I first played Outdoor savages in 2019, when the game was first released. I marveled at the beautiful planets in the galaxy, playing the role of a Hearthian alien on my first space expedition. The journey would take me far from home, to Timber Hearth, and across the cosmos, exploring archaeological ruins and uncovering the civilization that left them behind. The game was, to put it simply, mind-blowing.

Corn Outdoor savages was also incredibly difficult. Navigating the ship required controlling six thrusters and plotting a path that would allow me to land on orbiting celestial bodies. The game’s time loop turned out to be the ultimate challenge, getting me back to where I started every 22 minutes – or sooner if I died from an accident or lack of oxygen. I could barely get to the places I wanted to explore, let alone solve puzzles.

Two years later, with the release of Outdoor savages: Echoes of the eye, an expansion, I revisited the game – and my perspective totally changed. According to developer Mobius Digital, the “first and only extension” of the modern classic fits “directly into the existing world and storytelling”. And this time, while I was playing, I got sucked. Two years of playing other time-looped or racing-based games changed my approach to this space exploration puzzle. The same elements that initially felt too alienating to me, pulling me away in 2019, have now become the backbone of my appreciation for the game.

Or Outdoor savages“The limited time seemed like a punishment, now I see it as an opportunity. Because the player will still be returned to the starting gate after 22 minutes, there is more flexibility to dare to explore. I started to throw myself around the planetary nooks and crannies. Knew I would be back to the starting point at the end of the loop so the threat of failure lost some of its weight – it was easier to swim through a cyclone knowing than the end of the loop was approaching anyway. It was easier to wander recklessly in the depths of a mine, knowing that I couldn’t get lost there forever.

Image: Mobius Digital / Annapurna Interactive

Playing more roguelites – a genre I had previously struggled to get into – helped me accept so many player failures and deaths as indicators of progress. This is especially true for titles where the player is seriously undervalued in previous races, such as Supergiant Games’ Underworld. My paltry skill level as a new player in this game, mixed with Zagreus’ lack of improvements, meant failure was built into the formula. I became comfortable with chasing a run knowing that I would be overwhelmed by Megaera – and later, Theseus and Asterius – but mostly hoped to learn the attack patterns in order to equip the right weapon. and pick the right divine benefits next time.

Games like Death loop also helped inform my approach this time around, although in Arkane’s immersive simulation the time loop doesn’t play out in real time. After selecting a location and a time of day, a player can spend as much time there as they want. They can also only keep a limited amount of gear and upgrades between races. The loop is a constraint, but it forces the player to be flexible with tactical approaches and to use their recognition wisely. In short: you have to make time loops work for you.

Playing Death loop helped me finally take Outdoor savages Player’s Tip at Heart: Focus on one task per loop and make each loop work for you. There is just enough time to dig deep in this cave or in this puzzle game. Because there are so many problem-solving avenues and every planet is teeming with archaeological artifacts, you’ll be sure to stumble upon something no matter where you land. After repeatedly breaking my body trying to throw myself into the fragile hollow of Brittle Hollow, I can take a break by visiting the Ember Twin, where I’m sure to find more clues. Often times, these other areas contain clues that help me solve puzzles that I had struggled with for hours. Outdoor savagesMultiple exploration paths prevent major bottlenecks from stopping the game, although the end-game puzzles get more and more complex.

Screenshot from Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye showing a new exhibit in the Observatory.  The exhibit contains two images, one is a radio tower on the planet Timber Hearth and the other is a map of the solar system with a satellite orbiting the z axis.

Image: Mobius Digital / Annapurna Interactive

And while the game doesn’t explain how to solve puzzles, it does give a lot of clues in the open world – it teaches through its gameplay, similar to games like The witness. Many of these early clues are scattered throughout the Timber Hearth Observatory Museum, including early-game nudges like inspiration on where to travel and crossing tips. The Echoes of the eye The DLC adds a new exposure here, spurring a new direction of inquiry – and a new reason to play the game – one that I haven’t fully cracked yet, but look forward to tackling as I continue. to explore.

While I still struggle with his rough crossing and some of his weird imagery, I have come to appreciate how Outdoor savages uses time constraints to facilitate true exploration. Where other games might use exploration to reward a player with a collection or skill tree upgrade, Outdoor savages uses it as a pure vehicle for storytelling. Time loops allow the game to remove all the other frills, put nothing between you, the vast expanse of space, and the intrepid exploration of its deepest secrets – time and time again. And I have my playthroughs of Underworld and Death loop thank you for my renewed determination.

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