Out of Scale: A Kurzgesagt Adventure

3-star rating
Casual Gaming, Education
Comfortable, Roomscale, Stationary

Out of Scale: A Kurzgesagt Adventure title

Kurzgesagt is a hugely popular YouTube channel known for its educational animated content concerning science, technology and global issues. With a unique visual style, their videos make complex topics easily understandable and engaging for a broad audience, but particularly older children and adults. If you're unfamiliar then we highly recommend checking out the Kurzgesagt YouTube Channel.

When we heard about a Kurzgesagt educational game being developed by Schell Games (I Expect You To Die) we got quite excited. Unfortunately the final product didn't live up to our expectations and isn't something we would recommend.

Inspired by casual games like the Job Simulator VR series, Out of Scale: A Kurzgesagt Adventure places you in a device that can transport you between environments of five different states of scale, from microbes to mountains. An accident with your shrinking equipment creates a mess and it is your job to return objects and creatures back to their normal size and location, while picking up some educational nuggets along the way.

A giant rubber duck on a giant landscape
A giant rubber duck on a giant landscape.

The first suggestion that things were less than perfect was in the first few minutes, when a missing multitool meant we had to restart the experience and replay the whole introduction. Then, though we consider ourselves to be experienced virtual reality gamers, we got stuck on the very first significant task.

The first task required scanning objects scattered around a cityscape and collecting certain out-of-place objects with the multitool. Yet only after scanning them first with the same multitool, but in a different configuration. We got stuck when we appeared to have run out of objects to collect. The only hint offered by the game was a repeating narrative clip telling us to re-read the instructional transcript on our in-game pad, which didn't enlighten us.

We manouvered through several different scale levels - each separated by an unnecessarily long interstitial animation - to find out what we were meant to do next, but we were only able to progress further after reading a walkthrough of the game posted on the internet. We later learned that there is enough of a problem with the game that the developers published an official walkthrough. Continuing further, we found objects that unintentionally spawned behind scenery, and even an audio hint that told us "we need to make this one smaller" when we actually had to make it bigger.

Giant ants have taken over the city.
Giant ants have taken over the city.

Learning is introduced during the object collection levels, as to complete each goal and advance it is necessary to select many of the objects and creatures that inhabit each landscape. Narration imparts light educational information about parts of the natural world at all levels of scale, some of which is also useful to complete a specific game task. Both the level of educational content and the type of activities presented in this app appear most suited to pre-teen children, which is a suprise considering the content of the YouTube channel decidedly aims for an older age group.

Because this game is entirely linear, it's necessary to complete every activity in turn. This can certainly be frustrating, but the real dealbreaker for us is that the linear gameplay turns the experience into a chore - making us work to find what we have to do next, rather than allowing us to experiencing the joy of exploring these dioramas of different scales with a degree of freedom, and feeling the rewards of discovery.

If you want to play a game like this but with much more inventive fun, check out the Job Simulator series. If you want fun and funny educational content then watch the Kurzgesagt YouTube channel. Unfortunately this experience attempts to do both while achieving neither to a satisfying degree.

From mountains to molecules.
From mountains to molecules.

✅ Kurzgesagt's high-quality art and production values.
✅ Contains light educational content for pre-teens.
❌ Frustrating puzzles, often unintuitive solutions.
❌ Linear gameplay means little exploration, engagement.
❌ 60-90 minutes of content with little replayable value.

• Languages: English
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