June 15, 2024
Smooth Moves and the F.A.R.T crew are back to unpack in Moving Out 2, but should they pack it up instead? The Finger Guns review:

Just over three years from the award-winning Moving Out, SMG Studios and DevM Games are back with Moving Out 2. The physics-based chaos-ridden party game consisting of moving out furniture in a timely – and often whacky – fashion is here. With an endless supply of games that channel a similar insanity, Moving Out’s novel concept made the game stand out from the crowd.

Now with online play alongside couch co-op, Moving Out 2 makes it easier than ever to get into some couch surfing and lamp throwing. On a personal note, this is a game I’ve been excited about since the announcement, as the original had an excellent ‘Assist Mode’ that made playing with my partner a lot more fun. So does Moving Out 2 keep the consistency and up the ante? Let’s unpack.

Back In Pack

The F.A.R.T (Furniture Arrangement Relocation Technician) Team are once again roaming Packmore as the leading removal service. Like the first game, you play a tutorial just to give you a refresher or teach you for the first time. From an isometric perspective, R2 (PS5) lets you grab any object to drag across the floor so you can put the household item in the removal truck. If lugging it around is too slow, you can press square to throw an object, as long as it’s light enough. If it’s too heavy and there are two of you, you can coordinate a throw to blast it through windows or other obstacles.

You can of course jump, to traverse across the level and each one will have an amount of furniture you’ll need to put away. You are also timed for this, so the quicker the better as it can help you unlock a better F.A.R.T rank – which I’ll get onto later. Once you’ve got the basics of the game, you’re trained to take on the job full-time. However, your boss’s brain is as stiff as cardboard and they somehow manage to open up portals to other dimensions, whilst also getting themselves sucked up into one.

This is where you and up to three other players must travel across different worlds to find Gnome Technicians to help you find your boss and close the portals. It’s a simple premise, but you don’t need a good enough excuse to play through all the colourful levels. With that said, it is nice to piece your journey together. If I really wanted to nitpick, it feels less of a journey than the original game, but it’s an easy vehicle to take you from A to B.

Second Mortgage

I’ve broken down how you play the game to give you a brief idea of what you do, so now I’ll get into the levels themselves. The first mode, which you’ll be familiar with if you’ve played the original is simply moving out. Items are in a level, you need to grab them and lob them into a moving van in quick succession. This is the bread and butter of the game and will be the majority of what you do in your 10-15 hours of playing.

As I’ve previously mentioned you start off in Packmore, and these levels are your very standard suburban living. All places I’d never be able to afford, but they look like the ‘model’ American lifestyle. They wouldn’t be at all out of place from the original game. However, this time around there is just that much more fidelity baked into the design. Better lighting, sharper, refined texturing of the objects and building structures. It’s not a massive leap graphically in comparison, but it’s certainly noticeable.

Then there are a few other worlds once you’ve beaten Packmore that you can jump into from the start. I won’t get into all of them so there’s not to spoil the fun but I will talk about the candy-inspired dimension Snackmore. If you ever wondered where the sweets live when you’re not crushing them on your mobile, this is the place. You’re gliding across a chocolate lake between levels that are just a toothache waiting to happen. It’s not a particularly innovative design as it does feel like other games that have done it before, but it’s a serviceable world to explore that veers away from the normality of Packmore.

A State Agents

Though I wasn’t too excited about the design it went for, I did however enjoy the change-up in mechanics that differ between dimensions. In a few of the levels, a huge hard candy is useable to break down walls to use as a new path. Each dimension has one of its own main mechanics like this. They add just about enough to make them entertaining but I feel like the game relies heavily on them to feel different.

This mostly feels present because I played through the first game entirely, getting all the stars that you can achieve from either quick times or level-specific objectives. They vary from such things as delivering something you’re not supposed to like a Flamingo, or smashing an electrical box to get a shock. They’re thinly veiled, intentionally vague objectives to get you to think outside of the box when playing the levels. They add a bit more per run and increase the playtime to keep you guessing and trying weird things.

With all that said, I don’t think Moving Out 2 does anything to progress that formula. It really was just playing more of the same game from a couple of years ago, and for some that might be good enough. I did enjoy my time, but I wasn’t keen to get back to it because I already had a feeling of what lay ahead for the rest of the game. In the original game, there’s a lot more variety in level design, one moment it could be a haunted house, the next a haunted farm. Moving Out 2 has set themes and sticks to them, whilst changing the layout and maybe a mechanic or two to keep it fresh.

Moved On

There are however a couple of new types of levels now in the game. Moving In – which is self-explanatory – is just the opposite, and Score Attack where you deliver as much as you can for the highest score. On the surface, they’re fine additions to the game that further diversifies the way you play. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel like they’re phoning in the potential a sequel could bring. I appreciate there are a couple more bits to do, but they come quite late depending on how you play and there isn’t much of them.

These modes also resort to sorting separate types of objects for you to deliver, adding another hurdle to your success. It’s a decent enough way to keep you on your toes, and it builds that controlled chaos that SMG Studios and DevM Games have perfected. Hopefully, you have someone to play Moving Out 2 with as it’s when the game truly shines.

I played pretty much the whole game couch co-op and also played some online with some of the gang at Finger Guns. Kat and I agree that the online implementation is flawless. Jumping in and out following the host’s progress is so seamless and is a much-welcomed addition.

Levels have a perfect balance in every mode whether you’re playing solo or with friends. Another feature I also love is the Assist Mode. Like the first game, there is a good list that looks to help you with every facet. Longer time limits, objects disappearing and lighter two-player items really quell some of the pressures for people who may find the game too much of a challenge. A perfect addition to the game.

New Home

I’ve already said about the graphics having a subtle new coat of paint, but the levels themselves are where they’re a step up from the original. Whilst I’ve complained about the variety of the looks the levels have, there are so many variations within those themes that are incredibly impressive. Some of them even stopped me in my tracks to just work out how I’m going to navigate it.

It presents a neat new layer of challenge for those who are familiar and they just look more confidently designed by the teams. They also all look so vibrant, the colours really pop and though there is a low-poly element to the art style, there’s so much going on in the detail that they’re almost a spectacle. Characters new and old all have variations of style that you can find in levels or across the map. As well as more Arcade levels to enjoy.

Overall, I’ve had a good time with Moving Out 2. I’m clearly not lost for words for this game as this review is evidence but I am at an impasse on it. On the one hand, I was hoping for a bit more variety, an exciting new journey and more excitement the further I went on. On the other, I could be expecting too much and in fact, more Moving Out madness is all the sequel needed. There is a lot of game to enjoy, with almost 300 stars to collect, but it does feel more of the same and if that’s not what you’re after you might be a little disappointed. The main takeaway is that it is more of the same fun, just not more fun.

Moving Out 2 plays it safe with more of the same fun from the original. Whilst the game is more cohesive and streamlined with its levels, it loses some of the random craziness that you weren’t expecting from the first. New modes are decent and the addition to online co-op is great but don’t go into the game expecting it to reinvent the wheel.

Moving Out 2 is available August 15th 2023 for PlayStation 5 (review platform), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via Steam.

Developer: SMG Studio, DevM Games

Publisher: Team17

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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