Overruled! is a side scrolling platformer developed by Dlala Studios, it has been released on Steam and I have had the pleasure of playing the Xbox One version that is part of the ID@Xbox scheme. The game itself is published by those nice guys at Team17 who seem to have realised you can do more than just publish Worms these days. I jest of course I actually love the worms series, well except for the challenge mode. And the single player campaigns.
So what exactly is Overruled! as a game, well if left to my own devices I would describe it as a side scrolling platform with a heavy focus on arena gameplay. Where you and up to three other people compete in arenas in various mini games in order to gain the highest score possible. Whether you do this by being fair or by punching your opponent out is entirely up to you of course, I mean it’s not like winning is everything in an objective based game.
Overruled!: Xbox One [Reviewed], Playstation 4, PC
Developer: Dlala Studios
Publisher: Team 17 Software Ltd
Release Date: 15 September 2015
Price £9.99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
Now Overruled! can be played with friends at home with up to 2 or 4 controllers but you can also play online if you decide to do matchmaking. Its nice to see the focus on both areas for those who don’t mind having to sit next to the person who is destroying them during the current game. Sadly there isn’t too much going on in the single player department of the game, while there is a challenge mode with levels being shared between each of the games 9 characters.
It doesn’t feel like the developer wanted to focus much on building enemy AI in these modes since the only enemies you run into during the mode are stationary characters shooting at you as you race against a timer. The timer seemed to always be 30 seconds in this mode which was a delight for me as I had flashbacks of the underwater sections in the original Sonic The Hedgehog. My main complaint was that you could have about five different things to do in one level to get the gold trophy, some required timing and dodging at the same time and on your tenth go, it begins to get infuriating.
The multiplayer segment seems to be where Overruled! has been primarily focused, since the single player aspects are rather basic and shallow, but they do offer some real challenge. As I mentioned earlier the game can be played with friends at home or online, or both it would seem, which is always great to have these options at your disposal. You can edit the constraints of the game to an extent as well being able to adjust a matches length, the time of rounds where objectives are played and switched out, the card spawn time and even health amounts. I found the timing option to be my most used since five minute games seemed a bit excessive – when a lot can happen in such a small arena. In terms of combat, players are armed with a basic short ranged melee attack and the ability to launch projectiles at each other.
When playing Overruled! you will soon discover that games are divided into rounds where objectives are randomly played out and the players must change what they are currently doing to match them since the current way of scoring points will have changed. Objectives can be as simple as having to grab all the coins, to racing your enemies or holding ground whilst gaining points and defending. In total I was able to count seven modes for the game to dish out at random intervals, they do offer nice changes in pace. There is also a total of nine maps you can choose to play on, it seems to be that each map is tailored to a specific character much like you would find in a fighting game. This game isn’t too far off from being a fighter but it isn’t quite on Street Fighters level of insanity yet or Killer Instinct for that matter…baby steps.
The one thing I have failed to do so far in this amazing review is to mention why the game itself is actually called Overruled! (yes it actually has a reason for this as a name it seems). At first I just thought it was a random name, basically I was wrong. Whilst competing in the game’s multiplayer modes and even challenge mode you will come across the Overruled! main offer of innovation, these come in the form of cards that you pick up in game levels. Now these cards are activated by pressing Y whilst in play and they appear to be entirely random since you won’t often have the same cards in your pile of three deck.
These cards can stem from being extremely useful such as a “double points” card, to being silly with a “half of all points” card, to being damn troll worthy with the “Overruled!” card, which stops your opponent’s ability in its tracks before it even comes into play. The cards themselves add a lot of variety to the gameplay offer and can really turn the tide in a match if you get the deck you want and don’t just get three “points are worth 1 cards”.
In conclusion after playing several hours of Overruled! it feels to me that it is not a bad game at all, it knows what it wants to be and pulls it off rather well. But I can’t help but feel that the game would have benefited from some proper single player aspects that go beyond the basic challenge mode that we have got to work with. Just being allowed to play against AI bots would have been a welcome addition. Although something tells me the AI would have ended up being stupid or plain overpowered if not given some proper development time. For now though that addition to the game’s development seems to have been….Overruled!