On 1812

If you heard the podcast from February 1, you may have already heard a bit about Overture (I mentioned it again on February 8). Since the podcasts I’ve learned a bit more about it, and I’d like to share. It’s an interesting game, if a bit basic, and I’ve lost several hours to it already.

Background

Overture is in many ways a real-time roguelike in a more traditional sense than that normally implies. It has somewhat randomly generated levels (although they all appear to be overall rectangular, so that part isn’t that interesting), random enemies, and swift death when you’re still learning what you’re doing. Play somewhat resembles games like Diablo, except you move with WASD and attack with the mouse. You move somewhat faster when moving in the direction you’re facing and not attacking, which it turns out is an important mechanic. The game asks you to defeat enemies in 10 levels while challenging a boss at the end of each. Beating a boss allows you to upgrade either your health or your mana, and you are also given the opportunity to spend gold on random chests.

When you inevitably die, you retain the gold your character finished with, and you can use it to upgrade characters or unlock new ones; it’s somewhat similar to Rogue Legacy in this sense. Upgrading only seems to improve your damage output, not your resources, so you still need to remain evasive or you’ll die pretty quickly. Items in the dungeon can improve your attack, defense, and mana regeneration, generally speaking. Weapons frequently have another effect that triggers on-hit, essences frequently have a similar effect on-kill. These can range from bursts of damage, to more gold, to potion drops.

2015-01-31_00004

Meet the Cast

The playable classes are divided into 4 groups of 5 classes: Warriors, Rogues, Mages, and Shamans, where that last one houses everything that didn’t fit neatly into the first 3 categories. Generally warriors have higher defense, rogues move faster, and mages have significantly faster mana regeneration. Most Shamans have one of these also (Paladins have the defense of warriors, Priests have the mana regen of mages, etc.), but a few are slightly different. There are both short-range and long-range classes in most categories, although mages tend toward long-range and warriors tend toward the opposite.

All classes have a “standard” attack on right-click, these vary in effectiveness and range by class. Some examples here are the Peltast (warrior) who throws spears that go through enemies, the Trickster (rogue) who can attack wherever the cursor is without a projectile, and the Invoker (mage), who has a very short-range, very low damage fireball. Right click is usually a secondary attack that costs mana, usually . The Barbarian (warrior) gains a stackable damage aura, the Witch (mage) has a very powerful spray attack, and the Bandit (rogue) has a fan of knives burst.

A few classes have a right-click that isn’t a one-off attack. The most notable case is the Invoker, who becomes a demon with a primary attack that shoots homing fireballs. This form drains mana and you revert to the very weak base form when it runs out. The Brute works similarly, turning into a hammer-throwing berserker, but the brute isn’t quite as helpless when not transformed and has some big disadvantages for transforming. There’s also a Druid (shaman), who only spends mana on switching forms, and doesn’t have a noticeably stronger one. The caster form has a long-ranged magic missile, but moves slowly. The wolf form is very fast (faster than most rogues) and has a high attack speed, but a very short-range. Departing from the transformation theme, there are also oddballs like the Arsonist (mage), who randomly lights fires when right-click is held, or the Necromancer (mage) who summons skeletons.

2015-02-11_00002

Meet the Opposition

There are a lot of enemies in this game, and depending on enemy type they seem to act slightly differently. A lot of them are fairly basic and will merely walk toward you, like most skeletons, and rats, and bats. Minotaurs are a special case because they also have this behavior, but are much, much faster than most other enemies, so they usually feel like they’re charging you. There are quite a few archer or mage-type enemies that will attempt to shoot at you from afar, most of them will try to avoid you if you approach them. Others will just continue trying to shoot you in the face. Behaviors seem to get more complex as you get further into the dungeon, and I haven’t seen the later floors yet.

There are also champion-type enemies that get a random name and more health and damage; if they have other properties I haven’t noticed. These aren’t usually a threat by themselves, but traps sometimes call 3-4 of them in addition to a swarm of normal enemies, and that can cause problems. There are also minibosses with somewhat more varied abilities, these are a threat on their own. Most levels have a large slime that thinks it’s a boss from a bullet hell game guarding the staircase. This was the cause of death for most of my first characters.

Of course, then there are the actual bosses. The “tutorial” warns you that you need to be able to move fast in boss fights, and that’s largely accurate. The game doesn’t pull punches, and sometimes has bosses that rush you in addition to their projectile attacks. Boss tactics don’t stop there, and they can also summon other enemies, lay traps, or interfere with you in other ways. Now that I’m getting more familiar with the game, the level bosses are my most common cause of death.

2015-02-11_00007

Apparently this is a thing you can do

I didn’t know about it when I mentioned it, and it ended before I could point it out, but Overture actually had a Kickstarter conclude recently, even though the game is “finished”. The goals of the campaign were to get it on more platforms (Mac & Linux), soundtrack improvements, and performance improvements. I had mixed feelings about this at first, but after a while I concluded that I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Nowhere are the developers misrepresenting the product currently for sale or what they wanted to do with the Kickstarter. It’s an interesting step in post-release support, but not an entirely unwelcome one. I’m just not sure I personally would buy the game again just to get my money added to the Kickstarter pool.

I do recommend Overture to anyone looking for a generally uncomplicated roguelike where things might get a little crazy. I’m certainly having fun with it.
2015-01-31_00006

3 thoughts on “On 1812”

Leave a Reply