Early To The Access Party
It is always a challenge to talk about a game in Early Access, since anything you say about it can pretty much not matter the moment those thoughts become public. Because of the ever-changing nature of the game, with constant updates, bug fixes and new additions to the basic structure, it is very difficult to talk about this game without having my words deemed irrelevant after a few days. However, regardless of the updates, the main idea of what the game is all about is still there and I wish to tell you about the underlying potential available in the open-world fantasy RPG that is Overfall, making this game worth supporting for the long run.
In Overall, you play as two protagonist characters that just came back from a trip into a Stargate-ish portal to another world to steal a powerful artifact from an opposing violent race. As they return, they realize that things are not the same as how they left them, so now it is up to them to figure out what’s happening and how to fix the world’s problems, one island at a time; and I mean that literally.
The main gameplay loop consists of selecting your character’s class, name, skills and perks, then setting sail to explore various islands in an open world that each contain relatively random situations in them. These scenarios range from teaching a caveman how to make fire to fighting a whole band of thieves to rescue a missing person, making your relationships with several races improve or worsen over time. Since the game has procedural generation, there really is no way for you to memorize ways to beat the game other than remembering how to solve various situations that occasionally repeat themselves. The kind of character you create in the beginning and the choices you implement during the game’s dialogue trees with NPCs will affect how your next run will go, so it is almost encouraged to not stick with the same character all the time and experiment with different settings.
Sail And Chat
Going back to the dialogue trees, I found that many of the conversations were fairly bare and in need of some work. Many of the encounters I had with NPCs felt like they lacked transition, with many things happening way too suddenly and soullessly. I feel like most encounters can be described in short bullet points where their race and location did not matter at all, like watching the same five people wearing different World of Warcraft cosplay. The choices that are available to you are also rather strange. I found many moments where I felt like I should’ve had an opportunity to escape a fight or try and negotiate with people, but instead I was forced to fight, without any chances to prepare, which mostly ended up in defeat. The only way I was able to circumvent these issues was the fact that in several different runs I came across the same few encounters over and over to the point that I knew exactly what to do every time. I think it’s a minor issue, but still fairly annoying for such an open game like this. Since this game is in Early Access, I’m willing to give the game some leeway.
In addition to that, your choices will also affect the turn-based, hex-based strategic combat system that is fairly interesting in it’s own right. As you fight a variety of enemies on the field, you’ll have three different actions available for you in each turn, all with their own functions that add a layer of depth that might not have been there without it. In addition to that, specific events that happen during the fight will grant you certain perks or disadvantages depending on how the fight goes. For example, I fought a couple of thieves at one point and ended up getting one of my characters killed, which filled my second character with grief, lowering certain stats. If that wasn’t interesting enough, my character also turned more likely to get the fear status ailment due to my character running away from enemies too much. In other words, everything you do during battle can affect your characters in the long run, for better or worse, even if it’s not a regimented action available for you to choose. With that said, the only issue I had with the combat was that many fights felt like a chore, with most of them dragging on and on for a long time to the point that I was constantly clicking on empty space hoping for a fast forward button to show up.
Of all the things that surprised me the most out of this game was not the addicting gameplay loop or the interesting combat, it was actually the story builder. To keep it simple, the story builder essentially allows you to create your own encounters with people in which you can customize your own text, dialogue branches, rewards and even how many characters are involved in that customizable setting. It’s really interesting and allows for the game to have a potentially limitless amount of quests and missions to play, with all of it created by the players themselves. It’s a feature I never expected to see, but I welcome it with open arms. If the regular gameplay loop tires you out, you can either experience someone else’s story or created your own.
Even though this game looks like a generic free-to-play iOS game, I can safely tell you that it has a lot of stored up potential to become a great game. The team involved in the development has shown a great amount of love and dedication to this project, which has also been made apparent by the almost daily amount of updates that the game gets, fixing a lot of the issues that I would’ve included in this review otherwise. The gameplay loop is addicting, the combat is deep, and the continuous amount of unlocks after every run definitely gives the game the “just one more run” effect that can keep many players engaged for a long while. And let’s just say that the regular game is not doing it for you; worry not, since the community will be there to create custom stories for you to play until you’re absolutely sick of it.
Just One More Run
The game still needs a lot of the writing and the finer details worked out, but that’s exactly why it’s on Early Access. If you are willing to support this game and follow their progress, I think you will meet the finish line with a much bigger and more interesting game than the one I have just reviewed. Rough around the edges, but promising, with my hopes being that that statement proves irrelevant in the near future. In other words, it’s good, and it can only go up from here.