2021 is an impressive year for the time cycle.Titles like Deathloop, 12 Minutes, Returnal, and The Forgotten City all show us being trapped in a Groundhog DaySimilar cycle-achieve varying degrees of success. However, one of the best time loop games I have played appeared in 2019. The title is Outer Wilds, and its new expansion is a perfect reminder of what makes science fiction adventures so fascinating and memorable.
Mobius Digital’s first game allows players to play the role of an alien astronaut. The task is to explore the universe and mark their position among the stars. However, every 22 minutes, the sun turns into a supernova-sending our brave explorers back to the quantum continuum, forcing you to relive the day over and over again (over and over again). In order to get out of this cycle, you must go deep into the core of an ancient alien mystery, uncover the secrets of a long-buried space station, and find out why your sun keeps exploding.
Outer Wilds’ world architecture is very fascinating, and its high-concept themes create a vibrant narrative. Several times, I felt that I was a true explorer, uncovering the secrets of the universe. These revelations are very powerful because you are free to discover at your own pace. Outer Wilds rarely hold hands. You will find notes and important knowledge details scattered in the solar system. You need to piece together all the pieces to solve the bigger mystery.
At the end of my time with Outer Wilds, the universe felt intimate and precious. I think I have mapped every corner of the universe… Now that familiar home has a new sense of mystery and more time cycles. Outer Wilds’ first expansion pack, Echoes of the Eye, is cleverly integrated into the base game; if you have already completed Outer Wilds, you can easily access this new content. On the other hand, if this is your first time using Outer Wilds, you can also enjoy this task while enjoying the original narrative.
Returning players should notice a new museum exhibit in the Timber Hearth Observatory. The exhibition describes the most advanced satellites used to map the solar system. After visiting the satellite, I found that this huge camera recorded evidence of a dark anomaly in a corner of the Milky Way. Pulling this line quickly unlocked my understanding of the outer galaxy, and soon I played the role of a cosmic archaeologist in an artificial habitat in a dark corner of the Milky Way.
As with the basic game, you should experience the revelation of Echoes of the Eye for yourself. I don’t want to spoil it too much, so I suggest you don’t read here and play the game by yourself. However, if you like a good teaser, Echoes of the Eye features a previously unknown alien race with its own history, culture, and language. This race has established a ring-shaped world like a halo, which has been hidden from the rest of the universe for many years. As you explore this station, you begin to piece together what happened in this society and what role they played in the larger narrative of Outfield.
Some puzzles in Echoes of the Eye explore the use of light. Some doors only open when you light them in a certain way. At the same time, the ship-like device can be controlled by illuminating the green sphere on the side of the hull with a flashlight. Every time I find a device similar to a future photo projector, I am very excited. These slides share the history of the people who built this station and silently tell a fascinating new story.
I have only played Echoes of the Eye for a few hours, but I can already see that its entry price is worth it. My favorite basic game always revolves around exploring the tiny solar system and understanding its history. I marveled at the huge water world covered by tornadoes, and watched in awe as the black hole tore a planet from the inside out. Echoes of the Eye is full of amazing sights. I like to find new clues in the Halo world and solve environmental puzzles to discover hidden doors. Every cycle has hope of discovery; every time I accidentally drown in a flood or hit my ship on the side of a planet, I open my eyes and start a new cycle, ready for another adventure.
Echoes of the Eye is released today on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Since this is an extension, you do need to own Outer Wilds to play, but it will only cost you $15. In addition, it is the better Outer Wilds content, so if you like the original version, this is a wise choice. Watch us play the opening time in the recent “Today’s New Game”.