Early Access games are getting better in 2023 and it’s good to see that smaller game studios are stepping up. Humble Mill and Paleo bring us Oblivion Override a procedurally generated roguelike platformer that deserves recognition. Let’s take a look at our first impressions of Oblivion Override.
In my recent revisit to Dead Cells, another popular roguelike game, I unexpectedly found myself more drawn to the combat and platforming mechanics of Oblivion Override.
After hours of playing, the fluid combat movements and satisfying combos already have me excited for future updates. Personally, I found the combat in Oblivion Override more engaging than that of Dead Cells. Furthermore, this platformer is actually easier in the eyes, unlike many others in the genre.
The game starts with you playing as this killer bot often called a “virus” by Willian, the first eccentric character that you’ll meet. Basically, your goal is to explore this dystopian, cyberpunk world fighting a variety of enemies, from junk robots to colossal titans.
Later on, you’ll meet other robots that will help you on your journey to find the origin of “Eset” as Willian calls it. I wish they improved presenting the story a bit more rather than making the player read tons of dialogue. Some animated cutscenes could help with understanding the story better. Instead, we’re treated to the never-ending explore-die-repeat roguelike formula.
The general art direction of Oblivion Override is impressive, especially when it comes to the general color selection for the environment and enemies. Everything is easy on the eyes, and despite the chaotic action on-screen, it never felt busy or overwhelming. Compared to other 2D roguelike platformers that I’ve played, this is the longest game I’ve immersed myself in.
I also like the attention to detail when it comes to hitting enemies. The team subtly put some liquid inside the robots to indicate their health points instead of the usual health bars which I found creative and also helps with decluttering the other UI elements.
This also brings me to the clean in-game interface as it doesn’t bombard you with too much information except when you’re either in the Evolution or Upgrade menus.
It would’ve been nice if there were multiple save file support if later on you wanted a “no upgrade challenge” for your mech runs unless the devs plan to include this in their future updates.
During the first few hours of playing Oblivion Override, I thought it would be one of those platformers with a simple level design. The longer I played it though, I slowly discovered some hidden areas, including a mini-boss that you can fight as early as the start of the first level if you find destructible walls.
Once you discover other friendly mech NPCs along the way, you’ll unlock other shops when you come back to your home base and possibly on your next runs. The background music also blends well with the levels almost making you feel like playing Hi-Fi Rush.
Weapons & Other Bonuses
I like all the weapons that I’ve tried so far. I particularly liked the Jet Fists as it felt like I was playing Vi from League of Legends. Its weapon ability allows you to hit multiple enemies in a straight line which is helpful for quick wave clears.
The game does have 23+ weapons to master and if you pair them with the appropriate Evolution Abilities, you’ll become almost unstoppable. You can discover blueprints along the way to unlock these weapons on your next runs through Nico.
You can also unlock other rooms and power-ups through Mr. Xie. These rooms and power-ups can range from treasure chests to additional upgrade rooms. You will need Naviz Crystals to unlock these power-ups by defeating bosses.
Exploring the different builds that you can do with your killer mech bot is endless. The farther you go into Oblivion Override, the more you get curious about what other machines you’ll get to discover.
Every run is different as you are presented with various ways of improving your mech called Evolutions. These are divided into Common and Mecha Abilities and it requires Pink Nanites to acquire these abilities.
Common Abilities are equipped into your mech’s DNA and they can be deleted at any time if you find a better Common Ability. Mecha Abilities doesn’t cost you anything but once you pick your Mecha Ability for a specific run, you cannot replace it.
You also get permanent upgrades when you access a Transformation E-chair found on the second floor of your home base. These require Green Nanites. If you want your future runs to become easier, you can access this area to get different kinds of upgrades.
During my time with Oblivion Override, I observed that the bosses here are surprisingly punishing. You are presented with different bosses to fight at each level which gives you more freedom to choose your encounter paths.
For instance, if you want to fight Electric Erich, you will need to beat Tiyen Smasher at least once. Your patience will be tested one way or another as you’ll get that attack pattern recognition fatigue.
I had a hard time figuring out the third boss on the first level which reminded me of Odur from Thymesia. One quick tip that I can give if you plan on grinding in this game is to master beating at least one of the bosses before proceeding to the next level.
I found this one in the Fight Club way easier than the two but I don’t wanna talk about how you beat it, that’s for you to discover. If you are a fan of difficult games like Elden Ring, then you’ll feel right at home with Oblivion Override.
Overall, I love Oblivion Override’s excellent combat design. I’ve only explored less than 10 weapons as of this writing but I got hooked with the gameplay loop almost instantly. I never experienced any graphical slowdowns and chaining combos feels so satisfying every time I hop into a new run.
If you’re new to this genre and looking for an accessible roguelike game or you’re finding a Dead Cells alternative, then Oblivion Override is the game for you coming this June 14. You can wishlist this on Steam if you want to explore the many paths that you can take with Oblivion Override.
For an Early Access title, you already get a lot of content that feels like a full game. At the same time, you want to expect more levels coming soon. They recently added a New Game+ which features new moves from enemies you usually face so at least the devs find ways of keeping Oblivion Override fresh every time you want to play it.
This first impressions review is based on the PC version of Oblivion Override. The key was provided by Humble Mill and Paleo.
What did you think of our Oblivion Override first impressions? Are you going to check out the title? Share your thoughts in the comments below.