The Outlast Trials – PS5 Review

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The Outlast Trials is a first-person survival horror game developed and published by Red Barrels. Unlike the other two entries they’ve created, which were single-player. This one has decided to take the online route. The game supports up to four players in online co-op. You will finish puzzles and hide from mad experiments together. Released on March 25th for PlayStation, Xbox, and Steam, The Outlast Trials is available now.

Seems like a great business opportunity.

A pair of hands wearing cotton gloves is holding a poster that is coloured pink. The poster has a lady wearing a nurses outfit with a black speech bubble. The poster seems to be advertising for volunteers.
Hell, I’m all of these things!


The Outlast Trials begins with a poster advertisement for Murkoff Corporation offering scientific trials drifting and landing on a homeless person. After being promptly abducted, subjected to all kinds of horror and forced to consent to the trials, the player has goggles drilled into their head. Subsequently, the character creation screen appears, and the player can now customise their poor, unfortunate soul. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of character customisation options, in my opinion.

a gif of me approaching a house that looks to be from the 1700 century. There is a flashing light on the balcony and thunder effect above the building. The lower area has a few bodies and barbed wired fences.
Here’s hoping the pays good.

The gameplay begins with a pretty cool tutorial. The player is navigating through a sort of house of horrors while simultaneously being taught the gameplay’s fundamentals. The goal is to destroy their public and private records. After the tutorial, you gain access to the player hub.

The Recreation Hall

The player hub is a recreational hall where you and other players can get Prescriptions and Rigs and play mini-games. Some mini-games include arm wrestling and chess. It was hilarious that when arm wrestling, other players could bang their fists on the table like they were starting a drinking song. You also have a room you can customise the appearance of, and you’ll earn trophies for your room based on trials you’ve completed. Players can change their character’s appearance at any time and will get new clothes through the trials (dubbed by Murkoff employees as ‘Therapy’).

Me and my brother playing the arm wrestling mini-game. A ring appears with several colours and once hit a fist will appear.
I honestly don’t know how this game works.


Before you can reap any rewards from your so-called “Therapy”, you must survive the gruesome trials ahead. Important things players need to manage are their Sanity, their Night Vision, Stamina and their Health. If a player’s Sanity drops low enough, they will enter Psychosis. Players must outlast an entity known as the Skinner Man, who hunts them for the duration of the Psychosis. Antidotes, however, will instantly cure Psychosis. Night Vision is crucial to navigating the Trials. The power on the goggles drains quickly and is replenished by finding Batteries. The Night Vision becomes a dull beige if the goggles run out of power.

The picture shows a creature with a skull head and long fingers. The screen has an effect due to me being under the Psychosis effect.
This guy has scared the crap out of me enough times.

Restoring Health requires the use of Medicine Vials. Green vials restore a large amount of Health, while Red vials restore a small amount. A good feature the game has is the ability to heal whilst hiding. If you play cooperatively, you can help a teammate up if they’re knocked down or bleeding out. If they die, only a Syringe can revive them. Like most survival games, there is also a Stamina meter, which depletes when you run or bash doors open. Using Adrenaline will give the player a speed boost.

The Trials

The core of The Outlast Trials is, of course, the Trials. You unlock more trials the more you complete, and eventually unlock higher difficulties. The Trials are levels where you complete a set of objectives, often solved via puzzles, before being allowed to leave. Puzzles and objectives range from escorting a ‘snitch’ to their death, finding a set of keys using clues, finding a set of codes within a time limit, and much more.

While all players must be present to progress parts of some trials (and sometimes need each other to, for example, climb over a wall), they have a limited time to reach the exit before the level ends.

The score screen the player gets after finishing a trial. The list shows what the player was good at and what they need to improve on. The right side shows the players who were present during the game.
We can do better.

At the end of every trial, you’re graded based on how often you died, how many collectables you found, etc. The grade rounds out to an overall grade when playing with others. The better your grade, the more XP, money and rewards you earn. Besides decorative items for your room and cosmetics, money and XP help players buy helpful upgrades to give you the upper hand.


Puzzles and keys aren’t your only concern. Players must dodge deadly and creepy enemies along the way, such as Phyllis, a demented Puppeteer or who I dubbed as the Lawman, who likes his baton a bit too much. The enemy that caught me the most by surprise was the doppelgängers of you and your teammates!

During trials, an exact copy of you or a teammate will sometimes run around and even attack you. The only way to tell it’s a fake is by paying close attention to their username, as it’s always spelt wrong.

a short cinematic that plays before every level and will change depending on the monsters domain. For example this one shown is the one I nicknamed The Lawman.
Oh, he wants you.

While there’s no way to stop enemies, only temporarily stun or slow them down. Locking doors and throwing items such as bricks, bottles, and stun traps will help you escape. However, multiple things also slow you down. In trials where you carry heavy objects, you become slow and sluggish, making it easier for enemies to catch you. Sometimes, you need to hold the square button to lift a garage door to open it temporarily. It takes time to open, and while it can shut enemies out, you can get trapped with them, too.


Everything is out to get you in The Outlast Trials, and often, the best cause of action is to hide. Players can hide under beds, in lockers and closets. Take caution, as enemies can lurk in lockers waiting to pounce at you. Luckily, if you listen closely, you can hear a heartbeat whenever one is hiding nearby. Walking over glass or bumping into noise traps such as dangling cans will alert nearby enemies of your presence. Crouching will also reduce noise and sometimes allow you to sneak past nearby threats.

The "Lawman" is currently looking for me. I have chosen to hide in an oil drum. The effect on screen is the Night Vision of the game.
Hiding will help your chances of survival.

Prescriptions & Rigs

When you’re not getting into shenanigans in the recreation hall and customising your sweet digs, your two favourite people to visit will be the Engineer, Noakes, and the Pharmacy nurse, Emily. They will provide you with Prescriptions and Rigs. Noakes will kit you out with Rigs. Rigs are tools that help you during the trials. Though there are four Rigs, you can only have one equipped at a time. The Stun Rig stuns enemies. The Heal Rig heals you. The Blind Rig is a landmine that releases smoke, and the X-Ray Rig allows you to see through walls. The Rigs are upgradeable four times.

This shot shows the list for the Tier 1 RX pills the player can get. Each one costs one part which is show with a green symbol.
I found some of these RX really useful.

Prescriptions from the Pharmacy are permanent buffs that enhance your physical and mental abilities. You can gain the ability to slide, regenerate health, deplete less stamina, and more. Each Prescription has three Tiers of upgrades. However, you must fully upgrade to the current Tier you’re on before you can access the next Tier.

Graphics & Audio

For Outlast and horror fans alike, The Outlast Trials has plenty of Gorey and creepy imagery to make you cringe away from the screen in the best possible way (the ‘installation’ of the goggles, oof). From demented yet funny voice lines to very naked and imposing enemies and mannequins featuring human parts, even desensitised fans will find something that catches their attention and surprises them.

This gif is of a creature we had to hunt down, after we ignite a detonator you can see it take damage. The main detail for this gif is the light bulbs on the monsters head.

While the textures weren’t super detailed, and the character models were okay, they didn’t take away from the great enemy designs, level designs and good voice acting. I liked the Rorschach loading screens and the creepy scenes that played before each trial, but most of all, I loved the player doppelgängers.

This is a shot of a fake me walking around to try and throw off other players. The key detail is the name as they are usually misspelt.
Wait a minute, I know you?

Though I mentioned it already, I think keeping an eye out for suspiciously misspelt usernames whilst running like a headless chicken from enemies added to the suspense, spookiness and pressure already present during levels. Nothing is creepier than hearing your teammate say, “Uh, that’s not me!”.


The Outlast Trials can take up many hours, depending on whether or not you enjoy the gameplay. There are a lot of Trials available that you can replay on harder difficulties to earn more rewards, or players can try to beat their grade on each Trial. Propaganda Posters strewn about the levels net you additional XP, so it could be worth collecting them all during levels. Weekly Trials are also available, offering you something new to try.

This gif shows me watching out for monsters while my brother pushes a swan boat to some blades. I'm holding a green vial which is used to heal.
Remember to bring a friend.

Final Thoughts

The Outlast Trials is a fun coop game with friends (you can play alone as well). But there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of content. The main maps are great with having the players do various objectives, but I found the MK Challenges tedious and lame. One major issue I had while doing the Trials was the monsters staying in one space and not allowing me or others to finish the objective. I didn’t face any glitches or bugs while playing, but I did struggle to find others to join my game. 

There is an ending which I found interesting. You do have a very difficult trial to pass first, which would be okay if it didn’t force you to play solo. It took me a few attempts, but I did beat it, and upon seeing the ending, I felt disappointed. The only real reason to do the final trial is that you get a random outfit. Other than that, I wouldn’t bother. This is because all your progress carries over to the next Reagent. So, it makes it all feel pointless.

The gif is more cinematic and shows the player getting up after something serious just happened at the start of the game.
Man, my head hurts I’m gonna need a Therapist.

I would have given the game a Platinum, but after finishing it. I felt this entry would have been better as a single-player story like the others. This is why I’m awarding The Outlast Trials the Thumb Culture Gold Award.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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