I was immediately impressed by Moving Out, when I reviewed it in the darkest depths of 2020. Not only did it offer a deeply challenging co-op experience, it had also managed to straddle the seemingly impossible hurdle of creating an accessible experience. One that could be customised and tinkered with to change the game to be enjoyed by as wider range of gamers as possible. It was also a crazy fun game too, who could resist chortling as a walking talking plant pot and a humanoid toaster lobbed settees out of a first floor window? Not me, that’s for certain.
In retrospect, the one sore spot was the end game, pitting players against formidable time trials in boring laboratories as the developers seemed to run out of ideas. So, it was with some trepidation that I approached the new Movers in Paradise DLC. Would this fresh batch of moving shenanigans recapture what was so great about the main game? Could it be able to inject the formula with new ideas?
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging: Movers in Paradise is a slapstick puzzling delight from beginning to end. It injects so many original ideas that the generous fourteen new story levels fly by in an absolute breeze.
Your FARTs are on holiday on the delightful tropical isle of Packmore Island. Well, kind of on holiday. It’s not long before the gang are coerced into raiding beach huts, smashing through seaside resorts and pillaging pirate ships in an attempt to shove way too many objects into the back of their moving truck once more. The gameplay is instantly familiar to anyone who has played the main game, relying on players to work together to yank and pivot very large furniture through very narrow spaces, but it’s been peppered with plenty of new mechanics to keep things interesting. You’ll have to manoeuvre ladders to cross precarious gaps and position river rafts to avoid getting a wet chaise longue. Then there’s rotatable cranks that must be propped open to solve puzzles and, best of all, flotation tanks that can be turned into impromptu jet packs!
The levels do a wonderful job of challenging players to think outside of the box, mixing up the mechanics in a gloriously unconventional puzzling potion. There’s a simply shocking number of ways to overcome each stage’s obstacles; it’s content to let the players figure out how best to utilise all the toys in every level’s toybox. There’s a glorious sense of satisfaction to be had when you discover the optimum route to achieve each platinum time. Then again, sometimes it’s fun just to smash through every level in as haphazard and chaotic manner as possible. The game take great pride in ensuring both strategies are well catered for.
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on these new levels, everything is shaken up by the gang finding themselves embroiled on a treasure hunt. Soon it’s ancient temples that your movers will be up against, each one requiring the use of one of four elemental powers to solve. You’ll need to harness wind, water, goats and a secret final element to be victorious.
From this point on new mechanics are thrown into the mix on every stage. You’ll have to blast objects with giant moveable fans to manoeuvre them into the right position, raise and lower the water level and lure goats like a matador to smash down walls. The DLC has so many ideas that it starts to creak under the weight of them all. Fortunately, the creaking never leads to breaking, the thorough and plentiful testing that Movers in Paradise must have gone through ensures a dependable and robust experience – one free of the bugs and glitches that lesser DLC can be laden down with.
For such a reasonably priced piece of add-on content – a paltry £6 – there’s an astounding amount of content to be enjoyed. Each level is packed with replayability, whether chasing down faster completion times or performing outlandish tasks to unlock tokens. These tasks are clearly the feather in Movers in Paradise’s cap. Delivered as a riddle they encourage the players to mess around with the game’s mechanics and have fun. Ever wondered what happens when you stick a fish in a hot tub? Wonder no longer, as Moving Out has the answer.
Gather enough tokens and you’ll unlock another ten levels to play in the Packmore Island arcade. These new stages offer a significant challenge to those who are after taking their co-op moving skills to the next level. Saying more would spoil the delights on offer but suffice to say, SMG Studio and DevM Games inventiveness never ceases to astound.