That’s No Ordinary Rabbit
Rabbits. Rabbits are cute. They nibble on food and take small, cute dumps everywhere. While some rabbits hop, other rabbits jump — jump into the air, do a leg cannon kick, and assassinate their foes via broken spine. Or, if they don’t want to go through the trouble they might sneak up on their targets in the dead of night and slit their throats.
What? You don't have rabbits like this in your life? Well, you can now, with Overgrowth by Wolfire Games. Ten years in the making, Overgrowth has been in development for quite some time, and it has finally seen release.
Upon start-up, we have two options for campaign. They drop you into the universe, giving you a very interactive tutorial. As you kick, jump, and slash your way into the story, you find yourself fighting for the freedom of the rabbits. The story is linear, as is the game play. After the loading screen, you are typically put into some exposition explaining what’s going on, then you advance through the level using various of the mechanics previously learned in the missions before. Sadly, the story mode felt lacking — the characters did not mean anything to me and were nondescript, indistinguishable from one another with the exception of some being rabbits and others being mice.
The aspect of Overgrowth that carried it however is its combat.
With relatively fast-paced combat, from swords to kicks and punches, you might be overwhelmed by the chaos of everything going on, which is fun. Taking on multiple opponents is a challenge as they rush you down, making you feel on the same level, instead of this god-like character. At first glance, the combat seems to be complex, with dodging, weapons, different types of martial arts attacks and a blocking/parrying/disarming system. Despite its wide breadth, it comes across as easy to play but hard to master. But, after getting a feel for it, it becomes apparent that its clunky and unresponsive to do any blocking or defensive action, so jumping into a kick becomes the best strategy.
Each mission has its own area of the world into which you are placed, and your play area is pretty big. Although each area is quite large, a vast majority of it is unfilled and lifeless. The level design feels very barebones and widely empty. As you jump from platform to platform, and kill guard to guard, there is not much else to look at besides what’s placed immediately in front of you.
He can leap about... look at those bones!
The movement in the game is similar to its combat: there is a lot to do, but a majority of it, you won't use. There is some pretty interesting and somewhat fun parkour, climbing, and jumping mechanics, but with the exception of jump and climbing, you rarely need to wall run. The movement itself is very fluid but floaty, making the occasional platforming very easy and somewhat unrewarding.
On top of each mission being its own little area, it is a different segment in the story that feels disconnected from the universe, engendering a weirdly episodic (rather than fluid) story as you move on to each mission — it’s like several mini games placed under one story.
The Verdict: OK
Overgrowth, while fun for a while, misses the mark for a captivating story or combat. The world feels uninviting and dead, giving off the feel of a game from the early 2000’s when the processing power of hardware was much more limiting. The combat is fast-paced and fun, but it lacks depth and eventually goes stale. The story that ties it all together feels loose and lacks impact, each character blends into another and consequently prevents the player from connecting at a deeper level. The title does shine for the first hour or two, but it quickly loses its flair.