Outernauts is a Facebook game designed and developed by Insomniac Games, the producers of the popular Ratchet & Clank, Spyro and Resistance game franchises. The goal is for players to fight, capture and train all of the “Outernauts” that are hiding on the different planets in the Outernauts Galaxy. The game is bound together by quests you receive that consist out of fighting x amounts of Outernauts, fighting other Outernaut players and collecting items.
Look familiar to you? Don’t worry; you’re not the only one.
After learning which games Insomniac Games had created in the past, I was pretty excited for Outernauts. Sadly, my excitement dissipated quickly when I entered Outernauts for the first time to learn that Outernauts uses the same, typical social gaming formulae as the vast majority of other titles on Facebook, repeatedly asking you to invite friends, connect to friends, uses energy bars and pay money to keep playing when your energy bar runs out.
Luckily, not many of these requests appear after the first batch. You begin playing on a planet and move your character around by clicking on the screen. You spot an Outernaut next to a bush and walk up to it to fight it. When the battle screen appears it screams Pokémon rip-off, and that small child inside you laughs historically as he begins to comprehend just how little game development has evolved in decade he’s yet to see.
Adding insult to injury, the mechanics are similar to their original source but the overall taste and style Pokémon offered just isn’t there. You fight the Outernaut and after dealing damage with different abilities you’re taught how to capture it with your net (where’s the Outerball??). After a short animation, you now have two Outernauts at your disposal. Exciting stuff. You fight a few more Outernauts and Outernaut masters who you defeat without even the smallest semblance of difficulty, learning new abilities on the way.
You explore some more, finish a couple of quests and about 30 minutes later you find yourself out of energy, unable to do anything and forced to stop playing or pay to continue. This is the end of your story.
Or is it? While Outernauts may appear a cheap, shameless Pokémon clone to some of us, it’s likely that others will notice some of the high points: for example, Outernauts looks good, and the battles, while simple, are fun at times and likely offer a great experience to younger audiences. I’d still recommend they pick up a copy of Pokémon – but then you’d miss out on all that awesome PvP. Oh, wait… they didn’t add that either.