(Review) Overgrowth

I’ve been following Overgrowth for a few years now. It started looking like a glorified pet project and has evolved into a full-fledged game. It’s got melee combat and a good chunk of different weapons to utilize on your journey through the landscape. It’s even got a stealth mechanic! If you’ve been on the site for long, You know how I appreciate good stealth. Overgrowth has a lot going for it and I’ve been waiting for it for a while. Does it live up to my expectations or fall flat? Let me break it down for you.

Don’t forget to check out the Steam Workshop.

So what exactly is Overgrowth about really? To put it simply it’s 3D platforming/fighting game with stealth mechanics. Oh, and it’s filled with anthropomorphic bunnies, cats, rats, dogs and wolves. If I missed one, I’m sorry, but those were the main ones. A lot of the game is spent running around (or hopping). I would say fighting, but the levels have a centralized area of play with a lot of room around them. You could, most of the time, see where you need to go, circumvent the map and jump into the place of interest. There were points in the story where doing this had me lost in a swamp and had to restart the level because I couldn’t backtrack and get to some place familiar. In a fan made mod Therium-2, if you did this too much you’d skip most of the story. The main story in that mod says you should take one path and obviously I took the opposite and the mod threw things at me like I should know what’s going on. Truth was I had no idea until I received, as my reward, the ending I got and a little light was shined. My advice, just do what the other anthro’s say, you’ll be less confused and enjoy the experience more. There’s a few mods out the to give you more gameplay hours, but not a lot of official content.

But why?!?! I have no idea what’s going on in the Therium-2 mod. I felt it needed more work for those of us who don’t follow directions on purpose. The creators should have known people wouldn’t always do what they are told.

The combat in and of itself is one of my major gripes. I’m a huge fan of stealth and even that mechanic is kind of funky. I didn’t look to mess with the key bindings, but the basic set is odd. I used a controller and the bindings left me with some contortion tricks to take down people without noise while moving. I got used to it, but even having been used to it, it was still funky. There wasn’t a lot of things to hide behind at times so there was a good amount of hiding and timing your attacks. Maybe you had to strike first with a thrown dagger and take the another down. The actual fighting combat was… bad. Some people seem to really enjoy it and found it fulfilling later in the game when it got tougher. I found it mostly impossible to enjoy. If I wasn’t parrying or dodging, I was taking a 1-hit kill in the face or where-ever. To note, I wasn’t good at parrying or dodging for very long. All fights devolved into Divekick fights. If I couldn’t stealth them, I jumped and then divekicked them. This would end a fight in one or two kicks and I’d move on. If I could land near them, as successful divekicks had you jumping back rather far (because I’m a rabbit), I would get a few good kicks on them while they were on the ground. Later levels had a good chunk of verticality so this made my only method of fighting rather dangerous for my health as landing after a long fall usually ended in death. I had to plan my kicks with a bit more forethought. In the end, this made the fighting feel shallow if not tricky.

Sneaky sneak’m times were had and when it worked, it was fantastic. The AI paid more attention to their friends than they do in other games and that was a welcome difference if not surprising. That did end my sneaky-time and I didn’t appreciate that much.

In case you forgot, you play as a rabbit. There are jumping puzzles all over Overgrowth (the game proper). They are also a mixed bag. I’m sure you could watch someone play the game and nail all of the landings, but I am not that guy. The wall-running and jumping mechanics needed a bit more accuracy than I was able to give them at times and that was frustrating. I did complete them, but some of them had me turning the game off for a few minutes because I could easily see what I needed to do, but couldn’t get my furry buddy to do. Oddly enough, they all seemed to fit in the narrative from what I can recall. What I mean by that is that I never came to a jumping puzzle and thought to myself, “Self… what the crap is this obstacle doing in a place like this?” That is impressive even if they are not the most fun thing to do in the game.

Yeh OK, some of the creatures looked a bit funny. However, I actually enjoyed the story in Overgrowth and the writing did have me giggling at times. I really enjoyed the main character Turner. He honestly felt like an 80’s/90’s action star in how simplistic and to the point he was. That may sound negative, but it wasn’t. I love the 80’s and 90’s action films!
All cards on the table, if the story and stealth wasn’t as enjoyable as it was, Overgrowth would not have been a “Gewd.” game. The combat felt bad and there wasn’t much to the official story to justify the price. The “add-on” content is nice, but nowhere near as good as the main game even if some of the mods have more “game-play hours”. Overgrowth reaches for a lot, but attains only a bit. If the devs would have built a longer story I can see myself appreciating Overgrowth a lot more. Somehow, if they made the combat more intuitive to me, I wouldn’t mind that either, but that may be asking too much. This IS the perfect example of community content being neat, but not enough to carry the game across the proverbial “finish line”. It’s a great place to start though.

Further Reading on Overgrowth: FacebookOfficial Page / Steam / Twitter

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