Wednesday 16 November 2022

80 Days/Overboard Review (Switch)

Inkle have been charming the gaming world now for a long time, but we are embarrassed to say that this is the first time we have come across their releases. You can now get two of their best games in one physical package, so it seemed like the perfect time to finally dive into their world of choose you own adventure like games.

We don’t normally get on well with virtual novel type games but there’s something different about these. It helps that both games are fairly short. Also, we found that there was a lot for the player to think about and do amidst the blocks of text. The two games are also remarkably different in how they play out which is something we weren’t expecting.

80 Days is the longer and more in depth of the two games and loosely follows the story of Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days’. Playing the role of Mr Fogg’s gentleman’s gentleman you are tasked with packing for and planning your trip around the globe. At each new destination you have the opportunity to buy and trade at the markets and explore to find new routes and events. It starts out fairly easy but when your funds are running low or you’ve hit a major hump in the road (such as being thrown off a train by an angry waiter), it starts to get tense as you scramble to get back on track as the continually ticking clock winds down in the background.

There is a lot of text to get through here though. It seems a bit of a missed opportunity to have an around the world adventure that takes in so many different locations and not have at least a few great visuals to go with them. The words are great of course, but there really should be a bit more to look at as well. If Pirates! Back in the 80’s could do it then we can certainly do it in the modern day.

To keep things interesting, there are around 120 different cities to visit and numerous ways to get around. There are also a few random elements which move around objects and events so each time you play the game shouldn’t be the same as the last. It’ll take you between two and three hours to complete your quest so this adds a good level of replayability.

Overboard, is quite a different prospect. Here you play a woman who at the start of the game kills her husband by throwing him off a cruise ship. You then have eight hours to get away with it before you dock in New York. One play through takes about thirty minutes but again, each time you play characters and events change and a continual list of tasks and mysteries get added to draw you back in.

There’s more to look at here and much less text. Most of the game playing out as brief conversations with the cast of colourful characters aboard the ship. It has less depth and scope than 80 Days but works to compliment it well as a quick adventure between treks around the globe.

Overall, we had a really good time with both these games. They sit somewhere between a point and click adventure and a visual novel and both games are well worth playing multiple times. We suspect this will start a bit of a love affair between ourselves and inkle’s titles and we can’t wait to see what other adventures await.

Overall 8/10


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