I first learned about development studio Finji when they published the phenomenal game Night in the Woods back in early 2017. From there I decided I’d likely follow the studio in their future journeys. When I learned of Overland, a turn based tactics game set in a post-apocalyptic America coming from Finji, I was cautiously optimistic. Little did I know, my adventure with the game would be the same, having fun and enjoying my time, but remaining pragmatic with each turn.
Overland starts you off with both your first character and level location being randomly generated. Your character will have a short bio on screen to give you a little bit of soft backstory to the character, prior to the apocalypse. None of it adds to the lore of the game and its world but it’ll help you give more meaning and attachment to your cast of characters. Simple bios such as Ona who “used to do customer support” and “misses ice cream” help me to chortle at their simplicity, but also oddly root for the character. Don’t get too attached though, in Overland you’ll die a lot.
Overland will see you facing off against eerie, otherworldly foes that arise from the Earth’s core. They are sharp and pointy in design and can be likened to enemy designs such as Borderland 2’s Crystalisks. They don’t take much to get knocked down in the game, but when you’re swarmed by four or five in a close radius you’ll need to become extra strategic. This happened often and resulted in my demise more than I’d like. Don’t worry though! You can start again with a newly generated character…. until they inevitably die in another five minutes.
Strategic thinking in Overland is excellent. It plays more like harm reduction than clean runs where everyone leaves unscathed. Do you make those last few steps to get fuel to fill up your car or do you make a run for it, leaving other companions such as dogs and other survivors behind? Yes, like many games of recent years, you can recruit furry friends to your party. A caveat however is you will undoubtedly lose many in your time with the game. Choices in this game are clearly aplenty and stressful, potentially more than other post-apocalyptic games of years past.