What kind of game is Overload? If you had ever played and enjoyed any of the Descent games back in the mid-to-late 90s then Overload will likely bring back fond, nostalgic memories. If you are unfamiliar with Descent, then think of piloting a space ship at high speeds through a network of underground tunnels all while trying to dodge enemy fire and take out robotic enemies on all sides. The developers refer to this as a 6DOF Shooter, or “6 Degrees Of Freedom”. You can move (translate) forward/backward, up/down, left/right and roll your ship, along with yaw and pitch or any combination of the above at the same time. As an added bonus, the game is being developed by the original team that brought you the original Descent games, who are actively going for a similar feel to the originals.
The playable teaser we got our hands on was an early, limited version of the game that will come out at release but it included the following:
Impulse: Your basic laser cannon.
Driller: High-impact, explosive single-fire projectile.
Flak: Low-impact close-ranged multi-point explosive projectile.
Tunderbolt: More powerful laser cannon.
Vortex: Multi-fire laser cannon that rotates as you shoot.
Falcon: Basic dumb-fire Missile. Fires straight ahead, no homing capability. (Don’t miss!)
Hunter: Basic Missiles (2), with limited homing capability.
Creeper: Small round projectiles that will slowly home in on your target and explode, fire out a small crowd of these to cause some havoc!
Devastator: Powerful missile, one-hit killer, can also be detonated manually with a cluster-bomb effect.
Orange Orbs: Energy, for use with laser weapons.
Blue Orbs: Armor, basically your health.
Ammo: Ammo for projectile weapons.
Dual one-turret enemies, Buzzsaw Kamikazes, and Dual two-turret enemies. More to come including boss-type enemies when the game is released.
6DOF Practice: Fight against a limited number of enemies – Not particularly difficult and good for getting used to the controls and combat.
Destroy Reactor: Fly through tunnels defeating enemies while searching for the reactor to destroy, then try to escape the tunnels before the self-destruct timer expires.
Challenge: Wave after wave of enemies, starting out small but slowly increasing the number of enemies as time goes on.
Easy/Normal/Hard: Easy was fun and well…easy, really not much of a challenge at all. Normal was fun and had a slight challenge to it but was still more fun than it was challenging. Hard mode steps it up and was more of a challenge, but then maybe that was because I haven’t played a flight simulator in a while. The difficulty could stand to be turned up on Normal and Hard but I would keep Easy as it is so folks that want to can just have fun with it and not get frustrated.
All controls appear to be remappable, which is excellent. The game was quick to pick up and learn, with no significant learning curve. The background music was nice but quickly gets repetitive; put on some music from the 1986 Transformers cartoon to alleviate this. Would like to see ship movement be a little faster, possibly tied to the difficulty level so that the higher the difficulty the faster both you and your enemies move, but movement in the game feels very smooth and responds well to your commands.
The look and feel of the environments themselves are nice, not that you’ll spend much time admiring the scenery while you’re zipping through the tunnels dodging enemy fire. By release we should be seeing more settings and environs, though for now the developers are planning to keep the gameplay underground, similar to Descent 1 and 2.
The weapon firing sound effects overpower everything else and while that might make sense considering their proximity to the pilot, the ship explosions felt a little weak and were often overpowered by your own weapons. Personally, I’d get more satisfaction from defeating an enemy if the sound of its defeat had a little more ‘oomph’ to it.
Overall Impression: Fun. With a good stand-alone story and various multiplayer modes this title will be a lot of fun and if Co-op can be worked in (both story and multiplayer), something akin to the old Unreal Tournament where you can play against other players or together against bots this game could provide many hours of enjoyment.
There are only a few days left on their Kickstarter so if this sounds like a game you’d be interested in show them your support! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/revivalprod/overload-the-ultimate-six-degree-of-freedom-shoote
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Drac just wants to play games on his PC (and occasionally a console), but somehow found himself roped in writing and talking about them as well. Don’t expect anything high-brow though, Drac is just your “common man” gamer and he speaks from that perspective.