Space exploration game Outer Wilds – not to be confused with the other space exploration game, The Outer Worlds – is a beautiful indie title about flying your spaceship around an alien solar system. You'll visit strange worlds, see gorgeous vistas, and investigate ancient ruins – right up until the sun explodes.

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While you might think such an event signals the end of the game, there's still a lot to do after the sun goes supernova due to the unique nature of this particular game. That’s just one reason why you should play Outer Wilds – now let’s take a look at 10 more.

10 Roasting Marshmallows

Let's kick off our list with something small – a campfire. The game opens with your character sleeping next to one, and these charming rustic features pop up periodically throughout the game. Whenever you encounter them, you can choose to just have a seat and roast a marshmallow over the open flame.

It's a small feature, sure, but it's also a nice touch on the world as a whole. Being able to just take a moment to relax and partake in a classic camping tradition also fits very nicely with overall themes and style of the game as a whole.


9 Caught In A Loop

As mentioned above, players' journeys through the solar system always end with the sun going supernova – an event that happens just 22 minutes after you begin. However, at that time, the game sends you back to the moment you first wake up, letting you explore the world anew.

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This makes Outer Wilds a time loop game, which is a sort of subgenre of games that can be difficult to pull off. Outer Wilds passes with flying colors, though, as the loops are long enough that you can explore freely, yet short enough to create a sense of tension.

8 A Puzzling Situation

Besides flying around in a somewhat rickety and unstable spaceship, the core of Outer Wilds's gameplay involves solving puzzles centered on the time loop mechanic. You may encounter areas that become inaccessible after a few minutes, or a door that can only be opened at a specific point in time.

The puzzles presented by Outer Wilds are supplemented by some platforming challenges, aided by gravity altering crystals, and some sequences requiring careful flying through space. All in all, the variety of interesting challenges makes for a well-rounded experience.

7 Non-Binary Aliens

The main character of Outer Wilds is a nameless alien of the Hearthian species. It becomes very apparent from very early on in the game that Hearthians are exclusively non-binary, as everyone you encounter is referred to as "they" instead of "she" or "he."

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It’s possible that this decision was made simply to avoid a clunky or immersion breaking character select screen, but it’s still nice that the game commits to the gender neutral language. Every Hearthian is kept non-binary, providing a pleasant bit of representation for a group that often doesn’t see much.

6 Cosmic Beauty

While gameplay is all well and good (and is likely the main reason we play games), sometimes it's nice to appreciate something just for being beautiful. In this category, Outer Wilds absolutely gets perfect marks, as it's difficult to think of a strictly ugly place in the game.

From the desert plains of the Hourglass Twins to the lush forests on Timber Hearth to even the ominous and alien strangeness of Dark Bramble, the game is always visually striking. Even at a distance, when soaring through the cold expanse of space, the cosmic wonder of the world is captured perfectly.

5 Open World(s)

Outer Wilds is an open world game, which means that players can choose to explore in any direction they like. However, it's a rather unique open world in that it has more than one world for you to discover.

There are a total of six planets, three moons, three space stations, and one comet for players to investigate, each of them unique and with their own interesting mechanics. One planet is being consumed by a black hole at its core, while another is covered in an ocean and cyclones that send the player hurtling back into space.

4 Inventive Locations

With the numerous areas to discover, there are countless fascinating places you can explore, each of them shaped by their planet's design. The Sunless City on Ember Twin is a subterranean metropolis slowly being filled by sand, whereas the structures on Brittle Hollow will gradually be absorbed by a black hole.

Giant’s Deep requires you to navigate the hostile cyclones as you explore the islands, and Dark Bramble is a maze of spatial distortions and terrifyingly huge anglerfish. Everywhere you go is another creative and intriguing place to uncover.

3 Thrill Of Exploration

Due in large part to the vast array of things to find, it's hard to spend much time in Outer Wilds without revealing something interesting. You can simply stumble upon significant areas as you progress, uncovering the stories of an ancient civilization as you go.

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On top of this, there are often multiple ways to find story relevant information, spread out across multiple planets. This way, the game always ensures that you'll find something to help you along your path, no matter where you choose to explore next.

2 A Mystery To Unravel

One big draw for Outer Wilds is the mystery it offers. The time loop isn't just some game mechanic – it's actually happening to your character in the world. The reasons behind this phenomenon are linked to the ancient civilization that used to live in your solar system.

The exact details of your situation – both the time loop, and why the sun keeps exploding – are something you'll gradually piece together. While Outer Wilds is by no means a detective game, it does reward the inquisitive player for digging deep into its mysteries.

1 A Poignant Story

Finally, our number one reason why you should play Outer Wilds is absolutely the story. Unlike a lot games, this isn't something you're told in a series of cutscenes or scripted events. Instead, players learn about the world around them through other methods.

Whether by speaking to other characters, reading ancient transcripts, or through environmental storytelling, the tale of Outer Wilds unfolds itself before players as they venture into the stars. The ending (which we won’t spoil here) is touching and could be called bittersweet, although it still feels like a fitting farewell to an excellent story.

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