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PETER HOSKIN reviews Overboard! and Heaven’s Vault

PETER HOSKIN reviews Overboard! and Heaven’s Vault

Whodunnit with a villainous twist: PETER HOSKIN reviews Overboard! and Heaven’s Vault

Overboard!

(PC, Switch, iOS, £5.99-£11.39)

Verdict: Wicked fun

Rating:

Overboard! has all the ingredients of a thrilling whodunnit. A cast of kooky characters on a sea voyage from Britain to America in the 1930s. Enough secrets and lies to fill the cargo hold. And, of course, a foul murder.

Except there’s a twist: from the very beginning, we know whodunnit. We know very well indeed. Because, well… youdunnit.

You, in this case, are Veronica Villensey, a starlet who pushes her terrible husband into the sea at the start of Overboard! The rest of the game is about avoiding detection by any means necessary – whether that’s constructing alibis, framing others, or simply by killing them too.

Overboard! has all those qualities in abundance. It’s played mostly by choosing which conversational paths you’ll go down

Overboard! has all those qualities in abundance. It’s played mostly by choosing which conversational paths you’ll go down

You, in this case, are Veronica Villensey, a starlet who pushes her terrible husband into the sea at the start of Overboard!

You, in this case, are Veronica Villensey, a starlet who pushes her terrible husband into the sea at the start of Overboard!

There’s a new, hilarious line of dialogue, perhaps. Or another salacious discovery. Until, eventually, you’ll get away with murder – and it feels wonderful

There’s a new, hilarious line of dialogue, perhaps. Or another salacious discovery. Until, eventually, you’ll get away with murder – and it feels wonderful

At which point, an aside about Inkle, the small, Cambridge-born developers of Overboard! Few studios in the world are on a hotter streak, and even fewer doing what Inkle do: experimental yet unabashedly fun games, often for mobile platforms, and with an emphasis on brilliant writing.

Overboard! has all those qualities in abundance. It’s played mostly by choosing which conversational paths you’ll go down. And while you won’t pick all the right ones the first time, nor even the second, third or fourth, that’s okay. The game will return you to the start, armed with whatever information you’ve gleaned so far.

And somehow it manages to be fresh each time. There’s a new, hilarious line of dialogue, perhaps. Or another salacious discovery. Until, eventually, you’ll get away with murder – and it feels wonderful.

Heaven’s Vault

(PC, Switch, PlayStation, £14.99-£19.99)

Verdict: Word play

Rating:

With Overboard! being relatively compact, and the Inkle bug so strong, I decided to return to one of the studio’s games from a couple of years ago.

See Also

Heaven’s Vault isn’t just well written; it’s actually about words. Your space archaeologist has to decipher a language to learn about a lost civilization.

It’s a far slower experience than Overboard!, yet its rewards – excavated one by one from the dust – might even be greater.

Heaven’s Vault isn’t just well written; it’s actually about words. Your space archaeologist has to decipher a language to learn about a lost civilization

Heaven’s Vault isn’t just well written; it’s actually about words. Your space archaeologist has to decipher a language to learn about a lost civilization

It’s a far slower experience than Overboard!, yet its rewards – excavated one by one from the dust – might even be greater

It’s a far slower experience than Overboard!, yet its rewards – excavated one by one from the dust – might even be greater

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