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Review: Overland – A Post-Apocalyptic Roguelike Strategy Game

I like to play indie games as a hobby and write about my thoughts on them.

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In a world where a meteor shower turns planet Earth into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the remaining human beings are left to fight for their survival. So what’s next? Travel from one coast of the United States to the other in the roguelike strategy game known as Overland. In this game, your team of survivors must gather resources, avoid dangers and make tough decisions in order to escape the procedurally generated levels in this game.

Upon starting the game for the first time, I was not given much guidance. The game simply dropped me onto the map and introduced the first scene. Despite the lack of guidance, I was able to figure out how to beat the level quickly as I picked up the gas can, filled up the nearby car and drove off to the next level. Along the way, I was able to recruit more survivors, find a better vehicle and gather supplies to prepare me for what was to come. However, there was still a lot left to learn. The way that this game is designed, it is important to learn from the outcomes of your survivor’s actions and putting them in dire situations and even accidentally having them killed truly ensures that you know what to do and what not to do next time.

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The controls were simple enough. Select a survivor, move them a few blocks and interact with the objects. Although it was simple, misclicks often led to undesirable results and some were even irreversible. This led to many frustrating moments as I had to restart the levels due to these mistakes.

As the game progressed, the levels became harder. The enemies I encountered become tougher, the number of enemies increased greatly and the supplies become less accessible. Group those characteristics with the limited number of actions your survivors can take and you are in for a struggle. This kept the game fresh as I was forced to make my decisions carefully but no matter how cautious I was sometimes, the game was unforgiving if a mistake was made. I found myself overwhelmed by the enemies – strange insect-like creatures who constantly try to attack you or your vehicle (on hard mode). Unfortunately, there were also times where I had to make difficult decisions such as leaving one of my survivors behind as I had no choice but to escape.

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Thankfully, in between the levels, you can choose where to go next between a few options. What you select will depend on your needs. For example, you needed more supplies, you can pick the destination with supplies or if you needed a new vehicle, you can select the destination that has a vehicle. As well, should you ever run out of gas or vehicles, the game will force you to play a level that has what you are missing in order to make a recovery before continuing your journey.

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As for the story, there was not much to be learned; I was simply given a premise and a goal to attain. Upon completing the game, there was not really any resolution. No reasoning behind the meteor showers, no reasoning behind where the insect-like creatures came from and nothing about what the humans planned to do next, which was quite unfortunate considering I wanted to learn more about the world that the humans lived in. But nonetheless, the atmosphere was decent enough for the gameplay.

Overall, while I did like the idea of the game, I think a few run throughs were enough for me to learn the game. The procedurally generated levels presented enough variety to avoid repetitiveness, the game was challenging enough to keep me on my toes and I felt some sort of progression as I kept playing the game. However, the game can be punishing if you take too long or do not learn from your mistakes and the sense of progression was cut short with an ending that did not feel satisfying to me.

What I LikeWhat Could Improve

The controls were simple.

There should be a way to prevent misclicks.

The progression of difficulty was decent.

The story should be fleshed out more.

There were many things you could interact with.

For some people, the lack of guidance could be a deterrent.

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