My friends might never ask me to help them move again.
While staying with a friend for PAX West in 2017, we played a little game from SMG Studio called Death Squared, a fiendish puzzle title that filled those nights with laughs. The developer’s latest offering, Moving Out once again brings local co-op joy to Switch owners. With 1-4 players, you take on the task of helping people move out of their homes, office towers, and farms. But how does the experience stack up against the bevy of multiplayer options on the eShop?
After a brief tutorial, you hop into your moving truck and drive around the city to your next job. The charm and humor of the game are immediately on display as you smash into other vehicles on the overworld map. After selecting a mission, you move to an isometric/top-down perspective where all of the actual picking up and dropping off of furniture and boxes actually happens. Each job has a set number of items, like couches, TVs, and fridges, that have to be loaded on the moving truck. A timer ticks up as you play, and a meter shows how fast you have to be to earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal. If the time limit runs out, you fail the stage, but the limits are pretty generous and can be increased using Assist Mode, which presents a variety of accessibility options.
Completing a mission unlocks a set of three additional objectives to tackle, such as not breaking any windows, scoring on a basketball hoop, or throwing extra items into the moving truck. Although these new tasks provide another incentive to return to completed levels, they often can’t all be completed on a single attempt. For example, if two of your objectives are to break all windows and also leave all windows intact, then you have no way of completing both on one run. Successfully meeting these objectives earns you medals that open up challenging arcade stages that test your platforming ability and are quite a departure from the main game. There’s no shortage of reasons to replay stages, which is one reason why Moving Out is great for local multiplayer.
Even though there is a balanced single player mode—where you can pick up heavy objects, like beds, that normally require two people—you will want to get three friends together so that you can run through each mission with four movers. A lot of the fun of Moving Out is in coordinating movements, figuring out how many people it takes to fit an L-shaped couch through a standard front door, and determining the fastest way to get every item into the moving truck. Much like the frantic gameplay and intense shouting matches of Overcooked, so much of the enjoyment of Moving Out comes from that shared experience. Completing these stages as a single player felt stale after the first dozen or so. Even if new obstacles and hazards are thrown at you, ultimately you’re still transporting furniture and boxes from one place to another. Collaborative achievement is a powerful emotion, and it’s one you’ll want to be able to indulge in if you plan on picking this one up.
Unlockable avatars, helpful accessibility options, and a variety of objectives add compelling reasons to hire Moving Out for your next Switch event. A physics-based action-puzzle game like this comes with a certain amount of jank, but I never found it to be a deterrent to my enjoyment. If anything, the floppiness and bounciness of the characters make them more funny and charming. In addition, the colorful and light-hearted art style pairs well with the simple gameplay. The single-player experience probably isn’t enough to justify a purchase, but if you can get multiple people together, Moving Out is another excellent local co-op title that you’ll want to bring out again and again.