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Does the frantic pace of games like Forza or Need for Speed: Unbound make your head spin? Would you like to take a quiet and relaxing ride for a change? Well, there's a quiet spot waiting for you on the moon. Granted, there isn't much traffic up there and you're, likely, the only one in sight.
Outworld Patrol, by indie developer Rainstory.Games, pays tribute to one of the all-time arcade classic, Moon Patrol. Just like the original, Outworld Patrol's perspective is not from behind the wheel, although you have that option, but rather, from the side-view perspective, driving a lunar vehicle along the moon's surface.
At the start, you calmly traverse the landscape without a care in the world. But then, things start to happen. First, a boulder appears in front of you, which is too large to simply run over. If you try, your rover takes on the damage. Your ride, fortunately, is equipped with some very interesting defensive and offensive armaments to take on such challenges.
With a press of a button and a click of the mouse you can destroy the boulder or jump over it. Each time you fire, lasers shoot out from on top and from the front of your vehicle, which is helpful when more than one obstacle comes your way.
You'll also encounter deep craters that will block your way. Since craters can't be destroyed or filled in, you must jump over them. Fall inside it, and it's over. Then, as if dodging, shooting, and jumping problems on the surface weren't enough, there are aliens to contend with. And no, these guys aren't here to welcome you to the neighborhood.
The bombs they begin to drop indicate they are anything but friendly. Now you know why your buggy can fire upwards. So with the threats from space as well as the obstacles on the surface, you soon start to realize that this hasn't become the relaxing ride you were expecting.
While Outworld Patrol may not be the most original, it is one one the most challenging and addictive. Jump over one boulder and you may land down a crater so careful maneuvering becomes a sensitive balancing act. Thankfully the controls are as responsive and accurate since timing is the key to completing the 12 levels spawning three planets.
Aesthetically, Outworld is head and shoulders above the original, with impressive details and design. The atmosphere looks alien, dark, and foreboding making it feel like you're really driving on an extraterrestrial planet. The view of the Earth in the background is a nice touch making home feel like light years away.
Rainstory.Games has managed to capture the feel of Moon Patrol but falls short on capturing its essence. I guess that's because I played the original standing up in a smelly arcade and not sitting down in the comfort of my home office. But that doesn't matter much as the nostalgia factor is there and the gameplay is as close to the original as you can get without using an emulator.
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