[Beyond PlayStation] Overland Review
Overland is a turn-based post-apocalyptic adventure in which you’ll take a group of friends on a road trip across the U.S. Learn more in our Overland review!
Finji, who has previously brought us the great Night in the Woods, quirky and charming Wilmot’s Warehouse, and tricky physics-based platformer Feist, is back with a new game: Overland. The first thing you’ll need to remember is that making noise is bad as it will attract the creatures that are out there lurking in this new reality. You’ll start with a random character in a randomly generated small arena, and will need to review the randomly generated potential companions, spots that could hold some valuable items, and enemies out to kill you good, as you plan your course of action.
The randomly generated character you control, as well as the other survivors you meet – and can decide to add to your group -, will have either some open inventory slots or a helpful item already in hand, things such as, say, a first aid kit which is a one-time use item that can heal a character. You will get to know a bit more about each character you control by inspecting them and learning their name, as well as a short backstory that is only a couple of lines long. You might, for instance, get Amy, who used to fight with the school board and has problems reading people.
You’ll move the cursor with the left analog stick, swinging the camera with the right one. You can interact with things and make selections with the A button, changing between your available characters with the L and R buttons. If you want to undo a move, you can do so with the Y button. Once you’ve done everything you can for a turn, you can end it with the X button. Oh, and there’s a photo mode you can activate with the – button so that you can take some pictures for the area you’re currently in.
Each day you’ll be taking on a small randomly generated level that feels like a diorama of sorts, in which you might find another person that will be in need of help, or perhaps a dog that could help you not feel alone in this bizarre and deadly world. Every step you take and every action you make will need to be planned with care, or else you risk having one of the spiky enemies getting too close for comfort, killing one of your characters before you even have a chance to blink. You always need to be scavenging for items, not to mention finding enough gas to be able to drive away and escape the area.
Complete enough levels, and you will find yourself on the map from which you’ll need to decide where you’re going to head off to next. Depending on where you want to travel to, you will see how much gas is required to make it there. While getting from one side of the country to the other is your main objective, completing additional objectives along the way could be beneficial, boosting your odds of survival. Will you risk visiting an area where there’s supposed to be a gas station with some extra gas left for you to collect? Are you going to visit a spot where some people are trapped by the deadly enemies that are out to get everyone? Or do you decide to drive forward to the next leg of your journey?
Combat is not going to be the focus of any of your many runs in Overland since enemies are going to completely destroy you if you ever face more than one of them at a time. The small ones are gone in one hit, but the bigger ones are going to take two, and by the time you get a chance to hit them a second time… well, there might not be a chance at all! When all else fails, you might decide to use your vehicle to ram an enemy before it gets a chance to hit your car, but this will end up damaging your wheels, and without a car, you’re going to have a hard time surviving in this crazy new world.
Along with staying alive and all that jazz, you can aim at unlocking a ton of different badges based on your performance in Overland. There are badges for completing the intro chapter, completing the game without inviting any humans to join you, for traveling 1,000 miles in one trip, for collecting every item, finding every creature, stealing items from a camp, driving out in a variety of vehicles, trading items at a camp, completing the game without inviting anyone to join you, and more. It’s a nice list that adds a bit of extra stuff to do in Overland.
Overland is a fun post-apocalyptic condensed strategy adventure, presented in bite-sized dioramas where your stress level is going to be on a constant high since anything and everything that moves wants to kill you. It’s a game you can dive into and play at a slow and steady pace, learning from your mistakes as you go, trying to figure out the best strategy for trying to survive through your cross-country trip. Overland is ready for you on Nintendo Switch for $24.99, offering a ton of content to explore thanks to its randomly generated nature.
This Overland review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Finji.