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Overland Review

Edited by: Jade Swann

Overland is a survival game where you try to get across the map and escape attacking enemies. By finding NPCs and adding them to your party, you can gain an edge on fighting back in a post-apocalyptic land, but it also adds more complexity as you have to keep your teammates alive and determine their actions.

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Overland has challenging gameplay that requires strategy and thought.

If you play well and your teammates don’t die, the game can be easier. Your teammates can move farther and you can finish non-mandatory quests.

However, if you mess up, there is little forgiveness. Messing up your actions increases the difficulty of defeating the enemies. If your teammates get injured, defeating attacking enemies and escaping gets harder. The enemies are usually endless, so there’s never a break when you’re trying to escape.

On my first playthrough, by the time I hit level three, I had already lost two companions. This made the game more difficult, especially for mini-missions, such as getting gas for my vehicle. NPC party members can help fill up the gas tank because they can pick up items, so not having a full party made it harder to fill up the tank fast and go.

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Restarting a level doesn’t have as heavy consequences.

If a level gets too complicated, you aren’t penalized for starting over. When you restart, you get a random first-level companion with new starting characters and new potential weapons and allies. This lets you try different strategies and not have to start from the beginning.

The dog party member adds a unique twist to common NPC party members.

The dog can’t use items, which means they can’t help fill up your vehicle with gas or attack with a weapon. However, the dog is a strong party member early on in the game because they can bite, which means they have an attack that doesn’t ever break. Until you find an axe, the dog’s bite will be your most reliable attack.

The developers do add an element of fun with the dog as well. You can find different dogs with different names, which is nice if you don’t currently like the name or breed of your dog. There’s also fun hats for the dogs and other survivors that you can interchange. They don’t provide benefits, unfortunately, but they can be fun.

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Movement is limited compared to other turn-based strategy games.

The most frustrating part of movement was that I couldn’t give one of my characters a string of movement commands. If I needed to move a character outside of their movement range, I couldn’t tell them to go there and the game would just move them a little bit closer over as many turns as it took. I had to control them for each step. This made Overland fall short of several main games that have set the standard in the genre, such as XCOM.

If I wanted to move a character past their movement range, it would be nice if the game could remember where I want to move, but show me it is out of my movement range for that turn. I am also accustomed to right clicking to confirm moving, but this title does not use that feature.

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The Use Item interface is confusing.

During gameplay, you aren’t always sure what you’re doing with the selected item. You could be using it, dropping it, giving it to someone else, putting it in your inventory, or stashing it in your vehicle. Because there isn’t a clear enough interface that explains what you’re doing, you can make mistakes and the item may be used in a way you hadn’t intended, putting you behind in your fight.

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Not all actions require action points, which adds additional confusion to gameplay.

It’s nice that I didn’t have to spend action points on some moves, like dropping and picking up items. However, the game didn’t make it clear that I didn’t need to use action points, so I often missed taking actions early on because I was budgeting my action points and didn’t know some actions didn’t require points to do.

When I finally figured out which moves didn’t require action points, I had to remember which moves did or didn’t require points. I couldn’t find a list or notes or anything that could remind me. This added more confusion later in the game, as I was gambling if I was correctly remembering what required action points or not.

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There is a lack of an RPG element that is really disappointing.

Teammates don’t gain experience, and you don’t get stronger as you complete levels. This felt a little weird, and it made me question why I still playing the game after a few failures.

You could consider gaining more teammates as a way to level up, but that’s mostly based on you finding a larger vehicle, like a van, than smashing enemies and demonstrating your awesome prowess.

There is a certain replayability, though. Levels, enemies, and maps are randomly generated, so you can experience a different game each time you play. You just don’t level up in the process.

6

The Verdict: Good

Overland is a fun strategy game with engaging levels and strategy. I liked the retro feel and the different companion options. However, its lack of RPG leveling, limited movement functions, and confusing item and action interface makes the title frustrating at points.

See About Us to learn how we score

Cherise Papa
Written by
Monday, 28 October 2019 20:59
Published in Strategy

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Cherise Papa is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for writing novels and playing games. With a thirst for lore and massive damage, she heals raids, conquers civilizations, smashes things with two-handed weapons, tames dinosaurs, and eats other snakes. Accompanied by her husband and gamer toddlers, she explores new worlds and logs too many hours on Steam. Her gaming drink of choice is rich hot chocolate with peppermint candy canes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, or handfuls of marshmallows. 

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