Jan 09, 2015

Overture Review

Lights Off
3 Okay
Retails for: $4.99
We Recommend: $4.99
  • Developer: Black Shell Games
  • Publisher: Black Shell Games
  • Genre: Action
  • Released: Jan 01, 2015
  • Platform: Windows
  • Reviewed: Windows

There’s an overabundance of roguelikes out in the indie PC market these days, and Black Shell Games carves out a spot for its recently released game, Overture. The game is a familiar romp, harkening back to the 16-bit era with just enough personality to get by, but not enough for it to be memorable.

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If you don’t mind being dumped right into the action without any story or explanation for your being there, then Overture will be off to a good start for you. Black Shell Games realizes the combat is the core, and leaves nothing in the way of getting to the gameplay to experience it.

There’s a record-breaking 24 characters that can be unlocked. To begin with, you only have one character per the four classes: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Shamans. The remaining 18 provide variations of each class and make the game different with each playthrough. During your time playing, you will earn you money that you can use to upgrade each character individually. Money is kept beyond death, so it isn’t a matter of spending it before you lose it. Each upgrade will be exponentially more expensive, though, requiring you to become a better player as you continue to improve them.

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The kinetic gameplay of Overture works so well. The action is swift and fruious. You’ll find gear to equip, NPCs to save that will fight by your side, and an innumerable amount of enemies onscreen. Each beginning playthrough will drop you onto a random playfield. And the only sure thing is that the textureless, featureless black road is the best way to travel. There are spawning oddities that will drop you right next to a miniboss, but those are few and far between.

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What doesn’t work, is unfortunately many things. One is the aforementioned enemy count. There’s simply too many goons thrown at you at once, which is manageable should you have the skills to dispatch them. For the first dozen or so runs, can be overwhelming and offputting. Additionally, the screen feels too zoomed in to be helpful, as if I’m playing the game at 200% zoom (that’s not an option). The character and enemy art are great, but the environments are zoomed in sprites which do not look good. This coupled with the amount of particles, enemies, and damage numbers popping off every second, begins to obscure the view of your character and lead to situations that get you killed.

And the game sometimes crashes when viewing the stats screen, which is a bummer. That’s pretty much the one screen you’ll want to look at in-between plays.

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Overture by definition is “an introduction to something more substantial”. Overture as a game, is a good foundation with solid gameplay. But sadly, the game is far too familiar to others of its ilk. Black Shell Games created a really fun, endlessly replayable game, but the visuals really get in the way of enjoying this further. The price of admission is low, and it almost becomes impervious to the complaints, and could improve with patching and further feedback.

A final build (v1.0) of the game was provided by Black Shell Games for review purposes