OVERWHELM Review

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Posted April 23, 2019 by Cody Rostron in Nerdy Bits

Developer: Ruari O’Sullivan

Publisher: Alliance

Release Date:  Apr 04, 2019

Available on: (Reviewed on) Switch, PC

“OVERWHELM is never easy. It’s hard for some. Impossible for others.” is the phrase I was greeted with when I ventured into the difficulty menu for Overwhelm. The reason I jumped to the difficulty menu. In the first place was because I couldn’t get past the second boss without dying. And even after messing with some difficulty settings the game never becomes a cake walk. For instance, if you turn on all the easy settings in Celeste, it becomes a walking simulator. But for Overwhelm, a very different style of game, it just becomes a little less punishing.

Overwhelm is a Metroid style side-scrolling horror game chock full of the color red. More than a few times I wanted to snap my switch in half, but It was never because I thought the game was unfair it was because I messed up and needed to pay attention to every single pixel. Which is why the game is better with a pro controller on a TV in my opinion. With minimal story or fanfare, you are sent into a hive of killer bugs meant to destroy it. Collecting gems as you progress and every time you kill a boss you pick up on of these gems and the hive begins to evolve. setting up harder and harder enemies on your way to the next boss.

Image result for OVERWHELM switch
Killer Squid Party

The art style works for and against the game in some ways. I like the simple aesthetic and clean look, but the various shades of red can sometimes lead to a blend that mashes all of the colors together not sure whether you see something in front of your character or something meant to be in the background. It’s a small issue among a cool design choice none the less. Alongside the simple looking design is the crazy soundtrack that this game packs. Seventy percent of this games horror comes from the insane music(?) you hear when enemies approach or a boss fight begins.

The thing that makes Overwhelm stand out among other Metroid style games is the fact that the enemies power up and you do not. You have no powers at all. Just a gun and limited Ammo. Also, that gun needs to reload so you can’t spam the shoot button either. Much like a traditional horror game. Thankfully checkpoints are pretty forgiving when it comes to the one-hit-kill enemies. In terms of feel and output, the game feels precise. Moving along the edge of a platform to make sure you get the right angle on a shot to save your life feels articulate. That being said the hit box is also very unforgiving. One strike and you’re dead.

I don’t usually mention the price of games when reviewing them, but I felt this warranted a shout out due it’s an affordable price, only 9.99 for a great spooky game. While the Nintendo Switch quickly becomes a console rife with shovel-ware and nonsense, it’s tough to find what you want, and I’d say Overwhelm is one of the good ones. As previously said the game would never be easy, no matter how many easy options you turn on but it feels fulfilling anyway you play it.

PROS

-Difficult w/o being absurd

-Aesthetic/Sound

-Enemies power-up

CONS

-Drowned out by colors sometimes.

-Handheld mode

Final score: 8.5/10


About the Author

Cody Rostron

Writer, Graphic Designer, and Artist, But most importantly a huge nerd.