They say the pandemic brings out a person’s true colors as the great equalizer, but Overboard! does so much more than that – it forces you to look deep into your soul and unleashes the inner murderer in you.
Of course, it’s nothing too morbid, despite how horrific it sounds. In Overboard!, you play as Veronica Villensey – a fab starlet leaving Britain aboard an ocean liner heading into New York in the 1930s. And while it may seem like you’re living the perfect lifestyle of the rich and famous on the outside, the paparazzi don’t have an inkling about what’s bubbling beneath the surface, and it all has to do with your husband, Malcolm.
What’s the story of Overboard! all about?
To say that the game revolves around your husband is an understatement because your main goal is to solve his murder. You have eight hours to get your affairs in order before the SS Hook docks in the Big Apple – the only problem is that you’re the murderer, and you have to do whatever you can to get away with it.
This refreshing subversion of the whodunit genre is an absolute delight in itself, even though Overboard! will leave you no choice but to commit horrendous acts that’ll probably make you question your own moral code after the credits roll.
All this is done with vivid colours and stunning character designs that lighten the gloom and doom of what you’re trying to accomplish, coupled with the jazzy background score that, essentially, makes you feel like you’re simply out for a stroll to check out the view on deck rather than trying to conceal a murder.
The humor of this concept is doubled with the hilarious dialogue among an entertaining cast of characters aboard the ship with you. There’s an old drunk socialite, a dashing captain of the ship, an adulterous would-be poet, a retired military man, and a suspicious gentleman who seems to know his way around a gun.
To talk about them in further detail would only spoil the surprise for you, as part of the fun (and the gameplay) is to get to know these characters in order to target their weak points and bring them down.
What’s the gameplay of Overboard! like?
Obviously, to get off the ship scot-free means pinning the murder of your husband on someone else, which is only a little disturbing if you dwell on it. You’ll have to learn how to manipulate your way around the cabins, toying with the passengers and have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
For instance, seducing Commander Anders and getting on his good side means he’ll back you up when push comes to shove, while planting evidence in strategic places will lead Major Singh to pin someone else as the murderer.
Be wary, though, with the choices you make during dialogue, as one wrong slip-up can lead all the evidence right back to you. If, for example, you want people to believe that your husband committed suicide by jumping off the rails the night before, you can’t pick an answer that says you haven’t seen him since that morning. Get your story straight, or the people around you will get suspicious and you’ll end up behind bars faster than you can say “insurance fraud”.
And if you ever get stuck, you can always pay a quick visit to the chapel to ask for advice from a sarcastic higher power. The “God” figure of the game is entertaining enough, so you might want to pop in every now and then even if you don’t need any help just so you can have a quick chat.
What’s the appeal?
I’m not usually into murder mysteries, but this one just roped me in from my very first try. My initial attempt lasted a good 15 minutes before I got arrested, all because I confessed to the Major right at the very beginning. You’ll have to replay the same day over and over again ala-Groundhog Day until you get away with murder, which is an interesting dynamic that adds a little bit of a roguelite feel to the game.
Choices you previously picked will be highlighted, and a checklist is provided to lend you a helping hand. There are tons of achievements you can score depending on your actions within the game, as well as multiple endings that I honestly couldn’t resist. Even after I already got away with my crime, I kept replaying the thing just because I wanted to see how things would turn out differently if I said and did so-and-so.
Funnily enough, if you don’t want to bother with all the scheming, you can just push everybody off the railing and be done with it, because you are a sly, sly girl.
Overboard! review summary
Overall, Overboard! is a lovely little gem that, while short, makes for a highly enjoyable experience. Repeating the same answers and going through past scenes (which you can re-do once every playthrough) may feel tedious for some, though, so it would’ve been nice if we had some sort of auto-save function to pick up where we last left off. Still, getting away with murder should be your ultimate goal by any means necessary – even if you have to smother a woman with a pillow or fumble for keys in a gentleman’s pocket to do so.
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