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Game Info:

Overcome
Developed By: Overcome Studios
Published By: Overcome Studios
Released: February 28, 2019
Available On: macOS, Windows
Genre: Platformer
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $8.99

Thank you, Overcome Studios, for sending us a review code!

People create video games for many different reasons. Some may simply want people to be entertained while others want to spread a message. Overcome is of the latter. It is a 2D pixel action platformer “in which you beat your inner demons without fighting them. It displays how grief changes a person’s perception of the world around.” With that kind of description, it’s evident that this is a pretty serious game.

Your player character is a simple heart with eyes. Overcome starts in a cheery setting with nice upbeat music. The colors are what you would see in nature—lots of green and brown to represent the trees, grass, rocks, and ground. This color palette won’t stick around for long as this giant ominous heart suddenly envelops the entire setting with grays, blacks, and a moonlit sky. It will process into a fiery landscape, a cold tundra, and wrap right back to a colorful sunny field. There are only four levels total in this game, but each level will likely take you a while to complete. Overcome is a rather difficult platformer where you are expected to die a lot before you progress. (There are even achievements for dying hundreds of times.)

Overcome
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great imagery; the difficulty is enough that it makes you want to keep going
Weak Points: No replay value; some segments take way too much precision for how the controls are set up
Moral Warnings: Some violence depicted with the heart characters shattering or exploding; a few enemies have devil horns and at one point the player character is enveloped in flames that form the shape of a demon

The controls are very simple and can be changed to your liking. The arrow keys or WASD are your methods of movement. Jumping only requires the Z key and reflecting uses the X key. Gamepads are supported with the control stick moving the character while A/Cross or B/Circle are your jump and reflect. While progressing through the game, the heart will gain a shield that can block attacks. Later on, that shield also gains the ability to reflect attacks and act as a parachute. Checkpoints (which are also save points) in the shape of pillars are scattered throughout the levels so when your character dies or you quit out of the game, you’ll start right at that point.

The controls also lead to the majority of its difficulty. Some segments do require precision, almost pixel-perfect accuracy for a few of them and when your character is unable to stop or start on a dime, many deaths will come from barely missing a platform. Nearly every enemy in the game also have methods of taking control away either from shooting little projectiles that push your character back or enemies that shake the ground. The combination of shooting enemies, charging enemies, and jumping enemies that shake the ground in the later segments push this simple game to its limits when it comes to difficulty.

Now since the game is called Overcome, what is it that you’re overcoming in the first place? Although the game never states within, Overcome is about the experience of heartbreak—more specifically cancer. I have never experienced cancer (and I hope I never will) but I know what heartbreak feels like. Kabir Lal, the sole creator of Overcome Studios and Overcome attempts to express this, and I feel that he does it well. The music, combined with the scenery for each stage sets the feeling of what you are supposed to feel. The dark colors and the confusing beats of the first stage represent confusion and dread—the feeling when you’re told something bad or life-threatening mentioned to you about someone you love. Then come the anger and rage, represented by the fires and hellish landscape of stage 2, with the music becoming tense and incorporating percussion instruments. Stage 3 is covered in snow and the sorrow notes of the piano give off an empty and cold feeling. Finally, with stage 4, things get better and you’re able to see life how you used to before the bad times happened.

Overcome
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Gameplay 12/20
Graphics 8/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls 4/5


Morality Score - 95%
Violence 7.5/10
Language 10/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

There are not a whole lot of morality issues or concerns with Overcome, considering how simple it is. There is some violence with your heart character either cracking in two or exploding. Enemies can crack in half as well when you turn their attacks against them. The charging enemy has devil horns and in stage 2, your heart character is covered in flames that take the shape of some sort of demon or devil.

Overcome was made in the span of six months and for better and worse, it shows. The journey will last anywhere between one and three hours depending on how often you die and unfortunately, unless you hunt achievements, there is zero replay value. Even with the short run time, it is a different experience than most because of how personal it is. In both a figurative and literal sense, Overcome is a heartfelt experience. The music and visuals match the tone and it proves to be difficult with the bar set high and it never lowering. (Casual players will probably want to stay away, however.) Overcome represents in many ways the perseverance of the human spirit—from the message and tone of the game, the struggles that Kabir Lal faced before and during his development of Overcome, and even the player themselves. If you have $9 to spare, it’s worth checking out, as long as you are aware of what Overcome is about.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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