Preview | Overland V0.5.4

Overland is an isometric, turn-based, post-apocalypse survival game, a meshing of genres I have never seen before.

The focus of the game is to travel the length of a post-apocalyptic America, and find a way to escape. Gameplay takes place on a series of little maps, around 10 tiles square. This ruined and decrepit America is infested with some form of massive beetle that hides in the ground and has an intense dislike towards any other animal. You move between levels through a road map, giving you two options each time. The two options can offer different types of supplies, and are often different distances from the main road. A location near the road may require less fuel to reach, but can have less supplies. Further away locations also often have less monster things, and so can be a good bet if you want a little bit of supplies and no fighting.

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An average screen

As mentioned before, Overland is a turn based game. Each character you control has a certain number of action points (normally 2 or 3) and a range within which they can move. The beetles cannot see and so can only sense you through sound. If you make a large amount of noise, such as if you start up the car or kill a beetle, several other beetles will start emerging from the ground. Each level therefore is a  puzzle, how to gather the supplies you need, whilst staying alive and trying not to awaken many beetles.

The main resource you must check on is fuel, with which you can drive across the states much quicker than by foot. Other important supplies include medical equipment and a variety of weapons. Sticks can be used to bash a beetle over the head, or can be lit on fire to create a torch. Knives are very effective, and can be used multiple times. Wounded individuals are nearly entirely useless, loosing movement points and an action point, so health kits are imperative.

The interface is decent, nicely simplistic with small notifications. Little prompts pop up on objects they can interact with, such as throwing a bottle at a beetle or searching a waste bin. Greyed out versions can be seen on top of objects that can not be interacted with, allowing you to strategist your moves several turns earlier.

Overland runs on a day/night system, wherein you start your journey on the morning of the first day, the second level will be in the afternoon, the third level is at night, then the fourth level is back in the morning. This proves an interesting mechanic as night is dark, and without electricity to light up your night, it get very dark. Characters can see one tile around themselves, but that may not give you enough time to run away from the massive beetle coming towards you. Luckily you are able to increase your vision, by either lighting a stick on fire or using a flare. This does however require you to plan ahead and not use that stick to protect yourself earlier in the day.

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Driving from one level to another

There are various characters you can meet during your game, and invite to your group. Most are humans, although I did find a dog one play-through (I made sure it survived the longest). Different characters have different abilities, such as an extra action point, a better chance of recruiting new people and more efficient driving. Having a character in your party for a day will unlock them, meaning you may start off with them next game.

Overland is in an early alpha, so it still incomplete. In the near future Overland players can look forward to a new user interface and more biomes, all coming soon. I have only experienced one bug in my time playing Overland where the flare I activated whilst in the car appeared floating in the top left corner of the map, but as soon as I stepped out of the car it appeared in my hand. Whilst this did give me a slight advantage, illuminating the top left corner, it’s not game breaking and is only a minor bug, so no harm done.

Overland is currently available over on itch.io, where it is currently $20 for access.

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