Black Shell Media’s
Overture is not fair. There are four achievements: one for beating the game with each character class. As of this writing, two of the achievements have a 1.7% completion rate, and the other two have 1.6%. You are not meant to beat Overture.
Overture is a top down roguelike bullet-hell game. There are four classes, each with six characters with their own primary and secondary attacks. Only four are available from the start, and you have to buy the others. In typical roguelike fashion, you’re expected to die within minutes the first few times you play. You keep the gold you collect, and can unlock new characters and upgrade the ones you have. Each character plays differently, and it’s fun to experiment with different strategies.
After picking your character, you’re thrown into the dungeon. Because of the random nature of the game, you’ll sometimes be overpowered within seconds. If you survive that, you can slaughter the hordes of enemies across the floor. There’s a good variety, with skeletons to serve as fodder, rangers, necromancers to bring back the dead, spellcasters, slimes, and many others.
Killing monsters gives you experience, and they also drop gold (which also serves as experience). Aside from the monsters; the floors contain treasure chests that have gold, equipment, and potions; weapon stands, giant monsters, traps, crates containing NPCs that will fight with you, and a giant slime blocking the stairs.
Once you level up enough, get an army of NPCs, and find all the equipment you want, it’s time to move on to the next floor. Each floor has a large slime to serve as a miniboss, which is a decent damage sponge but isn’t too difficult to beat. The challenge is the real boss you fight afterwards. If you manage to defeat it, you can increase your health or mana, then move on to the next floor. Each floor is much harder than the last, with more traps, stronger monsters, and better equipment to compensate. If you manage to survive to the tenth floor and defeat the final boss, you win.
The gameplay is simple. Walk around with WASD, left click to attack, and right click to special attack which consumes mana. You control where your attacks go with the mouse, and you can sprint by walking in the same direction as the cursor.
The only problem with the controls is that your special attack is the same button as equipping an item. You might switch out your sword or armor for a far inferior one if you’re too close to it. On the topic of inferior armor, I’d prefer if NPCs could pick up armor you don’t use or drink potions if you pick them up at full health. It would be nice if the NPCs were a bit more fleshed out to make them more than items.
The retro graphics very nice, it’s stylistically similar to the original Zelda game. The screenshots here aren’t quite capable of showing how hectic the game can get. The engine isn’t always capable of handling everything on the screen, and you get some slowdown occasionally. The worst offenders are the mages, especially the necromancer. A barrage of fireballs and an army of skeletons fighting an army of slimes, undead, and fireball-slinging wizards is not good for your framerate.
The chiptune soundtrack, composed by artist Rafael Langoni Smith, is incredible. His website and bandcamp page showcase his impressive discography, which includes the OST for SanctuaryRPG, commissioned pieces for industry giants, and scores for movie, television, and theater
Overture is a fun game that doesn’t retain the player for very long. It’s rewarding when you survive a massive swarm of enemies, but the game is so hard and there’s so little playoff for winning that you’ll most likely lose interest before winning. For only five dollars it’s worth a try, but there isn’t enough to set it apart from similar games.
Max is a student at Rutgers who likes writing fantasy and playing video games such as Zelda, Mario, Undertale, Earthbound, and Stardew Valley.