Video Game: Outland
Outland is an adventure platformer game, developed by Housemarque and published by Ubisoft for the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation 3 and published by Housemarque themselves on Steam. It is known for combining Metroidvania, Bullet Hell and platforming, and is heavily influenced by Ikaruga.An unnamed man experiences bizarre dreams every night, and no medicine can rid him of them. Exhausted and compelled to find answers, he visits a shaman who tells him a tale of what is occurring. Thirty millennia ago, two divine sisters, one of light and one of shadow, created the world, and both of them wished to destroy it afterwards. A hero rose up and, using his own soul, bound them both to the earth. The main character is the reincarnation of that hero, and the fact that he's back means the sisters will rise again too. Therefore The End of the World as We Know It is at hand, and it's up to this new hero to rise up and begin Saving the World.Outland plays much like a 2D Metroid game, with the player being capable of jumping and interacting fluidly with the environment, and fighting with a sword and various special abilities. Unique to the game is the Ikaruga-like colour switching mechanic: most game objects come in a blue or red colour, and the player eventually gains the ability to switch between the two colours as well. Matching the colour of an enemy makes both sides deal reduced damage to each other, and allows the player to absorb bullets, while contrasting it has the opposite effect; similarly, coloured objects are only solid to the player when the colour is matched. The game is not a Metroidvania in the strictest sense; although the world mostly remains open to be explored as the game progresses, each level is linear, with only small rewards for backtracking later on. Rather than exploration, the focus is on action, platforming and puzzles.
This game provides examples of:
- Bad Moon Rising: The sisters merge to form one.
- Bullet Hell: The bullet patterns are just as extravagant as a 2D flying game would be.
- Charged Attack: Of the elbow charge variety. Strangely enough, it does little to no more damage than basic sword swings but stuns and knocks back most enemies hit by it, including the shielded non-giant warrior enemies even if you hit them from the front.
- An additional charge skill allows you to absorb all energy in the vicinity, regardless of color and unleash a destructive screen-filling shockwave.
- Collection Sidequest: Of the usual "hidden item" variety. Most of the time you just get some concept art out of it, although you do ultimately get the ability to stick to walls longer, reveal all large money pots in the game and double the strength of your melee attack if you get enough of them.
- Dark Is Evil: Sister Moon.
- The Dragon: The Dragon.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Spiders, flowers, bugs, you name it: if it's Color-Coded for Your Convenience and not inanimate, chances are it's going to either eat you or shoot a lot of bullets at you and then eat you.
- Final Boss Preview: Seen in a flashback to the previous hero's final battle.
- Free-Fall Fight: Against the witch boss.
- God Is Evil: Subverted in the end where they see the world crafted by time and men, decide that it is not theirs to destroy, and leave.
- Going Native: The opening depicts The Hero leaving the big city to find a cure for his visions.
- Kamehame Hadoken: The Beam. No real surprise there.
- Light Is Not Good: Sister Sun, one of the twin goddesses who created the world, and now wants to end it.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: At least two types of warrior enemies carry one. Especially annoying with the Giant Mook variety, since you can only jump over them to hit them from the back right after they attack: try jumping too early and you'll hit their head or their mace or try getting too close before jumping and you'll hit their prone mace.
- Mayincatec: The aesthetics ooze this, from the random artwork on the walls to the intricate carvings to the humanoid enemies' armor and even to the bosses. Look no further than the Winged Serpent, another name for Quetzalcoatl.
- Metroid Vania: Although a fairly linear game, with half the upgrades found focusing on improving combat abilities and the other half having mostly limited interactions with the game world, the game is open to explore at the player's leisure, albeit with limited rewards.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: Just look at the box art or any screenshot, it's a relentless barrage of orange and teal. Because the gameplay asks for two contrasting colors, and black and white were already taken by Ikaruga, it is somewhat understandable.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sister Moon and Sister Sun, respectively.
- Reverse Polarity: The main gimmick of the game.
- Shockwave Stomp: Very similliar to the Mario variety (well, besides using feet instead of his ass), complete with a momentum-halting front flip before the actual execution. The actual shockwave doesn't really have that much range, but the kick and the stomp count as seperate hits.
- Silent Protagonist: It's implied that he can speak, but it's never seen or heard except for the occasional grunt.
- Stationary Boss: The Sisters, who make up for it by having the battle take place in a void with moving platforms, requiring you to destroy the ends of the beams that rotate around them and change polarity at preset intervals to make them vulnerable and naturally spamming you with projectiles while you're busy doing both.
- A Taste of Power: A flashback to The Hero who fought the sisters. He's not that much stronger beyond the playable version at that point of the game besides having twice as many hearts and being able to change polarity right away.
- X Meets Y: Ikaruga meets the 2D Prince of Persia and Metroid games.