Thank you to Humble Mill for the review copy!
Oblivion Override is an action platformer roguelite that instead of trying to be the most unique thing on the market, tries to be one of the best at its formula. It takes notes from the likes of Dead Cells and Hades to craft a polished and well executed game. Just from watching footage from the Steam Next Fest demo earlier this year, I had some interest in checking it out due to the heavy hitting combat and awesome robot wasteland theming.
Oblivion Override’s enemies hit hard and take time to learn. There are your generic bots that just take small swings at you or shoot a singular arrow, but it gets more interesting with the tougher enemies. There are katana wielding ninjas and punching glove users that are very fast. Sometimes minibosses appear that throw around maces or cover the ground in spikes. Generally, you are dealing with several enemies at a time so you have to really pay attention to your timing. The variety in encounters is a lot of fun, plus zones don’t really recycle enemy types, which is huge in keeping the combat interesting.
In the roguelite genre, boss fights can be kind of hit or miss in design. Sometimes the boss fights feel like repetitive afterthoughts that are only there to break up the progression. Oblivion Override’s boss fights are both visually and mechanically impressive. They’re big, tough, and scary to fight against. They each have enough patterns to them to not become boring, and don’t have so much HP that they take ages to kill. I do wish to see in the future some higher reward or alternate pathing for taking harder boss fights though; as of writing, you might as well take the boss fights you’re most comfortable with.
COMBAT DONE THE BEST
For Oblivion Override to achieve the goal of being the best action platformer possible, it has to have super satisfying combat and interesting weapons. From what I’ve seen so far, it does a great job with having a diverse arsenal. Every weapon has an alternate attack on a cooldown and feels meaningfully different from one another. They aren’t just copy-pasted from other games either; I don’t think I’ve ever used a spare tire to smash down enemies and then used it as a rolling boulder before. Even the lighter weapons feel like they hit like a truck, the game does a good job of making you feel very powerful, despite the fact you can only take a few hits before dying. In terms of pure combat satisfaction, Oblivion Override nails it.
PROGRESSION AS YOU GO
Like some other games in the genre, it is worth getting through that early tedium to start unlocking the fun stuff. If you enjoy meta-progression systems, Oblivion Override has plenty. There are multiple currency types to dump into either stat upgrades, areas to find in the dungeons, or weapon unlocks. It takes a lot of time to get everything you need, and the variety at the beginning is very low. I personally find all of this to be a bit overkill, and it makes the early game less interesting.
During-run progression needs a bit more meat to it.The main systems you’ve got are leveling up your character and swapping to more powerful weapon variants. Each enemy kill gives you currency that you can then spend on passive upgrades to benefit your health, damage, and cooldowns. A few upgrades are more interesting, giving you minion companions that can fight for you and heal you, or upgrades giving you new attacks to use. There are a few different shops to buy from if you want new weapons or some health, but everything is very expensive, so you’re usually stuck choosing just one item to buy at each shop. Both these systems need more variety, but I do really like the player upgrade system.
Throughout early access, I have a few things I want to see. More zones to go through with branching paths to choose from, making boss choice matter and would make it worth fighting the harder bosses. I’d like to continue seeing more interesting weapons added to the game, and maybe passives that are a bit more interesting than stat upgrades. The meta-progression should go a little faster so people have more variety to play with early on as well. Most of my criticisms are only due to an early access release, so I imagine most of these problems will be solved over time. In its current state, I think Oblivion Override has a ton of potential to be a top tier roguelite.
Oblivion Override (Early Access)
+ Incredible combat
+ Great enemy and boss design
+ unique weaponry
– slow permanent progression systems