Today, September 15, 2022, marks the next-gen launch of the beloved Sci-Fi indie hit, Outer Wilds, which has officially landed on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, running at 60 frames-per-second with 4K visual fidelity. Mobius Digital’s acclaimed first-person adventure incorporates multiple genres to tell its unique story of an alien solar system stuck in a 22-minute time loop, that always ends in an apocalyptic supernova, and uses rogue-lite meets puzzle game mechanics to challenge its players to solve the game’s mystery.
Whether you’re a newcomer who has yet to experience the brilliant indie masterpiece, or a returning fan looking for a refresher course before replaying the game, this guide will demonstrate the essential tips you should know before venturing into Outer Wilds and will provide a spoiler-free presentation of some important info to help you on your way.
Be Ready for a Challenge
The Outer Wilds is not necessarily upfront about the difficulty and challenge it provides, I know from personal experience. Based on some of the marketing, I personally went into Outer Wilds expecting it to be a short story adventure, reminiscent of walking sims like What Remains of Edith Finch or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. I was planning to play a few hours, witness a great story, and move on, but to my surprise found that Mobius Digital had other plans.
In reality, to use a famous quote, Outer Wilds is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. First and foremost, it is a puzzle game that has a swath of brain teasers big and small, combined with roguelike elements and a 22-minute time limit loop that give urgency to solving its mystery. The game does not hold its players’ hands, challenging them in a variety of ways, requiring their full attention, and demanding maximum effort. Don’t get me wrong Outer Wilds is an incredible experience, truly in a league of its own, and its difficulty shouldn’t scare you off, but don’t be like me and expect to breeze your way through the game.
Use the Ship Log
The ship log is an important tool in helping players to keep track of what they’ve seen and read during the various loops on each of the planets and can be found on the ship at the computer shown above. It is important to read the information you find, as it can help guide you on your journey, and highlight other points of interest. Below, you can find what a semi-completed ship log looks like as you start to piece information together, but it is intentionally zoomed out to avoid revealing any spoilers. Also, while not required, when playing the game, it is helpful to keep a pen/pencil and some paper nearby to jot down some notes occasionally, in order to aid in understanding the broader mystery of Outer Wilds.
Talk to NPCs
While there aren’t a massive amount of NPCs in Outer Wilds, spread throughout the game’s solar system, you can find a number of interesting characters to converse with in many of the game’s locations. It is important that you engage with each of the NPCs, as they provide useful information for your ship log, and help to bring the Outer Wilds to life.
Take Your Time
The worst thing you could do in Outer Wilds is to hurry through the game. This will only lead to frustration and set you up for failure, as you won’t be able to fully comprehend the world Mobius Digital has created. There are no rules, guides, or missions in Outer Wilds and the game does not have checkpoints or waypoints. You are meant to go where you want to go, explore, and try to solve what is going on by yourself. If you want to have the best possible experience in Outer Wilds, don’t rush through it.
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Monitor Your Resources
In Outer Wilds, you have three main resources for your astronaut suit, Oxygen (for breathing), Fuel (for the jetpack), and health, which can be seen in the upper left corner of your HUD (heads-up display). Running out of fuel will cause your jetpack not to function while depleting oxygen or health causes instant death, and the loop starts over. You can refuel all resources from inside the ship and oxygen can be acquired from plant life on some of the planets, but if you venture into an unknown location make sure to have a strategy for replenishing your reserves.
Don’t Forget to Use Your Tools
There are multiple tools at your disposal in Outer Wilds, including your Ship, the Jetpack, Scout Launcher, Signalscope, and Translation Tool. The Ship helps you traverse the solar system, while the Jetpack gives you the ability to platform and reach higher ledges, and even spacewalk. The Scout Launcher sends out a small probe that can take pictures, the Signalscope helps to track radio frequencies, and the translator deciphers ancient Nomai text. Each of these tools is valuable in its own way, and is integral in solving puzzles. Ignore them at your own peril.
Go to Different Planets at Different Times in the Loop
This tip could be a spoiler if I were to go into any further detail, but it is highly recommended that you experiment with exploring planets at different times during the 22-minute loop. There are five main planets in the game’s solar system: The Hourglass Twins, Timber Hearth, Brittle Hollow, Giant’s Deep, and Dark Bramble, as well as some moons, and other locations I’ll let you figure out for yourself. Try going to different places at different times in the loop, and you just might be surprised with what you find.
Look Up Hints, Not Solutions
Even though the game has been out for over three years, there is still a robust community of fans, who will help new players if you can’t seem to solve a certain puzzle or find yourself lost. While you can look up exact solutions and guides to quickly solve the game, it is recommended that you try to seek out hints instead of answers, as this will make solving Outer Wild’s puzzles and overarching mystery a far more rewarding experience.
If You Get Stuck, Explore
The final tip is that there are a variety of places to explore in the game, so if you find yourself hitting a wall, not knowing how to progress, or lost with how to move forward, just go elsewhere. Chances are, you just might stumble into something important just by exploring.