outland Hits PSN This Spring With Co-Op, Arcade Modes

Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Last fall I was introduced to Outland, a side-scrolling PSN action game that casts you as an urban nobody turned spiritual warrior. The dreamlike visuals, acrobatic platforming and sharp swordplay showed plenty of promise. Since then, developer Housemarque (creators of Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD) has fleshed out the game with a more fluid feel and gameplay depth that will make fans of the classic 2D side-scroller Castlevania: Symphony of the Night beam with delight.

A gorgeous introductory cinematic introduces you to the protagonist’s plight. As a nameless, faceless modern-day city dweller, you’re haunted by visions of a vast wheel endlessly turning. Maddened by the hallucinations, you seek out a shaman who guides you on a path of spiritual awakening and an uncomfortable truth: You’ve been chosen to fight in a timeless, cyclical battle with a pair of god-like Sisters who created the world and now seek to destroy it. Lucky you! “The Sisters are the final bosses in the game,” Producer Adam Sarasohn confirms. “They are the ones causing this conflict.” You’ll learn this firsthand in the opening moments of the game when you dive into a playable vision set 30,000 years in the past. Re-living the conflict as an ancient hero, your spiritual predecessor, this short flashback sets up the final struggle against the Sisters but cuts away just as the ominous battle begins.

Outland for PS3 (PSN)Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland’s sword-based action, fluid acrobatics and free-roaming exploration will strike a chord with fans of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but there’s a twist: You can shift between blue and red energy alignments with a quick tap of the L2 button. In the blue form, you’re immune to blue projectiles and enemies but vulnerable to red threats, and vice-versa. You’ll need sharp eyes and keen timing to best Outland’s most challenging moments, which flood the screen with dizzying color-coded projectile patterns complete with enemies and platforms to negotiate.

Luckily, your protagonist runs, jumps, and climbs with limber grace and swings a sword like he means it. Over time, his abilities evolve to include a sliding attack (also useful for accessing secret crawlspaces), a stone-shattering stomp, extended wall-hanging stamina and and more. These skills will be especially valuable during the game’s massive boss battles, such as one epic encounter that pits you against a telekinetic High Priestess who attacks by hurling pieces of the surrounding environment at you. “After a while,” Sarasohn teases, “the entire room breaks apart and starts falling, and you’re jumping up pieces of rubble while you fight her in mid-air.”

Outland for PS3 (PSN): UnderWorld

In addition to its single-player quest, Outland includes an Arcade mode that challenges experts to speed-run through scenarios with the highest score possible. But at PAX East, Sarasohn also revealed that Outland includes online two-player cooperative play that comes in two distinct flavors: Story Co-op and Co-op Challenge rooms. While playing the Story mode with a friend, you’ll occasionally find and unlock a Co-op Challenge room that warps the established gameplay rules. One example tasks you with controlling the color of your partner and yourself — a tall order when the air is thick with red-and-blue projectiles and you’re only worried about saving your own skin. Then, in a sadistic twist halfway through this particular Co-op Challenge, your partner assumes color control. Gulp!

If you’re wondering why Outland’s co-op modes are limited to online play, Sarasohn says it’s for a good reason. Split-screen co-op was definitely not an option. “We wanted each player to have a full screen so they can see all the puzzles and not have to make blind jumps.” And though developer Housemarque had experimented with a co-op mode that constrained both players to one screen, they ultimately abandoned the concept because it proved too frustrating.

Outland for PS3 (PSN)Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland is scheduled to hit PSN in late April or May. Have questions about the play style? Confused by the co-op features? Shocked by Housemarque’s departure from dual-stick shooters? Let us know in the comments.

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7 Author Replies

  • Cannot wait but where’s the trailer?

  • Looks interesting.

  • Voice chat AT LAUNCH this time, I’m hoping?

  • This game looks amazing it’s been on my radar for a long long while. I rarely buy arcade games right away since i have such a huge backlog and they all go on sale eventually, but i can definitely see myself making an exception here.

  • This looks cool. And yeah, a trailer would help.

    Where’s the WKC 2/ WKC PSP info, Sid? This is getting a bit ridiculous; all this 3rd party multi-platform pandering (that Crisis 2 article was particularly lolworthy) when you have two exclusives you’re totally ignoring.

  • I’ll be honest I read co-op and that’s about it. Online co-op or someone sitting next to me co-op?

    • Online co-op — Housemarque wanted to make sure players had full freedom of movement. Read the second-to-last paragraph and there are tons of details.

  • I’m so looking forward to this game. It’s gonna be epic fo sho.

  • Looks nice, almost a mix of Lair and Trine. Hopefully we will hear more before the release.

  • @8 – No idea why I said Lair, this is what I meant:

    Looks nice, almost like a mix of LIMBO and Trine. Hopefully we will hear more before the release.

  • Looks pretty cool…wish we had a trailer though.

  • I’m crazy excited about this. Hadn’t heard about it before today but will be making a Day One purchase.

  • looks really cool. loving the art style. no word on price yet?

    • I don’t think they’ve announced final pricing, so stay tuned. Those details are typically confirmed a bit prior to launch.

  • I was sold at “Housemarque”.

  • Found out about this a while back, and it looks awesome.
    The art style, and even the concept seem incredible.
    While I would have liked Couch Co-op, I understand that it wouldn’t have been as good.
    What will the price be?
    $4.99 (I can always hope)

  • @Vanthem

    My thoughts exactly. I saw Housemarque and knew it was a must have title.

  • WOAH, nice art style

  • Saw some PAX coverage of this, looks like another hit from Housemarque

  • @ 5

    its the same with avatars as well. every week grace puts some random mulitplatform avatar on the store (some which have a strong association with Nintendo like Okami & Viewful Joe), but totally ignore big exclusives like Killzone 3, Infamous 2, Gran Turismo 5, Resistance 3, White knight, GoW 3, MotorStorm Apocalypse ect.

  • looks very interesting, can’t wait to check it out :)

  • I’m really looking forward to this one. I love the Ikaruga inspiration.

  • Great, i cant wait…

  • bah. I was hoping for sooner than May. Been waiting on this one.

  • It looks terrible compared to their other games. It must be multiplatform if it looks that bad.

  • Little dude looks like a mini Cole (Infamous).

  • Great!!

  • Looks nice, too bad it’s not exclusive. Sony wasn’t enough for you anymore, Housemarque? Oh well its forgivable. You gave us two great games already.

  • I bought Super Stardust and Dead Nation. I’ll buy this too.

    <3 Housemarque

  • so it looks kinda like tron and plays like ikaruga meets symphony of the night. sign me up.

  • looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NICE!!!!!!!!!!

  • looks super sweet

  • looks amazing! :D
    can we have a couch co-op too please? :D

    • Like the second-to-last paragraph notes, the couch co-op was just not as fun because you don’t have full control over the screen.

  • this game looks amazing, been following it for a while. hope we playstation plus subscribers get a nice discount.

  • Super Duper Pitfall?

  • Is this a PSN Exclusive?

  • I looks very promising but I think this is definitely one of those games that needs to be shown in motion to adequately judge it. Would you show us a trailer? Pretty please?

  • wow looks very unique! definitely looking forward to it.

  • $9.99 and I’m sold just seen the trailer lol at first I thought it would be just an amazing platform game until I the guy swing out a sword now I am anxiously awaiting a price.

    • The combat is actually fleshed out. It’s reminiscent of a more modern Castlevania-type game, but your character is more agile. You can slash low, slash while standing, or uppercut to daze or juggle enemies. Has a satisfying feel.

  • I also just watched a trailer and this game looks legit. Now I just hope that it’s as long as Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night…

  • Dark gothic like, which i like.
    What about sound track/music? music plays a big roll in games now-a-days, what type of music can we expect?

    • The music had a tribal-type sound, if I recall. It was pleasing but it simmered in the background with pounding drums.

  • im sorry this is off-topic but i need to ask about if i re-subscribe to the 1 year playstation plus option will it start after my current one finished or will it start right away?


  • Hoping this is an PSN exclusive. Housemarque are quality devs much like thatgamecompany. They make, people buy :)

    Hope to see a trailer soon.

  • Pretty big fan of Housemarque. I’m in.

  • One of my most anticipated games of the year, I’m a big fan of Housemarque, and hopefully they can continue their run of awesome games.

  • If it’s anything like old school classics like Flashback, Blackthorn, or Out of This World sign me up!!

    • It has an element of that in the platforming, but it’s quick and fluid. A smidge of the old-school Prince of Persia too, but with a smooth fighting system.

  • Ooo…intriguing…

  • This looks pretty darn cool. A high quality 2D action-platformer? I’ve been waiting so very long.. ;-) [Happy tears]

    Housemarque may have started in obscurity, but I dare say they’re making themselves into a major part of the PlayStation brand.

  • For those asking, this is not a PSN exclusive as it’s published by Ubisoft. More the shame because there are few exclusive PSN titles of a calibre of what’s available on other consoles. The PSN team is just not good at scouting and securing top quality 3rd party downloadable exclusives, with a few exceptions like Joe Danger and Shatter. Speaking of which I hope Sony pick up the mech game Hawken, but I bet it will end up an XBLA exclusive.

    BTW, when will, if ever, a demo of Dead Nation be released? I still haven’t bought the game and likely won’t unless there is a demo.

  • i wouldn’t mind the blind jumps and all if it meant being able to have a session of fun and laughter with my friends and siblings

    here’s a vote for couch co-op

  • Buying it! The visuals are absolutely stunning, really some of the best art I’ve seen this gen.

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