Outland, like those games, is love at first flight.
Housemarque's previous efforts are just as quickly decipherable, with both Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation built on solid twin-stick shooting, but Outland captures attention at mere sight. The graphics are "traditional" in the sense that they elicit a tribal reverence of nature, with gigantic tree silhouettes softly obscuring the vibrant blues, yellows and greens of the background sky. Outland's bold art seems to draw inspiration from Japanese shadow plays (before Nin2-Jump did it) and even Tron, with a dash of Incan history and mystery mixed in.
There's an interesting, cyclical element to the story, which sees your warrior-in-training slipping into slumber to experience the life of a previous hero, who counts defeating a pair of evil gods (and climbing the best ladder since Metal Gear Solid 3) among his accomplishments. You're much less powerful when the dream ends, of course, but you wake up with a taste of the abilities you'll unlock in further Metroid-esque exploration of the world. At its most basic level, Outland is about bounding, sliding and falling through the jungle in the quest for coins, switches and the next power-up.