Does Overture present itself as a true retro masterpiece, or is it merely a cacophony of confusion?
With dungeon crawlers and rougelikes being produced as quickly as pop songs, it can be easy to have your Steam playlist become as cluttered as your iTunes library. With the number of games growing by the day, and gimmicks becoming more and more commonplace in the genre, it can be a bit difficult to find a masterpiece in a world of garage band-quality media. This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t find what you’re looking for. Sometimes you just have to sift through a few dime store jingles before you stumble across an Overture.
Overture presents itself as an overhead, retro-inspired, fast paced dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash, seemingly inspired and created in the style of the classic arcade Gauntlet games. Upon booting up the game, players are given the opportunity to select their character from one of four builds – Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Shaman. Each of the four overhead classes contains six characters, though only one in each is unlocked initially. Once the character is chosen, they are immediately thrust into a randomly-generated dungeon.
Players control their characters with WSAD, left click the mouse for a standard attack, and right click for a special attack (which consumes MP). Players can also sprint by directing the character toward the mouse. It may seem a little tricky at first, but it doesn’t take much getting used to. Each level within the dungeon is set up in the shape of a large square, and is filled to the brim with traps. treasures. and monsters. The goal of each floor is quite simple; find the exit and beat the boss of the floor. With no map and a seemingly-endless supply of monsters spawning however, things can become a little tricky. Fortunately, monsters give the player experience which means a chance to level up and increase odds of survival. Also strewn about the floors are treasure chests containing money, new weapons and armor (which are able to be equipped by everyone), and HP and MP-recovering potions. Even if finding the staircase to the next level doesn’t give you much trouble, there is yet another obstacle. Sitting atop each staircase is a large, heavy hitting guardian monster attempting to prevent you from continuing. After that, it’s onto the boss, rinse, and repeat. Players may not find themselves getting far at first, but gold amassed during gameplay can be used to both unlock new characters and purchase permanent power-ups (labeled tiers) for unlocked characters. Gameplay is incredibly fast-paced, and there is a constant sense of danger during throughout. Despite this, the game doesn’t ever feel frustrating. Rather, with each new run and subsequent power-ups come a sense of excitement and drive to get further than ever before.
Graphically speaking, the game is very well-done. Though nothing feels like a breakthrough, the game is most definitely polished and maintains a retro charm without sacrificing quality. Overture uses a charming combination of polished 8 and 16-bit graphical styles to paint the landscape and characters of the game, but makes sure that nothing ever looks confusing or underdeveloped. Both monsters and player characters are varied in many ways, and it has clearly been made sure that no two heroes look alike.
Overture boasts a phenomenal soundtrack. Completely made up of retro and chiptune sounds, the soundtrack not only fits the environment of the game, but also serves as a way to subconsciously keep players excited and alert. Songs are played at random with each level, but it never feels as though some songs are blatantly better than others. Every tune encountered within Overture’s deadly dungeons are adrenaline-pumping auditory masterpieces.
Overture does not try to market itself as innovative or groundbreaking. Rather, it looks back on arcade classics of the past and lovingly attempts to re-create that same feeling of nostalgia while trying to keep a steady, fast-paced and skill-based environment. Fortunately, it does that very well. Although it can get a bit repetitive and, at times, relies a little bit on luck, Overture is very fun overall and seems as though it would appeal to a wide audience. With randomized dungeons, endless power-ups, tons of monsters, and over 20 characters to play as, Overture will keep you hitting the repeat button over and over for quite some time.
Final Verdict: 4 / 5
Available on: PC (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Black Shell Media ; Developer: Black Shell Games ; Players: 1; Released: January 1, 2015 ; ESRB: Teen ; MSRP: $4.99