There has been a murder! Malcolm Villensey, husband of former actress Veronica Villensey, has been thrown overboard on a ship heading to America. Who did it, I hear you ask? None other than Veronica herself, but the other passengers on the boat are going to have to PROVE it.
At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking ‘Time to solve a crime!’, but you can’t be more wrong. See, Overboard puts players in the role of the murderess Veronica Villensey herself, with the goal of the game being to get away with the murder. How do you do it? There are plenty of different possibilities, but it all boils down to finding out the right information, lying to the right people, and planting a bit of evidence so someone else takes the fall. Oh, or you could commit more murders, but that’s up to you.
It’s unlikely that players will find success straight away, but it doesn’t matter. Overboard is all about patience and planning (and multiple playthroughs), with different approaches able to be taken with each attempt at the game until players are able to pull off the perfect crime. It can get a little repetitive in places, but it still makes for a thrilling and intriguing experience throughout.
Check out a gallery of screenshots for the game down below:
Each playthrough of Overboard will begin the same way, with players getting woke up by one of the ship’s Stewards. It’s here that Veronica can begin her initial web of lies, whether that’s by stating that she doesn’t know where her husband is or by simply lying and saying he’s in the bathroom. Either way, it’ll be a familiar sight as you kickstart the caper, so you better get used to it.
From there, players are able to approach the mystery how they choose. Time passes quite quickly in the game and players are given eight in-game hours to try and get away with the crime, so moving around the ship, interacting with its passengers, and planting the seeds of doubt needs to follow an organised structure if players hope to evade the blame.
Experimentation is key too, though. As mentioned, players are unlikely to find success straight away, but each playthrough of Overboard will teach you that extra *something* to hopefully make your next attempt more fruitful. You might learn about someone who saw the crime, you might find a new piece of evidence, you might uncover another passenger’s secret, or you might learn that being at a particular place at a specific time won’t work in your favour. The end of the eight hours always sees all characters meeting up in the ship’s Dining Room to go over the evidence and uncover the guilty culprit and it’s here that players will learn just how successful they have been.
“Players are unlikely to find success straight away, but each playthrough of Overboard will teach you that extra *something* to hopefully make your next attempt more fruitful.”
This was ALWAYS my favourite part of a playthrough. There were plenty of times where I thought that I had been clever and covered my tracks carefully, but I often got caught out – whether that was with a lie in my story, leaving a stray earring on the murder scene, or by simply being pointed out by someone who saw the murder happen. It’s a shame not to be successful, but it teaches players something that they need to be wary of in the next playthrough. It’s almost like trial-and-error in a way, with the pieces eventually coming together.
Replaying over and over might not sound like everyone’s idea of fun, but it works well in Overboard. For one, a playthrough only takes around fifteen to twenty minutes, so it’s not as if you’ll be spending loads of time doing the same things over and over. There are plenty of different approaches to take in each playthrough too, with different conversation arcs and choices to make with each character. Each character also follows their own timetable that sees them moving freely across the ship, with plenty of different scenarios on offer for each interaction. It’s possible to play through Overboard multiple times and take a completely different approach each time – not only does it make the game more unpredictable, but it also ensures it doesn’t grow stale.
“There’s something so fascinating about Overboard’s concept that I was fully invested throughout, with it taking around twelve playthroughs before I FINALLY saw success.”
That being said, there were a few moments that could drag a little. Having to replay the opening sequence with the Steward each time felt a little unnecessary, for example – whilst it is possible to fast-forward your actions a little, it still felt like something that could’ve been skipped after three or four playthroughs. The same could be said for a few of the game’s scenes really, especially when you’ve nearly pulled off the perfect crime but are missing that *one* vital piece of information. It can take some experimentation to figure it all out, which means playing some of the same scenes over and over again.
Whilst it could get repetitive, I never grew bored. There’s something so fascinating about Overboard’s concept that I was fully invested throughout, with it taking around twelve playthroughs before I FINALLY saw success. Along the way I was jailed for murder, had folk believe my husband killed himself (which saw zero life insurance pay out), and even got blackmailed, but hey… I got there in the end. It felt rewarding too, with the ‘anti-investigation’ approach of the gameplay making for a REALLY good time. I hope this is a formula developer Inkle work with more in the future – I just wanted more by the time I was done with Veronica’s villainous escapade.
It helps that the script is brilliantly written too, with each character really feeling like they have their own unique role on the ship. Whilst you’ll see plenty of typical stereotypes, they all fit into the mystery wonderfully and can have a devastating impact on Veronica’s quest for success. I’ve got to give a shoutout to the presentation too, with the vibrant visuals befitting of the game’s quirky setup and the soundtrack fitting the era of the tale perfectly.
Overboard’s unique take on the classic murder-mystery is a blast to play through, with the constant experimentation making for a really fun time. There were so many occasions where I thought I’d pulled off the PERFECT crime, only to come undone by one silly mistake… it might sound daunting, but it just made the whole experience all the more enjoyable. Twelfth time is a charm, right?
It can be guilty of getting repetitive here and there, but it doesn’t tarnish what is otherwise a splendid little experience. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a sleuth (but one that works in reverse), you will REALLY want to give Overboard a try.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC
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