It’s no secret here at Gamespace that I’m not one to always immediately volunteer to review a lot of “twitch games”, first-person shooters, or platformers. As I’ve aged I’ve lost some of my pinpoint reflexes. Given that I tend to review a lot of adventure, puzzle, and novel-like games. One of the newest visual novels to come into our offices is Inkle Studios‘ Overboard for the Nintendo Switch system. Overboard is a detective game with a twist. Instead of you trying to figure out “whodunnit” you’re trying to figure out how to get away with “it”. So read on for our Nintendo Switch review of Overboard as we try to discover if playing the bad guy is all it’s cracked up to be!
The Back Story
The backdrop is the month of July in 1935. Seems like a perfect era for a classic detective story. You play as the wife of the wealthy Malcolm Villensey whose fortune has been decimated overnight. The two of you have escaped aboard a cruise ship the “SS Hook” to start anew in America. But your character has other plans and it all starts with one little push over the rails. And this is how Overboard opens. After you hear that opening “big splash” you have eight-game hours to get away with murder! You do this by covering up the evidence, misleading witnesses, frame someone else for the murder, or perhaps even commit a double homicide!
Murder With Style
The gameplay of Overboard might be a bit boring for some as the actions all take on the form of a visual novel. Everything in-game is dialogue-driven without voiceovers of any kind. You choose every dialogue line and every subsequent action. Go where you want on the ship when you want. But the other characters are watching and they don’t forget what they see. If at first, you don’t succeed within eight-game hours you can take what you’ve learned and try, try again.
You’re The Captain Of Your Own Ship
Overboard pretty much consists of making the correct action choices to open up the correct dialogue choices to accomplish your main objective “Get Off The Ship Without Being Imprisoned For Murder”. And it took several attempts for me to accomplish this clear-cut objective, about 8 hours in real-time and I thought I had beat the game, but not so fast! There was another secondary objective required to fully succeed that I missed. In doing so that caused me to play through again so I could say that I truly beat the game.
Overboard‘s dialogue has some occasional profanity and subtle adult humor that keeps it entertaining. There is a hints system that kicks in after the first failed attempt. This system adds nudges versus outright answers. The “world map”, if you will, is broken down into cabins on a ship. Whose in a given room can change throughout the course of the eight hours so you need to plan and decide where to go when. A lot of this is built around experimentation through previous runs of the game.
Entering a room is considered to be a “scene”. You can restart a scene once if you want to go back and choose a different dialogue path. Choices colored in green denote the last choice you made when you last played the given scene.
Far From Being A Titanic!
There’s really not a lot to complain about in Overboard. It’s try, try again nature might be too repetitive for gamers who like more action in their games. After six attempts or so I found myself skipping a lot of the dialogue in the scenes I had traversed several times in my failed attempts. Even so, coupled with the game’s nudge help system I found myself compelled to continue to go through attempt after attempt in order to figure out where I had gone wrong.