VRFocus

Preview: OVERTURN – Glorious Anime VR Mayhem

You may have heard of indie developer Studio HG before, with its first virtual reality (VR) title Smashing the Battle, a top down hack n slash adventure where players control one of two female characters as they try to escape a massive robotics factory. Well sticking to the same universe is follow-up OVERTURN, keeping its predecessors all out action, just this time you’re right in the middle of the fight.

OVERTURN’s story goes along the line of you playing someone who’s been imprisoned in a laboratory by some evil corporation that’s engaged in live genetic experimentation. So you need to escape and this can only be done with the help of MAGI, a fellow prisoner whose developed psychic powers from the tests. So using her skills and your brawn it’s a case of killing your way through as many enemies as possible – whilst solving some puzzles on-route – in a bid for freedom.

Being a hack n slash adventure most of the action unfolds as you may expect, enemies see you, then depending on their armament will generally shoot or charge at you. And so begins a lot of repetitive gameplay, with you just having fists to punch hostiles before eventually picking up grenades or limited use guns – there’s no inventory so if you can’t hold it you can’t take it. It’s just that once you get past the first couple of levels and begin unlocking all the items and abilities that repetition isn’t mundane, in fact it becomes a highly energetic challenge that’s very addictive.

Once you gain the energy swords and can start doing some serious damage to enemies, that’s where the fun begins, as each kill gains you more ESP to use MAGI’s abilities, such as healing you, giving you a grenade or activating Battle MAGI for a short period to unleash massive laser blast – although this does reduce her health.

As mentioned, OVERTURN does have a puzzle element to it, but from what VRFocus has seen so far it’s a very basic addition to a title that’s all about combat. To unlock certain doors you’ll need to find power buttons, or to pass a gap simply find a switch to make a bridge. As the levels tend to be fairly linear, with one way in and out, locating what you need to progress never tends to be overly difficult or faraway, it’s more about defeating the enemies in your path.

With this type of title movement is an important issue and thankfully OVERTURN has two options available, teleportation or free movement. If you’re new to VR or suffer from simulator sickness then teleportation works well enough, especially on the early levels when the enemies are spaced out. For everyone else you should be choosing free movement, no if’s, but’s, or maybe’s, because it makes OVERTURN that much better. On HTC Vive’s touchpad just lightly having your thumb on it will move you forward, with a press increasing the speed. Or press down both pads in the same direction to move even faster. When correctly applied, darting around the arenas and corridors becomes a breeze, dodging past incoming fire or going in for a sword attack then quickly moving back to avoid retaliation. It’s certain seems to be one of the best movement systems around for dealing with single or multiple enemies.

With this initial look at OVERTURN it’s a videogame that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, just done well, offering players an action filled journey with swords, lasers, grenades and a very silent sidekick. Sure the puzzles aren’t that complex, and you spend a lot of time waving your arms around punching people in the face, sometimes that’s all you need. OVERTURN is coming out mid-October and VRFocus thinks this is one VR title that should be on your radar.