If Wacky Races, Evolve and Star Wars Phantom Menace had a baby it would be Overlanders. From the outside looking in that description of a game might be horrifying but intriguing enough that you must have a look for yourself. More specifically, Overlanders is a pod racing game, although the ‘racing’ part is very misleading when in order to win you must kill a fleeing monster instead of being first across the finish line.
Because the objective of the race is to kill the monster rather than winning the race, the strategies involved are a lot different to your normal racing game. Being in the lead will give you the opportunity to damage the monster however it is also a very vulnerable position when you take into consideration all the tools that your opponents have to immobilise you from behind. Much like leading the first 3/4s of a long-distance race, the final stretch is all that matters. Maybe the meta would be holding back away from the action until the monster’s health is really low and then push your way to the front for the ending blow?
When it comes to the pods you have 4 to choose from each with locked abilities that you can earn by winning a number of races and getting enough points. To start you have 2 offensive weapons that can be useful to tackle the monster. Rockets which lock onto the person or thing in front of you for a guaranteed hit are the most popular way of whittling down the beast’s health bar whereas grenades are the only skill shot in the game which causes more damage but also much harder to pull off. Speed boost will help you get to the front, Electric traps will disable pods behind you and shields will protect you from damage.
If you play online then you have the chance to earn different skins for your pods which look really nice. Desert tracks really bring out the rusty dirty skins whilst the snow environments make skins like disco blue really sparkle. Oh, and don’t worry about damaging your new ride as there is no damage engine in this game. Yes, when you get hit or smash into a corner because you are going to fast smoke will fly out of your pod and ENGINE FAILURE will flash on screen but this only affects performance for a second or two. I have had Engine failure flash up more times than a Reliant Robin during an MOT but my pod keeps soldiering on.
The tracks are well designed and follow a wasteland Mad Max type vibe with most being set in desolate deserts with a sprinkle of swampy marshlands and Baltic ice glades. Monsters for each map vary but because the monster is always running away you don’t get a front view of what you are chasing and therefore sometimes it is hard to distinguish one from the other. The Monster element added to each level is a fresh new look at what the genre can do so it surprised me that there was a lack of focus on this feature. The Monster never fights back, has no abilities or visible powers and the whole race you are looking square and the backside of a beast. Even adding sections of the map where the monster turns around, jumps over the pods or digs underground would add a sense of fear that this thing can kill me. The Pods look amazing and handle very well so maybe it’s time to show these beats some love.
Overall, this game has some very polished features and a fun concept but also very limiting at the same time. The Pods and the customisation is a big plus however the defining feature of this game should be the Monsters and they didn't get nearly enough attention.
- Pod Customisation
- Map Aesthetics
- Smooth Controls
- The Monsters are a limited feature
- No Backstory or Premise created
- Only 2 Offensive weapons
- Graphics 0
- Gameplay 0
- Narrative 0
- Audio 0
- Technical 0