Overpass is the new offroad simulator developed by Zordix Racing and published by Nacon. It puts you in the shoes of a rookie setting out in the competitive offroad arena. As driving games go this one is pretty unique and you’ll need to forget everything you thought you knew about how to drive.
Before you enter the game proper there is an optional tutorial that I highly recommend you finish before diving into the main game. Here you will learn the basics of controlling your vehicle but more importantly some vital tips on how to approach the various obstacles the game will throw at you.
Watch the Overpass gameplay spotlight trailer below:
Amongst other things you’ll be taught how to enter and exit obstacles without wrecking your vehicles, when to engage or disengage your differential (I still don’t know what this is!) and gain some very handy hints on how to get up a hill. It is vital that you remember these lessons as some of the levels you’ll come up against are brutally hard, even in the earlier parts of the game.
Once you start a race season you are presented various options via a serviceable but far from beautiful control hub of sorts. Here you can accept sponsorship deals, enter the garage to upgrade your vehicles and of course choose which event you want to take part in next.
The events vary from open arenas where there is a laid out course for you to follow to gruelling hill climb events. The non-hill climb events are filled with various obstacles for you to navigate including fallen logs, seesaws, piles of tires, concrete tubes and massive mud piles to name but a few. Whilst they might not sound exciting each offers its own unique challenge to overcome and they are all perfectly capable of ruining your vehicle if you approach them in the wrong fashion.
You will gain a time penalty for trying to skip the obstacles, for going out of bounds or failing to enter each obstacle by going between the red flags that act as the entry point. The game can feel very unforgiving with these penalties, there are times when I would swear that I hadn’t touched a flag but still gained a penalty and there are still some obstacles that I keep failing and I’m yet to figure out why.
I found the hill climb events especially challenging and rage quit more than once, there is only so much time I can spend trying to get up the same ten foot hill before enough is enough. This isn’t a criticism and just reinforces my point from the beginning, that there are lots of lessons to be learned here. Your vehicles will also sustain damage if you treat them too roughly and this seriously affects their handling so it’s important to remember to look after them by completing the obstacles the game throws at you in the proper way.
If you manage to place in the top three of an event you will unlock a reward linked to the event. This could be a new vehicle, a new part upgrade or new cosmetics for your driver. If you manage to place in the top tier at the end of the season you will be able to take part in the world championship for some even better rewards and the chance to move on to the next division.
The vehicles themselves are split into two classes, buggies and quads. The buggies and quads handle very differently to each other and require you to master even more skills in order to be successful with both. Within each class are various different models that all have different stats and are presumably better in different situations than each other. Despite trying out most of the vehicles I didn’t notice any real difference between them, nor did I notice any real benefit once I’d applied any upgrades. This might be because I simply wasn’t good enough at Overpass to take advantage of them but I can’t help think that most players would feel the same way as myself.
Visually, Overpass sits in the middle ground of gaming, it is neither ugly nor beautiful (even on max settings) and after a few hours of playing the levels did seem to all blend into one. I also noticed a few instances of the wheels clipping into the main body of the buggies, it’s far from game-breaking but once I’d seen this happen I couldn’t stop noticing it.
One thing that did really bug me about the game was the sound the buggies make. First off they all seem to sound the same regardless of vehicle choice. Secondly, they all sound like a garden strimmer that is being overworked. I tell no lie when I say that I actually looked out of my window to see who might be gardening at nighttime before I realised the sound that was annoying me was coming out of my speakers. This lack of different sound and the fact that most of the vehicles felt exactly the same to me made the whole experience feel somewhat soulless.
The level of difficulty can vary wildly between events and I found myself coming top of the field in some only to fail to finish in the next event. If you hadn’t guessed already the hill climbs are my nemesis. Even the ‘easier’ levels are still challenging and there is a great sense of achievement once you manage to make it to the end of a course regardless of your finishing position.
To sum up, Overpass is a fairly decent game that offers a substantial challenge. Once you’ve learned that simply putting your foot down and rushing is only going to achieve a broken vehicle things get a bit easier but the game always forces you to think. It looks good enough overall. I don’t think it’s going to appeal to everyone as it’s not initially as much fun as more mainstream driving titles but I don’t feel this is the market the game is trying to attract.
If you like your driving games to be a bit different and require you to put some thought into them then this could well be worth a look. I’d also recommend it if you’re already into the offroad scene as it definitely approaches the sport in a serious manner. Anyhow enough from me, I’ve got another massive hill to try and climb before I go to bed!
Overpass was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Publisher: Nacon Developer: Zordix Racing Release Date: 27th February 2020 Reviewed On: PC Also Available On: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4