Written by Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
First announced 9 years ago, Overgrowth looked like a very interesting game, but it had some challenges to tackle back then. It once looked like a never ending project, but the development finally was at a turning point about a month ago. Now the game successfully launched out of early access – a procedure that lately seems unheard of, games that are actually completed? Since it took the developers 9 years to find the right tools to give the promised products, I was actually a little shocked to find out that the end finally has come for this small but passionate team. But now the question is, does the hype hold up?
In Overgrowth you play as a rabbit named Turner. When jumping into the game, not a lot of information is given about Turner and his passion for killing. Straight away you are set on a mission to beat the hell out of anyone that isn’t on your side. Throughout the campaign you will find friends who are set on the same goal, and have to tackle each mission with its own challenges and parkour. First, I want to talk about how exactly you beat up everyone in your path, because this is what Overgrowth initially set their focus on. Turner is a martial arts bad ass that’s not afraid of anything that is thrown at him. He’s full of witty remarks, and every mission proves that no army of cats or wolves can stop him; you throw out punches like it’s nothing, and kick rats away like they are just a ball on the ground waiting to be kicked in the goal. Jump extremely high, and drop kick anyone that gets too close: the sky is the limit because you have to get down sometime. Overgrowth does combat extremely well and makes it very pleasing.
With this said, the game’s highlights are definitely beating up anyone you can see. The parkour you are sometimes forced to do to get around the map, however, feels very lacking and sometimes is just pure frustrating. Most maps are very linear, and the goal is very simple: beat up anyone standing in front of you, and depending on the situation you sometimes have to climb up or escape the situation. Even the climbing is very linear. It never really gets more interesting than climbing up a wall, wall running from one side to the other, or figuring out where exactly you have to jump at with your increased jumping height or acrobatics.
The campaign itself is also very linear and left with no actual choices. Occasionally you cross paths with those who are just as fortunate as you, and are left with no choice except fight your way out. The game just bounces you from one place to another, and in the span of just a few levels you have seen every season you can think of, and been to plenty of different places that make you wonder why you aren’t at some sort of beach resort drinking a nice martini. You go where the wind blows and it doesn’t really make the story all that interesting. You just beat up people for the heck of it, and while the game its game play is a ton of fun, after a while it just feels like you are fighting for no actual reason. You may start to question what exactly they have been working on in the last nine years.
Overgrowth has its own custom made engine called the Phoenix Engine and both its limitations and successes can be seen back in the game. While most levels are absolutely gorgeous and differ a lot from one to the other, the levels themselves are also very small. The amount of objects are sometimes lackluster, and the detail can also be very simple, yet the game manages to portray this in a beautiful way that sometimes definitely make you appreciate the engine its built on. But as expected from an in house engine, the performance can actually be all over the place and that is simply unforgiving for a game this long in development.
After several hours of fun it hits you, the simplistic campaign is over and there isn’t any more depth to it. After the few hours of beating up all sorts of animals that tried to take the island from you, there isn’t anything else to the story to fill up the simple style of Overgrowth. You are just left alone with custom made maps and mods. You are left feeling bitter, expecting a little more than just a bland and generic fighting game that promised to be so much more. While Overgrowth does look very interesting, and is fun for a few hours to play, it honestly feels like it is a demo for its game engine, with no actual depth to keep the story and flow going.
For slightly less than thirty dollars you don’t get a whole lot of game to keep you playing. Overgrowth is a game you just play in a few sittings and that is all there is. While the game is visually beautiful and the gameplay is also a lot of fun, it’s hard to believe that a game that has been in development for the past 9 years only has this much content to offer. While the foundation really looks promising, I am unsure what to think of the game and if I would actually recommend this. I do not seem to be the only one that is a little flabbergasted with this game. It could’ve been so much more, but it still feels like it hasn’t been given enough of attention to make this a full packaged game. I hope that this game will eventually be given more content with hopefully no extra costs, because it left me a sour taste in the mouth.
Note: A game key was provided for review purposes.