OUTBUDDIES is an upcoming indie Metroidvania title currently being developed and published by Julian Laufer. A Kickstarter campaign for the game just launched April 2nd, in hopes of financing the cost of the game’s development up until release. A demo was made available to download on the Kickstarter page, and we decided to give it a go.
Disclaimer: This article covers the demo of OUTBUDDIES and does not represent a complete or finished product.
A sunken city of the old gods
Players take on the role of John, a marine biologist who finds himself in the sunken city of Bahlam after a shipwreck. 36,000 feet under water and gravely wounded, he is unwillingly connected to a supernatural being called a Buddie-Unit.
The Buddie-Unit has the abilities to manipulate his surroundings using hacking, scanning, and telekinesis. With the help of his strange new friend, John must venture through the sunken city of the old gods and uncover its secrets if he is to ever return home.
The plot to OUTBUDDIES is an interesting one. It isn’t often that gamers get to explore an alien world that is set in the deepest depths of the sea. It is a clever concept, and is capable of producing almost anything that the imagination can muster.
We know so little of what lays at such depths, and there is so much still to discover. This makes the deep ocean a perfect environment for video games — and OUTBUDDIES is certainly using it to every advantage that it can. Bahlam is a mysterious place that we get only a taste of in the demo.
With strange and alien inhabitants, vegetation and ruins, there is so much I still want to uncover. And I can’t wait to see what else the game has in store for me.
Good old-fashioned Metroidvania gameplay
The demo gives players a lengthy first level to experience and learn the core controls and mechanics that OUTBUDDIES has to offer. To traverse the level you will have to shoot, jump, swim, wall climb, crawl, and dash your way through obstacles and enemies if you are to survive the harsh environment.
To begin with you don’t have any way of defending yourself against enemies, and must instead avoid them altogether. Eventually, you will get your hands on the Seahorse Revolver — a living aquatic handgun that is useful against more basic enemies.
For tougher ones, you need to use the Buddie-Unit’s tank orb attack, which acts something like a grenade. But that isn’t all that your little friend is useful for. He is capable of moving large stone blocks using his telekinesis, giving you access to areas that would otherwise be unreachable.
The game also features a co-op option that allows two people to play at the same time — with one controlling John and the other Buddie-Unit. John is controlled using the keyboard while Buddie-Unit is controlled using the mouse.
The gameplay is solid and is everything that you would expect from a Metroidvania game. If there was to be one criticism I would have, it would be the lack of a health bar for the boss monster you face. When dealing with such a powerful enemy that takes a lot of punishment, it would be nice to know how close it is to death. Aside from that, OUTBUDDIES is good old-fashioned Metroidvania gameplay.
If you like Metrovania games, you will love OUTBUDDIES
OUTBUDDIES has a sort of cuteness to it, while also having a horror vibe at the same time. Its level design is dark, mysterious, and anything but comforting. Julian Laufer is doing what indie developers do best — not only bringing an old genre to a new generation, but evolving it into something unique and special.
There is no denying, even with just a single level of experience, that OUTBUDDIES is a Metroidvania classic in the making. And I can’t wait to see what Laufer has in store for players. If you like Metrovania games, you will love this.
The demo for OUTBUDDIES is available to download from the Kickstarter campaign page.