You like games. We like games. We like writing about games. But writing takes time, and since time is finite and new release lists are damned near infinite, you can probably see the quandary we’re stuck in. Indies at a Glance lets us discuss games we’re playing without cranking out a marathon review. That way, we can write about more games, and you can read about more games that we’re writing about.
I was somewhat harsh on Overdriven during my initial appraisal and I’m not sure why. I’ve played more than my fair share of shmups (ten in the last week, in fact!) and most of which have titles I can’t even pronounce. After having played so many over the years I’ve come to expect quite a bit from them, so when I don’t discover something phenomenal I am somewhat disappointed. I had to go back and play it again, naturally, to see if I overlooked anything, and I’m glad I did.
The presentation is solid, with nicely drawn character portraits during dialogue sequences which frequent the beginning of each stage. Also, the game attempts to insert a bit of a story here or there, which is something you generally don’t find in the genre. It’s got some impressive particle effects as well, especially as stages transition between rain-soaked skies to snowy environments dynamically.
Your vessel has two modes of fire, one of which does more damage, but also temporarily lowers your health down to 20 percent in addition to lowering your speed. Moreover, you can change your projectiles to one of four different colors. While I didn’t find it useful during my first playthrough, I realized the second time through why this was necessary. In order to unlock stages past the third one you will need to locate relics, or floating powerups, which are hidden beneath containers of a particular color. After destroying the container with the matching colored projectile the relic is revealed, thereby allowing you to progress.
The stages tend to be a bit long for my tastes, as they commonly clocked in at nearly five minutes. While this is simply a gameplay decision, shmups generally have shorter levels, although it isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, as showcased by 2010′s darling Jamestown. If you’re looking for a new shmup to play on XBLIG then Overdriven is certainly for you. While it may not win over any new fans it should certainly be able to hold the attention of those who already enjoy the genre.