Research has shown throughout the years that moving abode rates as an even more stressful life change than divorce. There’s so much to do, as anybody who has moved before would know. You’ve got to forward your mail, switch over the utilities and remember how that god-damned death trap of an IKEA bed comes apart. On top of all of that, there’s the removal process. That’s where someone like me might come in to help out.
The roof over my head and the food on my table are thanks in large part to packing up and moving people’s houses every day for the last near-decade of my life. It’s not something I really advertise and believe me when I read other people bemoaning the fact they’ve got a move coming out I do soul search as to why I even do it. It’s hard, it’s unrewarding for the most part and it’s an industry not without issues. And so when I heard Moving Out was coming from the team behind Death Squared, I knew they’d make one of life’s more dreaded events fun, but how close to authentic could they possibly get?
Picking up furniture and stowing it isn’t exactly a skilled trade, and Moving Out more or less recaptures the experience albeit with a few comedic tweaks. While accidents happen, it’s not with any kind of frequency that we’re breaking windows, throwing couches through windows into a waiting flatbed and destroying homes in a pursuit to gut them of the furniture inside. Free of the minutiae that bogs down real-life bug-shifting such as paperwork, packing boxes and the actual Tetris-like stacking of furniture, Moving Out encapsulates the heart of the moving experience, make it riotous fun while sparing those involved a sore back.
This local developer, Melbourne’s own SMG Studio, never ceases to amaze in the ways they compel gamers to band together in a co-op space to work together, yell and carry on until the cows come home and Moving Out is another wonderful example of the same principles that have made their back-catalogue the party staples they are. A game about clearing out people’s homes in a reckless manner, item by fragile item, is something of a catharsis for me. For every double-door fridge that I’ve had to awkwardly feed down a tight stairwell, there’s been a dream of sending it careening over the first-floor railing into the waiting mouth of the removal truck, hungry to be loaded with the day’s wares.
Of the game’s six preview-build levels, only one has any semblance of authenticity, a regular ground-level home, complete with a back patio barbecue. Access issues are top of the list when it comes to things that’ll ruin a mover’s day, and though we’ve had our share of goat tracks in the Dandenongs, we’ve never had to shift things over Frogger’s floating log creek nor have we had to deal with haunted carvers that go walkabout, but Moving Out’s creative spin on the removals process is a laugh a minute.
The game’s expectations of your service vary according to the size of your crew. Time goals and items to remove increase the more muscle you’ve got assigned to a job. There’s a lot of replay value here, the game is inherently fun and its gold medal goals are always tantalisingly out of reach in your pursuit to be the best F.A.R.T. you can be. That’s a furniture arrangement and relocation technician, for those playing at home. It’s a funny acronym, but it isn’t too far from AFRA (Australian Furniture Removals Association), the official body that helps regulate the removals industry and its near 350 accredited companies.
Moving Out is another frenetic outing from a game studio that plays to their strengths. Having developed some of the best games of the generation for friends to play together, they’re not reinventing the wheel here with this side table slinging, lamp swinging romp though they’re wearing their inspirations on their sleeve. It’s played in the same spirit as Overcooked, the hugely successful party-game that made meal prep, another of life’s banalities, as fun as it possibly could be. Instead of racing around frantically with plates in hand, you’ll be dragging a couch in tow. It’s a winning formula and it’s clear why the Melbourne-based team decided to adopt it with their own unique spin.
So, if stepping into my boots for the day to help out strangers, friends, neighbours and every other jerk who manages to sniff out the fact you’re competent at lifting furniture sounds like the absolute worst (and let’s face it, ute drivers know the pain more than most), then try the next best thing and pick up Moving Out when it releases on April 28, 2020, for all of the major platforms.