After nine years in the making (and much of that time in early access), Wolfire Games finally released Overgrowth late last year. As in the prequel, you play as Turner – an anthropomorphized rabbit with some seriously sick parkour moves and a penchant for killing.
After arriving at the village White Flags to settle down into what he hopes will be a peaceful life, Turner instead discovers that the locals are having some trouble with slavers – the game follows Turner as he gets roped into taking down the feline run organization, helping friends and making enemies along the way. Eventually, Turner is captured by the enemy, and you experience the slavery firsthand – due to his strength, Turner (nicknamed ‘Lucky’ by his captors) is sent to fight his way through the arena, in a series of fights of which Russell Crowe’s Gladiator would have been proud … Possibly confused by, but proud all the same. This part of the game ends with you mercilessly striking down your captor and escaping, and the final leg of the story concludes with you helping your new friends find a safe place to lay low – an ‘island in the clouds’, which you have to climb and then defeat the power hungry rabbit chief at the top.
Both the plot and the visuals are fairly simplistic, with nothing really standing out as either dreadful or incredible, though the levels themselves are well designed. There is no HUD; indication of health is instead taken from how bloody Turner gets, and how he holds himself. Though I’m normally a bit of a visuals snob, I think that Overgrowth sits happily on ‘okay’, and, looking back, it works. Instead of focusing on what the game looks like, the developers have instead focused on how it feels to play – and that is, perhaps surprisingly, a lot of fun.
When I first started Overgrowth, I was immediately taken aback by the sheer speed of your character. Wolfire Games has managed to capture the rapid movement of their rabbit protagonist, and the wall runs, high jumps and ledge grabs all add a satisfying if simple parkour element to the game. In combat, these jumps are slowed just enough to add an action blockbuster feel, and I had more fun than I should possibly admit leaping into the air and lining up a hard hitting kick to the furry little heads of my enemies.
As well as being adept in hand to hand combat, Turner is able to pick up and use a range of weapons throughout the game, including daggers, swords and spears. Unfortunately, these weapons are really the only variety within combat situations, and fights can quickly become repetitive, even when taking into account the different types of enemies you face – again, a fairly small variety that includes dogs, wolves, cats, rats and other rabbits. All of these enemies could be taken out with a few swift kicks to the face – and yes, that was fun. But I think Overgrowth could have benefited from a wider variety of workable fighting tactics. Despite being relatively limited, the combat is still a challenge at times, and even on ‘normal’ difficulty I had to stop and think how to handle a few of the battles. The inclusion of stealth kills was good, though not always effective – I think it would have been greatly improved by the inclusion of more ‘stealthy’ weapon options. I hesitate to say ‘include a bow’ because falling into the stealth archer play-through trap is bad enough in Skyrim, I feel like I shouldn’t let it infect other games as well… but yes, the inclusion of distance weapons that are slightly stealthy (in the way throwing a spear in the game was not) would have been beneficial. Perhaps a sling?
Overall Overgrowth was a fun game, and a worthwhile play – the game itself is fairly short (I finished it in just over two hours) and, though there wasn’t anything hugely noteworthy about it, there was just something satisfying about the movement in this game that really lifted it up and made it enjoyable. The music as well was very well done and helped to set the tone of each scene perfectly. If you’re interested in this game, I would perhaps recommend waiting for a sale to come around before picking it up.