🌟One of my faves!🌟
Overland is a challenging and poignant post-apocalyptic turn-based strategy/puzzle game in which you travel across the wastelands of the country picking up passengers, finding supplies, filling your car up with gas, petting dogs, killing deadly creatures, and trying to survive.
Take care of a group of travelers on a post-apocalyptic road-trip across the United States in this turn-based survival game. Fight scary creatures, rescue stranded survivors, and scavenge for supplies like fuel, first aid kits, and weapons. Decide where to go next, whether it’s upgrading this wrecked car, or rescuing that dog. Just remember, there are consequences for every action. Get ready for close calls, dramatic escapes, hard choices, arguing about whether or not that dog gets rescued, and the end of the world.
– Always keep fuel in the tank. Stay away from the creatures. Be careful. Be quiet.
– Loud sounds attract trouble, and there’s no way you can fight them all. Grab as much gas as you can, rescue that trapped stranger, and get back in the car before it’s too late.
– Travel West, through grasslands, over mountains, across deserts, and to even stranger places. Every level, roadmap, and character is randomly generated, so each trip is new.
– Equip dozens of items, including medkits, shields, axes, potted plants, scavenged armor, and luggage racks.
– Twitch integration lets your viewers join in on your journey, allowing for interactive map voting and swapping out the game’s random characters for your audience, with their chat being translated into in-game dialog.
– A completely new end of the world from Finji (Canabalt, Night in the Woods).
I got this game as part of the itch.io Racial Justice bundle, and I’m so glad I did. I might never have heard of it if not for that, and that would’ve been a shame because I’ve been loving it! And the more I play it, the more I find to love.
This is a post-apocalyptic turn-based strategy/puzzle/survival game. Basically, for each “level” (I don’t know what else to call them), you move around a small grid collecting supplies, rescuing people, clearing the road, repairing/filling/equipping your car, etc., but you can only do so much or move so far in one turn, and then the creatures get their turn to try and kill you. And the further you get in the game, the harder it gets.
There are no instructions, but the more you play, the more you start to understand the gameplay, like how to transfer items from one character to another, how each creature moves, how to gauge how many things you’ll be able to do in one turn, etc. Or you can probably find a guide online. This webpage has some great tips. One particularly good thing to know is that YOU CAN RESTART LEVELS. (I don’t think that setting was automatically turned on when I started playing, but it might be now with updates they’ve done.)
Every level is the same type of challenge, but it’s a fun challenge! And the game manages to stay engaging and addictive and still have a bunch of variety and opportunity for choices. It’s a game that will never be exactly the same twice because the element of making decisions about supplies and passengers, the randomized maps, the many locations to choose from, the changing time of day, the randomized strengths of different characters, and the different ways to play creates variability. The game also has achievements/badges, which provides great ideas for different challenges and ways of playing. There’s even kind of a small bit of lore and interesting weirdness to uncover if you hit up the landmarks and scenic overlooks, which you need in-game maps (scenic can be found on the ground, landmark are sometimes already equipped on characters or at trading posts) to get to. So there’s a lot of replay value.
But it’s more than just solving the puzzle of each level. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions. Are you willing to steal to get what you need to survive? How about to murder? Are you willing to leave someone behind, or purposely sacrifice them, if it means getting the rest of your group out alive? What do you do if you come across multiple survivors who need rescuing, but you only have space for one in your car?
I also love reading the two-sentence mini bios for characters. (I call them characters, they’re randomized people you move around the grid, and the only thing that affects gameplay is whatever special abilities they have.) I can’t tell you how times I’ve started a new game, quit, new game, etc. just to see more bios. Sometimes they’re silly. Sometimes they’re poignant. That’s kind of how the whole game is. Silly yet poignant. It makes you laugh but also makes you think. Sometimes it makes you sad. I came across one character who was looking for her kid. One who had been living in his car. Some miss things from their old life. Some like the way things are now. There’s even diversity! Again, none of it has any effect on anything, but I still dig it. I’ve come across disabilities mentioned in bios (prosthetic leg, asthma, losing sight in one eye). Characters, in dialogue and bios, have mentioned partners of the same gender. There are POC and elderly characters (that last one is a bit of an assumption since I’m pretty much basing it on white hair). For a game that’s not character-based, the devs managed to make me care about these little people a heck of a lot.
The ending was fitting and very in-keeping with the silly yet poignant vibe. It made me feel things, and I wasn’t expecting it to. I loved that the developers gave players a quiet moment to reflect like that.
Also, there are dogs! And they have the cutest names! And you can pet them! And bring them with you! And they can wear backpacks and hats! In my first playthrough, I used one of mine to steal supplies from traders for me since he could move farther in one turn and I could keep the car running for our quick getaway, and it always gave me a good laugh to frantically shout-whisper, “Get in the car, Prinkles!” at my computer as though it were happening in real time and I were really there. It also cracks me up that when you “inspect” items while in a dog’s POV, they’re described from the dog’s POV. It’s useless when you actually want to know what an item does, but funny enough that I wasn’t even mad. And I love it when they carry knives around in their mouths. I’m so glad they included dogs because it makes the game 100x better. Well, except for when they get killed, of course, but just don’t get them killed and you’re good!
The graphics are interesting and beautiful, both the gameplay grids and the little cut scenes. There’s so much more to see than what I’ve shared in these few screenshots. I also appreciate the attention to detail, like how the characters wrap their arms around their bodies and shiver when standing around in the cold settings during gameplay. How the time of day shifts with each stop. How there’s weather, like snow and rain.
The music is great too, sometimes tense, sometimes eerie, and really adds to the mood of the game.
The game auto saves, which means you can’t, for example, save, try out a map location, then go back and try out a different location. If you make a bad choice, you’re out of luck. If you just want to see other locations, you have to play again. Part of me finds that frustrating, but part of me appreciates it because it adds a lot of risk, gravity, and tension to the decisions you make about where to go. It makes the game feel more real and dangerous, which is fitting for the post-apoc theme.
The few complaints I’ve seen are that the game is either too easy or too hard, but for me it’s the perfect amount of challenge. And it’s kind of adjustable. (*Update below.) If it’s too easy, try playing with a smaller group, or go for some achievements that make the game harder, like completing the game without killing anything, or playing in a timed mode. If it’s too hard, check out some guides and tips online.
I don’t know how long my first run took me because I didn’t get this on a platform that keeps track, but it had to be at least ten hours. And I’ve already played for many more since then.
There is just so much interesting stuff in this game, so many ways to solve the levels, so much variety, so much opportunity to choose how you want to play and even what kind of person you want your team to be. Overland combines humor, poignancy, and fun, challenging gameplay in the perfect way, not to mention the beautiful graphics and attention to detail. This is going down as one of my favorite games, and I absolutely recommend it!
How could I not with such good doggos? 😉
*Update (9/30/20): They’ve updated the game to v1.2 and added some things worth mentioning! You can now play in an “all dogs” mode (and the dogs can drive)! They’ve also included options for normal, hard, or expert mode, plus further options for each, including “tourist mode” if you just want to visit locations and enjoy the art without the stress of dealing with creatures, “endless night” to make the game harder, and more. (The only mode when I first played seems to be what is now hard mode.) Between all the options, there seems to be a nice range of difficulty that should allow everyone to find what suits them!
— Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight) (@whykristenburns) September 8, 2020
I’ve tweeted a lot about this game, so if you want to see more about the game and my thoughts and feels while playing, you can find most of my Overland tweets here! And a few more here. There are also some threads in there you can click for more tweets.
– Fun, challenging gameplay
– Variation and choices = never the same twice
– Funny and poignant
– Diversity among randomized characters
– Doggos that can wear hats and backpacks
– Beautiful art style
– Attention to detail, including weather and time of day
– Overall just fantastic!
(May not include everything)
– Not accessible for blind / visually impaired players and screen reader users.
– Multiple difficulty options, as well as multiple more specific options for each, including a “tourist mode” in which you can just visit locations without actual gameplay.