Overture is the Kickstarter-funded, bullet hell Rouge-lite created by Black Shell Media. For such a small game, I was quite surprised by the punch it packed. Every game doesn’t need to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak, and Overture most certainly does not. It knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be, and despite having barebones elements and being relatively simplistic, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this title.
The concept for Overture is easy to grasp: Kill things, get loot, gain levels. You choose from one of 32 classes, and are dropped in a randomly generated dungeon. What follows is an insane montage of flashing lights, destruction, and seemingly endless waves of enemies and gold. This lasts throughout with occasional breaks for boss fights until your eventual death.
When you die, all of your progress is lost, save the amount of gold you gained, which you use to unlock character classes and upgrade existing ones. Death is a constant occurrence, or at least it was for me. It took me several attempts to clear the first floor, but with enough time, and sufficient upgrades to my trusty Paladin class, I was finally successful. The beauty about Overture, and other Rogue-lites, is that even though death means the loss of progress, there is still that reward at the end of it all that motivates you to do even better next time.
Combat is extremely easy to get the hang of, but it may be too simple for some. Your main attack comes from the left mouse button, and your heavier, mana-using attack comes from the right. That is about as complex as you are going to get with Overture. The 32 available classes do help to eliminate some of the monotony, but you can only do so much with two attacks. The visuals also help keep you intrigued. Slicing and dicing through hordes of endless skeletons and orcs looks really appealing, and definitely encourages a “spammy” play style. Overture’s combat system makes it is an easy “pick up and play” kind of game, but after extended playthroughs, it did start to grow tiresome.
One of Overture’s greatest strengths, its vast array of character classes, is also perhaps its largest weaknesses. The wide variety that Overture offers creates two issues. First, to make significant progress in the game, you really have to lock on to a few classes and continue to upgrade them. Second, all classes lack any real progression other than upping your initial attack with the gold you earned from your previous runs. The admittedly shallow and static nature of the classes make you want to swap fairly often, however, if you want to get further in the game at all, you really can’t.
The overall design is done in a 16-bit style. This may be a slightly overused choice for the graphical design in today’s indie market, but Overture certainly does it well. Characters and levels are both sleek and visually appealing. One point of issue I had came with the design of the menus. Though this is not a crucial element to the game, the menus felt horribly barebones, and when put next to the beautiful aesthetics of the game itself, that fact that it feels unfinished becomes that much more evident.