Psychic powers, flashy explosions, and mutated monsters trying to headbutt me out of existence. I can’t help but wonder if this is what Michael Bay’s nightmares are made of? Who knows. What I do know, is that all of these things are found in Studio HG’s recently released VR game, OVERTURN.
Set in a maze-like research facility full of genetic experiments, OVERTURN is an action FPS game with minor puzzle elements. Your main objective is to figure out who you are, who your newly found companion (Magi) is, and how the hell to get out of Dodge without dying. Sounds simple enough, let’s look at some gameplay.
The first two levels in OVERTURN are your basic tutorial levels. You will get introduced to all the controls and how to interact with the world. Simple stuff, and the game does a pretty good job explaining everything. One of the more fun features explained is how you can throw objects to distract guards. Unfortunately, you don’t get to use this feature very much which is a shame because it was an extra layer of strategy.
At the end of the second level you meet Magi, another prisoner that wants to escape. You team up and this is where the real fun begins. Once you have Magi on your side you have access to some new tricks and treats. She can make healing potions, grenades, and even has her own battle mode. Did I mention she gives you swords? Yes, she gives you swords, sweet looking swords at that.
You and Magi set off down the winding halls of the lab, solving simple puzzles along the way. These puzzles are not very challenging and often times I found it harder to find my way around the maps than it was solving the puzzles. Actually, I think puzzle is the wrong word, they are more like obstacles keeping you from progressing through the level. You just need to find a way to remove them.
On the Move
You can get around the maps in two ways, teleport and free locomotion. I found both to work okay once you got the hang of them, but the free locomotion did seem a little odd. Probably because it was head tracking, but it does work. Teleport felt more natural but did have some issues when the game starts to throw a ton of monsters your way. You really need to keep on top of your positioning if you want to block incoming damage and that is difficult when you can’t back up.
Speaking of blocking, this is done by holding your fists together or, later in the game, crossing your swords in front of you. You don’t need to be terribly specific in where you are blocking as long as the damage is coming from in front of you. I am not a huge fan of this because I keep finding myself wanting to block with one hand and strike with the other.
The game does counter this a little by knocking the attacker off balance, opening them up to a strike once blocked. This works great when it is just a few attackers. Later in the game it just feels like I am hiding behind a wall waiting to attack. I understand the design, but man it would be great to be able to block an attack and strike the target with precision rather than blunt mechanics being at play.
Picking up objects and interacting with the environment was actually really well done. Your hands will glow and you will feel a little haptic feedback when the object is in interaction range. This left me never second-guessing outcomes.
Pretty, but Let Me Hear You Talk
Visually, OVERTURN is great. They had a vision and they stuck with it throughout the game. Magi is as cute as a psychotic button and her animations really pulled off the character. The enemy NPCs are pretty repetitive but it is a cloning lab so it does work for the story.
The audio fits well enough. You have a high-octane techno track in the background and all the flair of Hollywood explosions before you. My only complaint here, and it is a big one, is the lack of voice acting. It would have done so much for this game to not have to stop and read those damn bubbles every time some narrative elements needed to be conveyed.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is good and gets more interesting as the game progresses. But, having to stop and read stationery text during gameplay just takes me out of the game and became a chore rather than a joy.
OVERTURN is a solid game and it will keep you entertained for several hours once you get past the first few levels. I suspect the multiplayer mode will add to its value and I can’t wait to test out the PVP mode. My only real complaint is how the story is delivered to the player. It is a good story that deserves a stronger method of delivery. The melee combat is a little lackluster as well but it picks up once you have some guns at your disposal.
You can pick up a copy of OVERTURN on Steam for $29.99. Personally, I would wait for a sale or for the multiplayer patch. It would be difficult to recommend this game as is for anything more than $19.99, but the implementation of PVP might change that. It is available for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Publisher: YJM GAMES
Release Date: Oct 17, 2017