Overfall is a strategic rogue-like RPG with a dynamic world that is developed and published by Pera Games and is still in the Early Access stage at the time of this review. It can be found on Steam.
There’s quite a bit to discuss about this game but for starters: holy cow it feels like there’s so much that it’s trying to be accomplished here but almost no explanation for it or what to do. I went into this game blind and had no idea what type of game it even was and found out very quickly that it is indeed a rogue-like game…with turn-based strategy combat. Once I got pitched into the high seas without any direction, I just started sailing around and enjoying the artwork when this ship is hauling ass to chase me and ends up boarding me. My very first fight was against three opponents, two of which were Fighters and one I guess Cleric or some form of ranged support class. I myself only had the option of starting with a Fighter and a Cleric and had no clue on how any of their skills worked or what they even did. There were some tool-tips that popped up throughout the fight but it was kind of useless since it was obviously way above what I was capable of handling. There should really be an option at least for a beginner tutorial. Imagine if this was someone’s first game into turn-based strategy and they met with the same enemies I did – instant uninstall. Needless to say, I died a rather slow and painful death to be thrown back at the character creation screen to try again. My biggest gripe with the combat is that there is no undo button from the first to second combat stage if you chose to pass or move normally at the first stage. This forces you to basically know what kind of range your second and third stage moves have and doesn’t provide a way to really plan ahead until you just know.
That being said, the character creation does offer a lot of options – options that needs to be unlocked through extensive gameplay by the looks of it. Still, despite being jumped into the game, I pressed on and tried again, doing significantly better. I decided if the game isn’t going to give me any directions, then I’ll just sail to these islands and see what’s up while avoiding ships. Turns out each island has certain factions on it, or it could also be an inn/bazaar/altar. What Overfall really fails to do is make you feel invested. There’s really no commitment on the players part other than if you stay neutral you’re likely to never progress. In the overworld, you can see what you reputation is with each faction and boy are there a lot of them. I mentioned earlier that the world is dynamic, and the decisions you make through dialogue does remain even after death. That being said, some of the decisions are rather unclear as to what the outcome would be and you could end up picking the wrong choice or your decision is already made for you the moment you set foot on that island. That one seems less likely and I probably missed something prior to landing but yeah. Information in this game is mostly given to you when you hover your cursor over whatever it is you’re looking at both in combat (buffs/debuff icons) and the overworld (island type/inhabitants, ship type/objectives).
Overfall does seem like it has a lot to offer but having the rogue-like element it kind of creates this disconnect between the player and your characters – at least for me. Sure, it pressures you to perform better and plan out more in advance with the new knowledge you have as with all rogue-like games but it also feels a bit empty. The story is basically non-existent and quite laughable really and the combat is forgettable. Honestly, I thought it felt rather empty and you would need to invest quite a lot of time before you start unlocking things. It is an interesting concept and worth checking out if you really like turn-based strategy games.
That being said, what I did like right off the bat was the art style. The characters are all hand drawn and is in a bit of the uncanny-valley territory but I like their designs. The music is also pretty good and I noticed that during fights, the music grew more intense the further you progressed. I’m not entirely sure if that was intentional design or if I just happened to only notice it when I’m down to one enemy and could go into autopilot but definitely enjoyable. At the end of the day though, be prepared to die. A lot. I would only recommend this game if you’re already familiar with similar games, not at a beginner level as there is a lot to do and it is overwhelming right from the get-go. Conveyance overall is lacking but I’ll chalk that up to the style of game Overfall is, which I’m not too familiar with aside from Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem but neither of those two presented issues with obtaining information during combat as Overfall does and there’s no open world to explore so that aspect is out as well.
Nonetheless, still worth a try and I’d be more willing to play again if some changes were made for combat at least. Please enjoy this little reference to Apple I found at a bazaar though!