Overture is another example of a strange hybrid game that gets many things right, but it also appears inconsistent in the way it presented itself.

By Artemis, Posted 28 Aug 2015

When you think of a shooter game a medieval-theme is the last thing you expect.. But that's exactly what Black Shell Games's game Overture is: a roguelike bullet hell shooter game where you're tasked to destroy legions upon legions of monsters while things constantly fly across your screen. It's a high action, fast paced game that'll leave you blinded by damage scores and the amount of chaos going on screen.

Chaotic would be a great way to describe Overture, because for being a roguelike where you have to be careful since once you die you die permanently, it has a lot of things happening on-screen. No matter what class you play as, you're as likely to run into a mob of skeletons you cannot defeat as you are one or two Ent-like creatures who just shamble towards you slowly. It's practically built around an age old gaming term called “kiting,” which is avoiding the opponent while doing damage to them all while you try to back away from their advances trying to be one step ahead at all times. You have to be constantly thinking ahead and one wayward thought can lead to your character taking a ton of damage, something that you can't afford. Your reflexes need to be as taut as a guitar string as you fly around your slower opponent, all while dodging their attacks. This is easier for a ranged character, but for a close range or melee character things can get a little more difficult. Playing a melee character isn't impossible, but it is quite a bit more difficult than a ranged character, because when multiple projectiles fill up on screen all you can do is dodge until you can get in perfect range of the next attack.

Overture skeletons marsh

There are four different character classes in the game: Rogue, Warrior, Mage and Shaman, with multiple other characters waiting to be unlocked. From there you must delve into the game's dungeon floors to earn money to unlock the other classes or power up your existing class. It makes trying a level over and over again when you die, which you will do a lot, a more rewarding experience because you're sure to unlock at least something from your attempt. Each class has a weakness such as spellcasters having lower health, or melee characters having small range. In a way it does balance things out, but this game does lean more in favor to the spellcasters, if only because for the sheer amount of things that are going on on-screen, it's easier to blast several rows of monsters with your fireballs rather than taking each out individually with your sword. Increasing the range of the melee characters would actually give a player more reasons to use them, but as it is now there's almost no point to do so other than an achievement.

The objective of the game is to get through the floors while fighting amidst countless enemies such as skeletons, dragons, blobs, and minotaur. There's an insane variety of creatures throughout the game. Occasionally you'll see named creatures, which have the chance of giving the player special gear, health potions and a bonus in gold which also acts as your XP, doubling their values. The named creatures do have slightly more health and are often guarded by a cluster of creatures, which means they're hard to get to, but they're worth it in the end. Each creature has a comically randomly generated name like “Hilda the Disgruntled” or something of that nature, leaving this bullet hell style game a least a little humorous.

Overture skeletons dungeon

You'll be gathering up weapons to aid you on your quest, with unique skills like more gold or generating a shield after a while is useful, but the game moves so fast that to grab the item before it disappears proves to be quite difficult. All the items that pop out of chests or monsters can disappear after a while, which can be fine, but when you're surrounded by monsters like you so often are, it can get nearly impossible to gather the items you need to tear through the dungeon. Also, the text on the weapon upgrades will at times decide not to show up when you move your character over it, so there may be times where it'll take a little bit to identify, taking away precious time from you that you don't have. If anything, that's one of the game's biggest issues it: makes it seem like it thinks you have more time than you actually have, forcing you to rush in and do everything all at once before the object disappears.

Overture desert mummy vortext

You could always try to scout the area and kill everything around it before you go for the chest, but you never know if the chest will trigger some kind of super monster spawning, or if other enemies will spawn randomly thanks to the RNG in this game being your worst enemy. It takes away from the RPG elements this game is trying so hard to convey and makes you think more of a shooter game. Which it is, but it tries to be an RPG as well. There are times where the game isn't difficult by its own merits, but rather by tactics that'd even make a Dark Souls player arch a brow. The thing with Dark Souls is that there is always a way to beat a boss no matter what, each boss having an attack pattern and general strategy you can figure out just like if you were fighting an actual opponent. Overture doesn't have that; it has boss fights that randomly hit you into a loop of getting hit over and over again until you die. It locks you in a death loop that you can't get out of, not a one hit ko like in Titan Souls, but a death loop where no matter what you do you'll die. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough to completely ruin any source of accomplish you had from playing the game earlier.

Overture is another example of a strange hybrid game that gets many things right, but it also appears inconsistent in the way it presented itself. It has a hard time picking what it wants to be, and instead ends up as an amalgamation of many things that just don't work as well as they should.

Angelina Bonilla, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information



Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Black Shell Media
Developer(s): Black Shell Games
Genres: 2D Top Down
Themes: Shooter
Release Date: 2015-01-01

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