Moving Out 2 follows the standard template for sequels; it’s bigger, it’s bolder, but – and here’s the kicker – it’s not necessarily better. Essentially Moving Out 2 is more of the same but, inexplicably, it’s not quite as good as the breakout original.
The premise for Moving Out 2 is delightfully simple; you and three buddies over online or local play must band together to move overly-large items of furniture out of a building. Working as one you hoist, swing, and – most definitely – pivot to retrieve items as diverse as sofas, plastic flamingos, and farmyard animals from wherever they are found to stick them in the back of your moving van. It’s a physics-based puzzler, and one that sees its colourful cast of F.A.R.T. operatives unleash the expected amount of joyful slapstick nonsense. Windows will be smashed, doors slapped, and umbrellas will be used to bounce furniture through the air.
So far, so Moving Out 1. So what does the 2 bring to the party? First, it adds a healthy layer of graphical polish. Moving Out 2 looks much sharper and smarter than the previous game. Levels literally burst with detail and graphical flourishes. As a team of would-be furniture-moving heroes careen down a corridor, copious items will be knocked from the walls, shattering as they hit the ground. It all adds to the cathartic mad energy that the original game was so well known for.
Secondly, the levels themselves are much more visually and stylistically varied too. Developers SMG have joined the multiverse bandwagon and have provided the option to hop to different dimensions. There’s a land of sweets, filled with delicious looking confectionary and some wonderful wall-smashing shenanigans, and a Wizarding realm that features some of the most brain-taxing puzzles in the game. Finally, a futuristic world really lets SMG fly, bringing in a cast of very cute robots to help or hinder the player.
Further structural elements of the game have been tweaked, and it’s here where Moving Out 2 loses some of its mojo. The player must now clear stages and complete additional objectives in order to level up and access new areas of the game. The problem is that these objectives are a mixed bag at best, and the cost of forcing players to complete them to progress comes at the serious detriment of having an enjoyable experience.
The best tasks are those that encourage creative play; like finding and retrieving hidden items, using level props in innovative ways, and sticking a ram in a pig pen just to see what happens. Unfortunately, too often are you forced to do boring and frustrating tasks that add nothing to the overall experience. Being demanded not to break any items in a physics-based party game that is all about chaotic, rampaging removals is simply not fun. The game mechanics just aren’t built for it.
Just like its predecessor, Moving Out 2 gets far too hard in its later stages, demanding a level of player finesse that the over-the-top controls simply don’t provide. Still, SMG should be commended on providing a wealth of player accessibility options that make even the most frustrating of levels at least doable. Just as in the first game, there’s a healthy Assist Mode that lets you tailor the game with extended completion times, simplified game mechanics and more, and there’s further options in the sequel for dyslexic friendly fonts, button presses instead of holds, fully remappable controls and more. So it’s a real shame that the final third of Moving Out 2 all too often forgets to have fun, a bizarre accusation at a game that features a sentient toaster as a player character.