Moving Out PAX West 2019 preview: Couch surfers

What happens when the Overcooked formula gets applied to moving furniture? You get a hilarious good time from SMG Studio and DevM Games, as Shacknews goes hands-on with Moving Out at PAX West.


Publisher Team17 hasn't had a lot of luck around the house. Their stint in the kitchen went all sorts of topsy-turvy, with Ghost Town Games' Overcooked series causing all sorts of cooking mishaps. Hoping to put that behind them, the publisher is now joining forces with another pair of indie developers, SMG Studio and DevM Games, to focus on another domestic task in Moving Out.

You may recall that Moving Out was first unveiled during December's Kinda Funny Showcase. The game has since been picked up by Team17 and there are indeed some common factors between Ghost Town's Overcooked games and SMG and DevM's Moving Out. There's the overhead perspective, the art style, the emphasis on cooperative couch play, but most importantly of all, there's the total and utter chaos that ensues. Shacknews ventured out to PAX West this past weekend to get a first taste of what insanity awaited.

Moving Out - PAX West

Moving Out seems like a simple enough premise. You're looking to move out of your home or other location before time expires. You can work alone or with up to four other players. And while the implication is that the game will mainly be set in a house, our demo took us beyond that. Our first session went to a haunted house, where the idea was to clear out a certain number of household objects into the moving truck out front. However, there are a number of obstacles in the way. Ghosts haunt the front yard and can scare your character into paralysis. Meanwhile, ethereal spirits can possess furniture already on the moving truck and playfully move them to another location. Keeping everything organized and inside the truck takes some heavy teamwork.

The other main location for our playthrough was an office building, where the objective was to move the designated objects into a giant freight elevator. In this case, there was more than one floor to work with, requiring running up and down nearby ramps.

Unlike the actual act of moving, you can cut your time down however you need to by plowing through anything in your way, like windows or glass doors. There is no penalty for property damage. In fact, barreling through things like the Kool-Aid Man is almost encouraged. The only thing that matters is getting the job done, but that'll take work with your teammates.

Moving Out - PAX West

It's not just two-person objects, either, although that is a big part of the game. You're inevitably going to run into heavy objects like couches and heavier electronics and those can't be moved solo. One person needs to grab one end and the other person needs to grab the other, with both teammates communicating where they're moving. It's easy to get stuck when both players aren't talking.

But the biggest challenge is that there's only a finite amount of space to work with in the objective area. In the case of our office playthrough, a handful of us flooded the freight elevator with useless junk that didn't need to be in there. That meant that with time running low, we had to find space for one last couch. And with the game's ragdoll physics, this was easier said than done, as too many objects would fall out and just tumble all over the place. Unfortunately for our team, we couldn't squeeze it in and time expired.

The sheer number of obstacles and the variety of stages looks to make Moving Out a blast. It has the same vibe as Team 17's other cornerstone indie franchise, Overcooked, in the sense that a calm approach eventually devolves into fits of laughter and lots of frantic yelling. It's a hilarious experience, one that's perfect for party games at home. Groups of friends can get a lot of laughs out of trying to fit a futon into a moving truck while recklessly smashing through any nearby wnidows.

Moving Out is squarely on the Shacknews radar now and we hope to see more of it as the game's release date approaches. Moving Out is coming in 2020 to PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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