Sequels can be tricky. They can go either way by striving for something fresh or falling back on old habits, for better or worse. Moving Out 2—the follow-up to the 2020 hit title—takes the path of least resistance by creating more of the same fun without straying far from the formula.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, Moving Out is a physics-based multiplayer game. You play the role of a hapless removalist, working with teammates to take furniture from houses and place it into removal trucks. This simple premise is deceptively challenging and, quite often, hilarious.
This humor comes in two forms. Firstly, your character is deliberately clumsy. It’s easy to drop objects, smash things, and generally fill the role of the previously mentioned “hapless” movers. This slapstick style is incredibly silly as you attempt to fill the truck. Even the objects themselves behave somewhat oddly (again, on purpose) by slipping and sliding around the place.
This adds to the difficulty to a degree thanks to the time limit imposed upon each moving job. Not that it’s difficult, but true completionists will be aiming to hone those clumsy skills and complete each house within the afforded time. Additionally, after your first play through each house, you’ll unlock extra challenges that add to the replayability factor.
The second part of the game’s humor is the story itself. Moving Out 2 is set in some kind of ‘80s version of our reality, complete with chunky TVs, corny ads, and all sorts of kitschy references. Some of it is just plain silly, like your job title: Furniture Arrangement Relocation Technician. Yep, the acronym is F.A.R.T. Even the company you work for isn’t particularly adept at looking after its employees, with slogans like “bend with your back, not your knees” dotted around the headquarters. We all know you use your neck to lift heavy objects!
Despite the clumsiness, gameplay is quite smooth. It involves hitting a button to pick up an object, then making your way through the house and outside to the waiting truck. There are obstacles to avoid, like pools and stairs. Sometimes doors close on you. At other times, animals chase you—oh, and by animals, I mean crabs or bitey turtles. Did you think it was something normal like a dog? Not in Moving Out 2! It’s part of the game’s quirky charm.
The physics are great, too. Some items are heavier than others, requiring two people to work together to heft the weighty package. When you pick up something meant for two, it actually “feels” heavier by forcing your character to move more slowly. Another part of the challenge lies in furniture arrangement. They don’t fit well; plus, don’t forget that slipping and sliding I mentioned. There’s an element of putting your Tetris skills to the test to make them fit. But it’s actually more fun to simply toss them and hope for the best.
You can even slap your teammates. It’s so juvenile, yet completely addictive. It’s the sort of game that can make or break friendships. If you’re all into the silliness, it works well. However, if only one of your teammates is trying to accomplish something by beating the time limit, it can be frustrating for that one goodie goodie.
Between levels is a minigame of sorts that lets you control the moving truck. Your task is to drive to the next house, but you can actually move freely around the town. It’s delightfully fun to smash into anything you like as a distraction between jobs. It’s certainly the part my kids enjoyed the most, though it also had them arguing over who controls the truck. Anyone can drive, meaning it moves even more haphazardly depending on who’s pressing the control pad at any given moment. I found that taking it in turns is the best way to avoid those arguments.
There are a few subtle differences between Moving Out 2 and the original title. It’s tighter overall, with a revamped character selection screen and many new characters to choose from. Somehow, these designs aren’t as cute this time around, though they’re definitely still silly. My favorite is the worm-headed character. There are also plenty of unlockable characters to expand your library. One of the nice features with this series is the inclusion of various skin tones and wheelchair-bound characters, giving players a hint of diversity in their avatars.
Overall, Moving Out 2 provides more of the same slapstick shenanigans in a world of clumsy movers and fragile items. The silly humor is present and accounted for with more levels to conquer while you laugh along. The developers have played it safe with minor changes that improve the experience overall.