Moving Out Hands-On Preview – All About Fun And Accessibility

We’ve covered Moving Out a fair bit at WellPlayed. We’ve done an interview and a preview for the game, as well as an in-depth feature on developer SMG Studio. So when Kieron Verbrugge and I were invited to play it again we naturally said yes, because more Moving Out is always a good thing.

This time around we were invited to SMG’s Melbourne headquarters – a shared workspace in South Melbourne. Here we spent around 90 minutes playing the game, chatting with studio head and founder Ash Ringrose and getting a tour of the team’s working quarters. While we won’t re-tread heavily over familiar ground, we’ll try to give you an insight into elements of the game that we haven’t really covered.

For those who aren’t familiar with Moving Out, it’s a co-op game where up to four players play as Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technicians (F.A.R.T.s) who are tasked with taking furniture and other items from a range of establishments and tossing them all into a van before the time runs out. In other words, it’s a jovial removalist simulator for the whole family.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty we were shown a new trailer which highlighted the game’s pre-order perks, which includes a Koala named Bruce. The levels on offer we had already played previously, however we had not played the game in any capacity with four F.A.R.T.s (players). With such small levels, it was going to be interesting to see if four players would be as enjoyably chaotic as two players, or if it would lead to frustration due to players getting in the way of one another. Thankfully I am happy to report that four-player Moving Out is just as enjoyable (if not more) as playing in pairs.

Our team, which comprised of members from Press Start and PowerUp Gaming AU, had more than a fair share of laughs as we worked together to clear houses in Gold times only to come undone when it came to stacking everything in the van. The term “She’ll be right” – a staple of any true-blue Australian vocabulary – came back to haunt us a number of times as furniture failed to fit in the van. I highly suggest a few games of Tetris or Columns (if you were a Sega kid) before delving into Moving Out for this reason.

Thumbs up if you’re ready to move some furniture

Having already played Moving Out as a duo, it was interesting to see the strategies change somewhat with four players. For one, players would assign themselves roles. In one warehouse level there were conveyor belts that lead to a main room. One player had taken it upon themselves to place all the boxes in one of the rooms with a conveyor belt onto the belt. They’d hit the main room and two of us would turf them where they needed to go. It was like a well-oiled machine. There was also a lot of slapping each other, because what’s a slap between friends?

Every level in Moving Out has been meticulously designed and is laden with 80s pop culture references, and Ringrose is quick to emphasise that for SMG, Moving Out is built on two fundamental themes: fun and accessibility. It’s for that reason that four-player feels just as fun as two-player, because in Moving Out team work makes the dream work. I mean those L-shaped couches and fridges aren’t going to lift themselves.

Where Moving Out aims to set itself apart from other party games of the same ilk (such as Overcooked) is in its accessibility and inclusivity features – which isn’t to say that other games aren’t accessible or inclusive, it’s just that SMG has placed a heavier focus on certain parameters. If you wish to know more about these features we have covered them in more detail here.

Teamwork makes the dream work

As our hands-on time came to a close we were chaperoned through the studio’s workspace by Ringrose, where a handful of developers are hard at work putting the final touches on the game. Here we were treated to some behind the scenes look at the game, including how some of the ideas came together, such as the possessed chairs that feature in the game which came about due to developers accidentally putting sheep code (there’s a farm level where you need to round up sheep) on the chairs. Ringrose also talked about ideas that sadly landed on the cutting room floor, which included a Goonies-inspired level (please be future DLC).

During this tour of sorts, Ringrose implies that Moving Out will be well supported after launch, explaining how the game’s Arcade Mode allows the team to add more content without needing to shake up the campaign’s content – a godsend for the game’s developers. Furthermore, the arcade levels allow the developers to be a little more creative with the level design, rather than being restricted by the game’s furniture removal concept.

It should be obvious by now that we believe that Moving Out looks destined for big things. Both times I have played it I have come away wanting more, and each time I learn new nuances that impress me about the game’s development. With 50 playable levels and a ton of fun to be had, Moving Out could easily be the party game of the year.

Moving Out will launch on April 28 on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Co-Founder & Managing Editor of WellPlayed. Sometimes a musician, lover of bad video games and living proof that Australians drink Foster's. Coach of Supercoach powerhouse the BarnesStreet Bois. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts