There’s really only one way to make a great sequel; take what worked in the original and expand on that web of ideas to a point that the original attempt starts to feel like a proof of concept. While that description might be a bit too overfitting for a game like Moving Out 2, it definitely bears the mark of a great sequel – one that knows what strings to tug and exactly when to tug them for the maximum impact.
Moving Out 2 transports us back to the ever-changing town of Packmore, where you assume the role of an employee working for the Smooth Moves company. Your first day at the job starts out simply as you learn the ropes of this business while working out moving jobs, but the narrative soon starts to branch out as a big disaster leaves the town of Packmore in ruins. This kickstarts a straightforward narrative that acts as a funnel to take you through the many different levels on offer.
The writing is quite flavourful for the most part, and it’s filled with silly jokes and puns that will make you laugh at the absurdity of it all. However, the game relies too much on humor which can induce a bit of fatigue after a while – but you can feel free to skip through the story stuff since that’s primarily immaterial to the gameplay which is obviously the star of the show.
"However, the game relies too much on humor which can induce a bit of fatigue after a while – but you can feel free to skip through the story stuff"
As a respected Furniture Arrangement and Relocation Technician in the organization, you will be taking up all sorts of packing and moving jobs that will only get crazier with time. The controls are pretty simple – you move around with the stick and use the trigger to pull stuff from point A to point B. You can also jump short distances, aim and throw boxes around, and there’s also a slap button that is used to interact with certain objects in the levels. The movement mechanics are pretty tight and responsive, which makes maneuvering your avatar an absolute joy. There’s a certain learning curve to getting used to the aiming mechanics, but once you get it down – it starts to feel like second nature and you will soon be hauling around boxes effortlessly.
Each level starts with a large overview of the entire map geometry, and you have to transport boxes of varying sizes into the back of a pickup truck before the timer runs out. Different types of cargo present different challenges for moving – sofa sets and beds can’t be moved through small doors, TV sets and ovens have wires that must be pulled and snapped, while fragile items like flower vases break on impact. You must utilize your knowledge of basic physics and figure out a viable path to the truck for each move in the least time possible.
The levels start out simply with you having to move around simple houses, but the game soon ramps up in complexity as you go on. You will soon be treated to sliding doors that open for a brief moment before shutting down, doors that only open one way, and even moving platforms. I wouldn’t be spoiling much of what you will see in this review, but it will definitely keep you on your toes with a constant influx of new mechanical challenges.
"I wouldn’t be spoiling much of what you will see in this review, but it will definitely keep you on your toes with a constant influx of new mechanical challenges."
Each level is carefully crafted with a decent amount of depth, so you have plenty of alternate paths and high-level routes that must be utilized if you wish to achieve the pro time at any given level. You can throw boxes across specific gaps, change the order of loading luggage, or come up with other creative tactics to get to this coveted pro time – which can be pretty fun on its own. Each level also presents additional challenges like avoid using a certain door, obtain a special crate, smash all glasses, etc. which are revealed after beating a level for the first time, so replaying each level is essential if you wish to check all the boxes.
Overall, the level variety is just spectacular. Each level is not only visually distinct from the last but also features entirely new types of objectives that continue to keep things fresh. There’s even a farm level where you have to throw down literal chickens who refuse to stay put in one place in a pen all while violent goats try to knock you down with their horns. Another level tasks you with moving stuff to and from different trains, which requires a good understanding of the aiming mechanics.
Another thing that I particularly liked about Moving Out 2 is its approach to difficulty. Levels can get challenging with varied obstacles, but they never get too difficult to the point of being frustrating. The timer will certainly keep you on your toes, but it also offers ample time to grasp the mechanics of the level and complete your objectives on the same run. The game also gradually ramps up in difficulty, which ensures there aren’t any ridiculous difficulty spikes that leave you baffled or frustrated. There’s also an assist mode that can be turned on for anyone struggling with the game, and it’s good to see that the developers have kept accessibility options in mind.Levels can get challenging with varied obstacles, but they never get too difficult to the point of being frustrating.
Speaking about level progression, we have to mention the colorful overworld. Much like the original, you have an overworld map where you can goof around in your minivan as you choose which levels to tackle. Certain areas are gated off depending on your level, but the game never really forced me to replay levels in order to gain enough stars to be able to unlock the next level. Despite only getting one to two stars in each level, I always had something new to do – which is most definitely a good thing in my book.
And on the topic of content, Moving Out 2 is pretty generous when it comes to content. I am happy to report that there’s a lot to see and do in this game. Apart from completing the dozens upon dozens of varied levels, you can also collect arcade cassettes dotted around the world which unlock new mini-games. Similarly, there are character crates that unlock new characters and cosmetic options to better express yourself. All in all, you can easily spend tens of hours in Moving Out 2 and still have a ton of stuff on your checklist.
One of the biggest criticisms of the original Moving Out was the lack of online co-op, and the sequel has thankfully fixed that issue. Moving Out 2 fully supports online co-op, and you can even enable cross-platform play to enjoy the game with your friends on other platforms. The game would definitely be more fun with friends since you can split the responsibilities and cause even more chaos.
In conclusion, Moving Out 2 is a great sequel that builds on the strong foundations of the original and dials the chaos up to eleven. The level variety is pretty impressive, and the game changes things up with new types of obstacles all in an effort to make moving stuff around a consistently engaging experience. The narrative elements are still mostly filler, though that wouldn’t mean when you are racing against time to get all the boxes back into the truck. If you’re someone who enjoys games such as Overcooked, Moving Out 2 is a game that you should definitely try out.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
Simple and responsive controls; great art style; levels are creative and ripe for replaying with additional challenges; Great online co-op support.
Inessential story; the silly jokes can start to feel redundant after a while.