I was so excited for Outernauts. It looked so good, so different, so not a Facebook game. The day of it’s launch, I couldn’t play because it would not load. I had to assume that it was so awesome that everyone was playing. After gettting in and playing, I can easily say that Outernauts is like every other Facebook game you have ever played.
Money, Money, Money
There is one factor in all Facebook games that prevents me from enjoying them. I don’t give them enough of a chance to sink their claws into me. It is not that I just up and stop playing them before they have a chance. They stop letting me play before I can find the point of immersion. “Oh, you just sort of started having fun? About that, can you stop for a bit and then come back later and play some more?” I shake my head as my mouse slowly moves to close the game. “WAIT WAIT”, It yells, “YOU CAN BUY MORE PLAY TIME!” My mouse keeps moving, “JUST GIVE US MONEY TO FIND OUT IF YOU LIKE US!” Then the app is gone.
I shrug my shoulders and live through the the couple of weeks that they email me to remind me that I played the game once. But, I never go back. I did once try with Wasteland Empires. I waited as my “time” recharged then I would go back in and play for a half-hour. After a week, I wondered why I was doing this? I wanted to play Wasteland Empires. I would have paid 15 dollars to do so. Outernauts was hyped to change this formula.
It seems to have doubled down on the in-game purchasing. There is more purchase options than I have ever seen in a microtransaction game. It probably has something to do with that EA logo on the loading screen. It made me sad to see that I had to drop real money on simple things like hats. I even seemed to be burning through my “energy” (read: play timer) faster than I have in other Facebook games. I guess they wanted me to get less of a feel for it than other games on the same platform. I don’t visit Facebook more than one or two times a day. So, it’s visibility in my eyes is very low. When I am on Facebook, it is on my phone. So I had to make a special effort to try Outernauts.
Outernauts is Pokemon. It’s true. Right down to the over-lay teeth that bite an opponent after selecting “bite”. What makes this so frustrating is that given enough time and no restrictions, I feel like I could get into an intergalactic pokemon game. There may be a deeper layer into the creature evolution trees or the skills they can learn, but I don’t have seven years to advance what would take me a week in a normal game.
Outernauts is a slick looking game. Coming from Insomniac, it not looking great would have been a surprise. Yet another factor that makes me upset that the game refuses to let me play.
And Forget It
I am not going to give Outernauts a review. Facebook games may be your thing. If they are, give it a spin. If they aren’t, go throw Pokemon into your DS. Play for a few hours then smile as you realize there are people out there doing it wrong. So wrong that they are waiting for their “energy” to recharge just so they can enter a fight.
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Images – Insomniac GamesTweet