Indie

Overruled! Review

[Update]: Our friends over at Dlala were kind enough to supply us with a few extra codes for you all. They had been posted below in the comments section, but we wanted to place them further up in the post for you all to see. They are first-come, first-served, so make sure you hop on these quick. And give them a tweet out to @dlalastudios and let them know what you think! Here are the codes, they’ll go fast!

WEVAM-733AZ-YYZVR 
KY2LL-Z3DA7-TJ7FE 
KQE9G-9YQ8K-C7NNQ 
XW32N-0RC70-QNW9V


I don’t think I’m alone when I say there’s a special spot in my heart for brawler games. The clear champion Super Smash Bros. series is, of course, the cream of the crop, but I’m one of the (apparently few) who also purchased and enjoyed  PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. So when it came time to review Overruled!, a zany over-the-top multiplayer brawler, I knew I was likely in for a treat. While I had a tough time getting lobbies together for matches (for which I blame the game’s early access status), the games I was able to play were a blast, and I could see this one sliding into a nice spot as a tidy contender for go-to party game.

It’s hard to nail down exactly what it is about Overruled! that’s so much fun and yet so difficult to grasp on an initial run. The essence of it isn’t hard; it’s a brawler with a variety of mini-game style objectives that completely change the way the game is played. One moment, you may be fighting with your fellows to stand in a point-generating crown, and the next, you’re trying to avoid being tagged by a flaming opponent – or, you’re on fire and trying to tag the others. Point values, attacks, teams, and everything else you’d expect from the genre are all fluid things, altered by cards that can be put into play at any time by anyone in the match. This madcap rules-swapping makes for an intense, sometimes difficult to follow series of adjustments, goals, and other modifiers.

With the Swag Bag goal in play, combatants fight for the right to gather points by holding the eponymous sack for as long as possible. Holding the bag also removes offensive abilities, so you'll have to be clever to keep hold.

With the Swag Bag goal in play, combatants fight for the right to gather points by holding the eponymous sack for as long as possible. Holding the bag also removes offensive abilities, so you’ll have to be clever to keep hold.

Cards are the linchpin of everything in Overruled!, and can make changes to nearly every aspect of the game. Alter the respawn time after death, or the cooldown for potent ranged attacks? Sure. Double – or half – the points gained for completing objectives? Done. Take away crucial components, like double jumps or melee combat? It’s as simple as playing a card. There’s even a card to cancel out any other player’s card as they play it – the eponymous “Overruled!”. With tweaks affecting so many little things, it gets hard to remember exactly what you’re able to do, so it’s best to focus only on the task at hand, whatever it happens to be at the time – or, of course, change the goal so you’re in an advantageous position. Nothing in Overruled! is static, and nothing lasts for long, especially as the number of players increases.

The Smash n Grab mode focuses on collecting coins for points - or, knocking out the opposition to steal the coins they've collected. Whatever floats your boat.

The Smash n Grab mode focuses on collecting coins for points – or, knocking out the opposition to steal the coins they’ve collected. Whatever floats your boat.

Rounding out the good times is a colourful cast of characters, though I can’t say as that I noticed much (or really any) difference in how each plays. There may be some underlying mechanics that I’m just not picking up on in the fury of play, but they’re all at least very distinct looking so keeping track of yourself in the fracas is a pretty easy task. The controls are pretty responsive, though I noticed some jitter during some online play that made certain modes a bit difficult to tackle. Outside of that, though, most of the play was smooth and the graphics, sound, and other trappings are well-done and polished.

The character select screen shows your own choice, as well as those of the other players, from the creative and pretty amusing cast of misfits, weirdos, and freaks.

The character select screen shows your own choice, as well as those of the other players, from the creative and pretty amusing cast of misfits, weirdos, and freaks.

At the end of the day, I had an absolute blast playing Overruled! and that, for me, is the most important metric by which any game can be judged. While the first round was a confusing morass of blind fumbling and trying to understand, all the ones after it were an exercise in the best kind of tense, engaging gameplay. While the rough spots in online play – and the difficulty gathering players for it – were there, I certainly feel like those are the kinds of kinks that’ll get worked out as the “real” launch approaches, given how well the rest of it runs. If you’re in the market for a fun, completely bonkers party game for you and your friends, I say: look no further than Overruled!, and be ready for anything.

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