Outbuddies on test

A 16-bit version of Metroidvania Outbuddies is an ambitious one-person idea created by Cologne psychotherapist Julian Laufer. The project was successfully funded through Kickstarter and Kickstarter; the game will currently – after six long years …

A 16-bit version of Metroidvania Outbuddies is an ambitious one-person idea created by Cologne psychotherapist Julian Laufer. The project was successfully funded through Kickstarter and Kickstarter; the game will currently – after six long years of development – be available via Steam as well as GOG.COM on the 15th of October. Along with a tiny Droid, we journey to the mythical depths southerly of the Atlantic Ocean to find the foundation of humankind.

Moving on to Bahlam

In the film’s opening, we see the marine biologist Nikolay Bernstein rummaging through ancient maps inside the cabin of his flying boat. Bernstein embarks on a voyage across the south of the Atlantic to find Bahlam, which is the fortress of ancient gods. The adventurer is convinced that Bahlam is the site of our civilization’s birth. However, his expedition begins with a sour beginning, the protagonist. The car gliding across the ocean’s surface is trapped amid a hurricane of epic magnitude. The vehicle travels over the Atlantic through lightning and thunder until the final thunder rumble sends us into a black fading. We are stranded and awake about 11000 kilometers beneath the sea’s surface. A small flying droid has been able to revive us and is content to have saved us from the brink of death. We are now loyal buddies for the rest of our lives, or at least the length of this journey – discovered. Outbuddies effectively combines the style of Metroidvania with an advanced buddy system that lets you play some challenging puzzles and gameplay elements. Additionally, it allows us explore Bahlam in a local cooperative mode.

The Non-Linear World of Bahlam

In the spirit of classic Metroidvania, We are in a non-linear, two-dimensional 16-bit universe. It is possible to explore the world to the fullest extent of our imagination or until we come across seemingly impossible obstacles. This includes locks that are sealed in various colors or natural obstacles like heights that leaping or pathways blocked by spikes cannot overcome. Now and then, we are required to discover new ways across the Atlantic. This is precisely the reason for the appeal of Metroidvania. In contrast to traditional platforms and jump’n’runs like Super Mario, the world of Bahlam is an ocean-going adventure. This game has five vast and visually distinctive areas, each with five bosses. The various zones are connected via corridors or connecting further distances via portals. In the beginning, Amber only mastered basic ways of moving around, walking, running, and crawling, which initially puts our curiosity to explore within some limits. However, the game’s creator uses this to create an accessible game and does not instantly plunge us into total freedom. Outbuddies starts by guiding us delicately from tutorial to tutorial message until we unlock the essential abilities of our assister droid. It also includes some weapons and their variations. This is because Outbuddies is a progression based on the equipment system. The marine biologist isn’t transformed into a one-person army that can destroy everything during his adventures. Instead, he receives new gear and upgrades for his droid assistant to break through previously closed doors or barriers of a similar level. However, this doesn’t make it easier for enemies to contact, which means that the success of battle is always dependent on our skills.

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At least for an hour, we’re being taken by the creator Laufer with his hand in this manner. We leap over chasms and spikes, perform acrobatic wall jumps, and fight numerous creatures that want to grab the diving bell as we go about the cave-based exploration. The controls tend to be precise and easy to use. However, the ability to jump with precision onto tiny platforms is not without difficulty due to an inertia factor from the biologist’s landing. After a coherent introduction, we can reach a small town with a small group of Wozan people gathered and guarding portals that an earthquake has shut down. The vibrant Wozan men inform us that we should wait for the one who will save them. The Bible prophesied that he would free the people from centuries-long exile and bring them back to their diasporic population. Unfortunately, the Woman is scattered across the five parts of Bahlam, and a few are enslaved, imprisoned, and detained by a demon. It’s now our responsibility, as per the rules for video games, to take on the mythical hero’s huge shoes and free Wozan from the Woman who was bound and forced underground. After this brief intro to the game, the creator takes off the training wheels and lets us explore the game he’s programmed.

Progression based on equipment

Gradually we can unlock four new types of weapons and variations for them and learn about our robot’s capabilities. It’s not just an effective sonar that can inform us about the destructibility of walls and the passageways behind them but also an analyzer that allows us to spot dangers earlier. The robot we have is also equipped with telekinetic capabilities and hack enemies. The telekinesis feature lets us move stone blocks and then stack them on top of one to ensure that we can access the higher-level sections previously unobtainable to us. Also, here it’s somewhat difficult since it’s often unclear why our droid swerves a boulder away from itself and draws it back towards itself. In the same way, this mystical ability can be used to crush enemies at an uninvolved distance (this technique is employed for the other puzzles with switches). The hacking capability from our mechanical friend operates in the same vein. It allows us to disable specific enemies or even impose it on the other species through reverse engineering their weapon systems, inflicting them to suffer damage. If we plan our actions carefully and carefully, we can avoid an intense battle time and again. This is because Outbuddies isn’t an ocean-side walk at the beach. The dark, partially submerged caves carry many dangers. Along with some puzzles, enemies are very challenging; not just the standard bosses reminiscent of the game Castlevania take advantage of us if we do not develop an appropriate strategy and employ the appropriate equipment, but even the typical enemies are a bit tougher for them. However, Outbuddies always remains fair. Digital screen deaths do not bring you back the final saved point – which is uncommon – but rather to the start of the extensive screen section.

Bernstein following in the footsteps of Rambo

We have four weapons at our disposal for combat in the open and to conquer the environment. The Seahorse Revolver is the first weapon available in the game for open war. Armed with it, we can fight Bahlam’s creatures using laser shots that are high-frequency or the laser with a charge which inflicts more damage to the foes. Then, we’ll get the rocket launcher that is self-explanatory. However, it has a limited amount of ammunition. Kill enemies at this point with drop missiles as well for life energy. Also, If we’re vigilant enough, we could locate upgrades for our ammunition bag. The Bubble Beam lets us freeze enemies for a limited time and use them as jumping platforms. However, the Corridium Galvanizer allows us roll through ceilings and walls like Samus Aran.

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The benefits of local cooperative game

The developer also gave Outbuddies an option to co-operate locally. This means that the droid will not be controlled only by us but can also be controlled by a human. This isn’t just enjoyable, but it can make surviving in the arid waters of the Atlantic considerably more simple. Since the co-op mode is activated at any point via the game’s in-game menu, the droid is granted another feature: it can position small cubes within cave passages at any time and serve as different platforms or protect us from enemies. The only drawback is that the cubes vanish after a short time, and if we wait too long to jump in a passage, we will fall gruelingly to the ground or allow hostile creatures to descend on us again.


Alongside challenging puzzle design and worldbuilding, the single-player Metroidvania Outbuddies excels due to its carefully created pixel optics, its nostalgia-inspired aesthetics – that could be even more faithfully adjusted to the original DOS colors in the game’s options – as well as an enchanting 16-bit soundtrack which perfectly enhances the game’s magical atmosphere. The underwater scenes have an incredibly stunning atmosphere, even when the light cone lights just tiny portions. Cave walls float across the edge of the screen, and we must be vigilant against the creatures lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack.

The project by Runner isn’t just a great tribute to the previous century’s 80s and 90s due to its style and aesthetics. It also blends seamlessly into this period and features some nice modernizations, including the buddy system and saving options. A well-crafted level design and appealing – though sometimes somewhat clumsy – controls offer plenty of possibilities to explore. There are, however, areas where I need to look around in the real-life – darkness for long periods to reach the next level. But, those who enjoy difficult platformers and Metroidvania will be able to enjoy an entry into the genre that is worth the time through the Outbuddies.

What exactly is outbuddies?A classic Metroidvania that is tied to the genre by the friend program. Link: Official website

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