Moving Out is a game about removals: you turn up in a level with a few friends, grab all the stuff that’s lying around, and try to get it onto the van. Nothing ever goes quite right, of course, which is why it’s a party game and an argument starter as much as it’s a game of tactics and positioning.
To get to the heart of this brilliant experience, Bertie, Chris Tapsell and Donlan all joined up to have a go together. Teamwork! Brilliant. Here’s what they all made of it.
Half-way through playing Moving Out with colleagues, I realised I had reverted to the role I generally fill in my large family back home. Basically, I was busy looking busy while everyone else did all the real work. Moving Out is chaotic: one level has the floor rising and sinking as you move tables and beds and fridges across it, another has ghosts and chairs that want to run away once you’ve put them on the van. Somehow, though, out of all this frantic action, everyone manages to reveal their true personalities through the way they play. Chris Tapsell, who is the youngest of the three of us, quickly became the boss, dividing us up into different tasks, streamlining and tutoring us on the best ways to yeet a closet through a window. Bertie became the flair player – delivering moments of athletic brilliance with a lampshade or a microwave that saved the day more than once. And I was at the back, trying to look busy but secretly not doing very much at all. I didn’t feel judged. I felt understood.
(A quick word here about accessibility options. Moving Out is absolutely brilliant in this regard. Dyslexia options, text size, button remapping, level skipping, a meaningful easy mode. More of this stuff in games, please. Everyone should get to enjoy a treat like this.)
Part of growing up is about learning to accept yourself for who you are. I, for example, am extraordinarily bossy – nothing gets me going like a designated, clearly defined role – and this makes games like Moving Out extremely fun for me and I’m sure definitely very fun and not at all stressful or irritating for everyone who plays with me as well.
Some levels in Moving Out require this more than others. You can probably get through the standard house level by just lobbing stuff out the big window as and when, and we did fine on the Frogger-like stage by just hurtling back and forth on our own. In the haunted mansion, though, you will need a designated ghost-slapper (happy to oblige) and an assigned haunted musical instrument-baiter (Donlan: “I’m kiting the piano!”). In the conveyor-belt warehouse you will need to form a chain of operation through separate rooms – like a conveyor belt! I get it – and in the devious Floor is Guava level, you will need Bertie to stop messing around and do his damn job.
This game is very funny, and very good. It’s a nudge away from the multi-tasking, pat your head and rub your stomach brain-twisting Overcooked towards a scrappier, Wipeout-style chaos. It’s probably a bit easier? Maybe? At least it is if you stop to think about it, and if you have a good team with people who do what they’re told. If.
I thought I performed some real clutch plays! I might not have been the one playing dad, Chris Tapsell, but I was quietly doing the business, lobbing boxes or tossing sofas out of windows. It’s not my fault they put a slap button in the game, is it? I was role-playing! Oi oi, not like that, slap!
The best moving person I ever knew of was this old guy up the road from my dad’s house (not Chris Tapsell but my actual dad). He looked like he’d been beaten by the moving trade, all gnarled and bent double, probably by heavy sofas with bed frames inside – I had to move one of these once and it was like lifting an elephant, not that I’ve ever done that. But this guy, he could move anything. Anything.
My dad tells this story of how he was at his wit’s end about how to get a sofa into his house. Even the company which sold him the sofa, and delivered it with two strong young men, was defeated by the situation. Oh no no no, that won’t go in. As luck would have it, though, the gnarled old mover was passing by with his young apprentice, and he saw what was going on, effectively said hold my drink, and five minutes later the beast was in.
Still, I bet he never had to deal with a haunted house where chairs have a mind of their own and bounce around, even out of the moving van if you don’t keep an eye on them. And I bet he never had to hop across floating logs and crocodiles to get his fragile boxes on the truck. But I bet he would have coped. And I bet the possessed grand piano wouldn’t have eaten him.