Overture
Gameplay 8
Graphics 6
Sound 9

Overture is a game that will challenge your reflexes, and often your patience, to the max. Despite the high difficulty, the game remains thoroughly enjoyable and is only let down by some rather generic visuals. The chiptune soundtrack is great though, and provided you aren’t expecting something with a lot of depth it will keep you busy for quite a while.

Gameplay: Fast, frantic and quite challenging, but also very addictive.

Graphics: The generic visuals are not bad, but definitely a little overused at this point.

Sound: The rocking chiptune soundtrack is definitely a highlight

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Overture

Developer: Black Shell Games | Publisher: Black Shell Media | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Action / RPG | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Overture is a game that wastes no time getting straight to the action. In fact, after launching the game you can pick your character and be neck deep in swarms of enemies within a matter of seconds. This comes at the cost of a story or any type of plot progression, but seeing as it is an action-adventure roguelike, there really isn’t much need for any superfluous stuff. What it does have though is 24 different characters to choose from and ten floors filled with monsters just waiting to rip you to shreds.

The developers of Overture list games such as Diablo, The Binding of Isaac, Realm of The Mad God and Zelda as their inspiration for this title, and these influences are immediately obvious. Your goal is simply to kill as many monsters as you can while grabbing loot, without succumbing to death. If your character is killed you lose all their items, but can keep whatever money they collected in order to unlock or upgrade characters before venturing into the dungeons again. Since the upgrades become progressively more expensive and the difficulty soars with each new floor there is quite a bit of grinding involved if you want to stand a chance. Levels are randomly generated though, which cuts down a bit on the repetition and the gameplay is addictive enough that you’ll continually jump back into the action after dying.

Overture is quite fast paced and has that same quarter munching arcade feel of early titles such as Gauntlet. Enemies attack in droves and you pretty much have to keep moving in order to stay alive. The game almost feels like a bullet hell shooter at times with the amount of projectiles and enemy sprites hurtling in your direction. This can make it tricky to see what goes on sometimes, but it is all part of the challenge. The game doesn’t have any multi-player modes, but considering how chaotic the screen can get I had a tough enough time keeping track of my own character.

The visuals of Overture is a bit of a letdown, not because they are bad, but because we have seen this style and sprites so many times before already. Apart from the familiar sprites and limited animations the randomly generated levels also feel a bit empty and featureless. Each level is basically a giant arena that is packed to the brim with monsters. There are different floor tiles such as grass, mud, water or lava, but these are only cosmetic changes and even water or lava will only slow down your character instead of doing damage.

The result is that the game can appear rather generic and it is not until you actually play it that you can appreciate how much fun it is. Skeletons, mummies, goblins, necromancers, zombies and many other creatures attack in relentless swarms, while tougher “named” monsters and overgrown mini-bosses roam around as well. In true RPG fashion, there are also treasure chests, pots and exploding barrels dotted around.

The audio on the other hand is brilliant and this is definitely a game where you won’t be turning down the volume. Each one of the tracks from the chiptune soundtrack is great and despite spending hours playing the game I never had the urge to mute the audio. The controls are responsive and you use the WASD keys to move while left clicking to attack and right clicking to use a special ability or equip whatever item you are standing on. To run you have to move your character in the direction of your mouse cursor which takes a little practice, but it is a vital skill, especially against bosses. I like the fact that it is easy to see if equipment on the floor is better than what you are wearing by simply moving over it and there is no fiddling with an inventory which can slow down the action.

Although only four initial characters are available, one from each class, you can use your hard earned cash to unlock more. The “Warrior” class features brawny melee fighters such as knights, soldiers and brutes while the “Mage” class is where you will find the spell casters such as wizards, witches and invokers. The characters have different attacks, but these all fall into specific categories such as melee, projectiles or homing projectiles. There are no skill trees and you do not unlock any new abilities for characters as they progress either. As you run around the dungeons you will also discover special crates that summon an NPC to your side when you run over them. These characters will help you fight, but only until they are killed which usually doesn’t take very long.

Since you pretty much do the same thing every time you play Overture there is no doubt that the game can become repetitive. You basically kill all monsters in sight while grabbing whatever loot and weapons are available until you are ready to kill the slimy blob guarding the stairs. After this you go down the stairs to take on a VERY challenging boss in a very confined arena before moving on to the next floor and doing it all again. After defeating a boss you can choose between a health or mana bar upgrade or sacrifice some cash to open chests for random equipment rewards.

Despite its shortcomings Overture is a very entertaining title and one that I will be returning to regularly. Players who are easily frustrated or demand a bit more depth from their titles might not like the action oriented approach of the game and there is no denying that it can get repetitive, but what is available is easily worth the low price tag. The game doesn’t do anything dramatically different or enhance the genre in a significant way, but it is a lot of fun and sometimes that is all that matters. Do yourself a favor and check out the demo first though.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 1.0 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated Audio
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 1.0 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated Audio

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