Hello, travelers! As you prepare for liftoff, here are some tips from a veteran member of Outer Wilds Ventures, your local hearthian space program. As a combination of narrative mystery and astrophysics simulation, Outer Wilds can often be counter-intuitive if you approach it like other games. While it is completely up to you to choose how you play and where you go, this advice should help you get the most out of each expedition.
Pay Attention to Information
In many games, lore means fun bonus text to collect that you can read at your leisure or not at all depending on how you feel at the time. In Outer Wilds, every person you talk to or piece of text you read is a useful tool that will better prepare you for your journey. You can’t level up, upgrade your spaceship, or find new power-ups to help you overcome the dangers of the solar system, but you can learn about a secret entrance or how to avoid a deadly hazard. Knowledge is power, so make sure you pay attention to the details. If you get lost, try checking your ship log to go over the clues you’ve found so far. If you’re the type who wants to puzzle it out yourself, be sure to turn off the ship log’s rumor mode in the Options menu!
Use Your Tools
As the newest member of Outer Wilds Ventures, you are better equipped than any of your predecessors. You have a jetpack that can function as an EVA suit in zero gravity environments, as well as aid in jumping with its powerful boosters on the surface of a planet. Even in higher gravity environments the booster can make the difference and allow you to glide rather than plummet to your doom. Your Signalscope can help you track down various audio signals that you find in the solar system. Simply pull it out to pick up a new signal and aim it around until the lines turn into a circle and you’ll find your way. Don’t forget that it’s also a telescope, so you can use it to scout out moons or distant planets as well!
Your flashlight is useful for illuminating dark environments, but there is also a powerful lantern on your Little Scout. For scouting out the surface of a planet, the Little Scout’s picture taking capabilities are unmatched, but don’t forget it has a handheld photo mode for when you just want a snapshot of something! The Little Scout can also give you detailed readings about whatever it is attached to, which can warn you about hazards or other dangerous situations. Last but not least is your translator tool, which can decode ancient nomai text as well as pick up audio recordings from certain pieces of technology. Refer to the first tip for why this tool is so invaluable!
Have Fun with Physics
Outer Wilds takes place in a fully simulated solar system. This means that all the celestial bodies you see that orbit the sun are moving around in real time, affecting each other. There’s no friction in space, so you’ll have to learn a bit of astrophysics if you want to get good at flying. Your ship is equipped with an autopilot in case you want to unbuckle and check your ship log or refuel your jetpack on the way there. Be careful though – the autopilot isn’t very smart so watch out for anything that might be in between you and your destination (like the sun, to pick a completely random example).
One fun side effect of the physics simulation is the effect of forces on the player. Gravity, buoyancy, and drag can vary dramatically from one location to another, so keep an eye on your helmet HUD so that you don’t send yourself flying off of a small moon with your powerful jetpack thrusters. You aren’t just affected by your own planet’s gravity either – moons and other celestial bodies will keep exerting force on you while in orbit – so if you time your jump just right you might be able to use tidal force from the moon to get some extra height!
Outer Wilds is a crazy experiment in game design where our goal as developers is to let the players’ own curiosity be their guide. You won’t get quest markers or giant glowing arrows telling you where to go, so it’s up to you to solve the mysteries of the solar system however you see fit. You can explore in any direction you choose, and we trust that you’ll discover something interesting that will prompt further investigation. If you get lost or stuck, try thinking back over what you’ve learned so far. Most of all, enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of exploring the dangers of space in your tiny tin can!