Overfall is a unique game from Pera Games and was funded by Kickstarter. Overfall has an interesting mix of turn-based action, exploration, rogue-like gameplay and interesting locations. The world is always different each time you play as the places you visit are randomly generated.
Being a tactical rogue-like in some ways means there is a lot to learn as characters can die and careful planning is required in order to be successful on your ventures. The game starts off with an interesting and well designed cutscene that sets up the premise for the story, unfortunately this is the main story driven part of the game and I would have liked to have seen a few more cutscenes throughout the game. This would have kept me invested more in the story and would have added variety and pacing to the structure of the game.
You learn that the two characters you will be playing as have been sent through a magical portal by the King and have now returned with a mysterious magical disc. Its 300 years later and not only have you brought back the disc but also a terrifying army of Vikings. The game then puts you out into the world to explore and you do so by sailing around and exploring unknown islands where you get to interact with some interesting characters and creatures. You sail the seas from a top-down perspective and travel to islands that always have something interesting in store for you to discover. You can also bump into other ships that can have different types of characters, whether its friend or foe.
As I said you control two characters that journey together throughout some perilous locations and difficult battles. Exploring the in-game world will grant you many additional heroes. Overall the game has 9 player characters and also has 36 combat based characters. After a short while into the game and once you have become more successful you can hire two more characters to join you on your ventures. Like many rogue-like games your characters can die in battle, but you get to keep the unlocks you’ve obtained, before starting over. The game is certainly very challenging at times and careful planning becomes essential.
The game looks great with a vibrant 2D art style and you spend most of the game exploring unique and varied locations. The world feels alive and the people you meet feel like real people, in real situations, even if it is full of pirates, orcs and other weird beings. As you move about the ocean the ships around you also move. You may wish to avoid these other ships, or if you’re feeling cocky you can risk jumping onboard and seeing what they have to offer. The game is about interacting and building allegiances with other factions and also making enemies along the way. Well world is randomly generated which is great as you never know what to expect. Every island has different people, dialogue options and battles that can occur. Some islands will be friendly whilst others can be more hostile.
The game uses turn-based combat that plays out on a grid. During each turn you get three actions to perform. The first is movement based, then utility and finally the attack you will use. You can perform an interesting variety of movements and attacks, one being the psudo move, which allows you to do things like leaping in and out of combat. The utility action allows you to perform buffs that apply to you and your team or you can even debuff characters on the opposing team making them vulnerable to attack. The attack moves are the most impactful on the opposing team and attacks are different in style for each class type. There are plenty of attacks that you can experiment with and this combat system is where the game really shines at times. The mechanics are much deeper and varied than I expected and the game can get incredibly challenging during these segments and expect to lose team members if you fail to plan and think about what you’re doing.
The other major aspect to the gameplay is the dialogue between characters. You interact with people you meet and have the option to select various speech bubbles that present different dialogue options and choices that directly impact the outcomes and gameplay. White speech bubbles are the basic conversational options; yellow is the more uncertain route to take. You also have to bear in mind you have two characters, with different dialogue options meaning you have plenty of choice for what to say. The dialogue system is well designed in my opinion and combined with the randomly generated world the options and outcomes feel endless.
The overall presentation here is well done with a vibrant and colourful world that almost looks hand drawn with a unique 2D art style. The game is played from a top-down(ish) viewpoint which allows you to get a good view of the world and the events that unfold. The islands are varied and I loved the different designs of each area. The characters you meet during the game are also extremely interesting and well designed. I genuinely enjoyed interacting with the different types of people and dialogue is always interesting. There are also moments of humour within dialogue that works well but doesn’t overpower the game.
Overfall’s campaign is great but if you want something else to play with there’s the Story Builder mode. This allows you to craft actions, dialogue situations and other interesting ideas. You can also share these online as well as play other people’s creations. We are seeing this a lot in other games whether its games like DOOM’s Snapmap mode or Mario Maker on the Wii U, as it’s a great way in having replayability and adding longevity to the gameplay experience.
Overfall is a surprisingly deep game with some unique ideas. The game is very well paced and you get to explore plenty of interesting locations pretty quickly. The combat and dialogue systems are deep, complex and require some practice and experimentation. There’s plenty to see and do, but I would have liked to of seen a bit more narrative structure alongside the story building you get from conversations with others. I would recommend this game if you like turn-based action with the freedom to explore an interesting world full of different characters to meet.
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