Haegin’s Overdox strips the concept of battle royale to its basic form, shrinks it, and splices it with DNA from other genres to create something that players of all stripes can enjoy. However, lurking beneath an excellent game, a hungry beast awaits. If left unchecked, it could destroy the great foundation that’s been constructed.
Trying to explain what Overdox is as a genre, is like trying to hit a moving target. It gels together concepts and mechanics that work surprisingly well together. Primarily, however, it’s a battle royale. When you join a match, 12 other players join, too. Everyone involved is placed into an open area separated by walls and gates. Loot is strewn about for you to collect, but the loot isn’t gear. Instead, you have the chance to pick up credits, abilities, skillshots and temporary buffs.
That’s it, right? Nope. Overdox then adds “creeps”—NPCs that are merely cannon fodder—an aspect of the MOBA genre. They’ll spawn periodically on the map. Killing them will give you a chance to boost your weapon damage and pocket some credits along the way. Those credits, aside from unlocking doors, can be spent at kiosks. You can purchase door passes, skillshots, abilities, buffs, healing, and upgrades.
However, Overdox isn’t content with that. They then go on to inject combat reminiscent of Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. With seven weapon types available for use, each category has a unique set of combos, weapon animations, rarity, style, and abilities. For example, I welded a 1-handed mace that could summon an arena around my opponent and I. This forced them to deal with me rather than take off into the nearby bush. And the fact that combat is melee-only almost completely removes kiting, aside from a few skillshots. Thankfully, long cooldowns keep ranged skillshots in check.
The Hungry Beast Underneath
Whether you lose or win, you earn Energy—more if you’re victorious. Energy can be cashed in for loot boxes containing gear cards. Every piece of gear is part of a family, a set, and using three of any given set will apply a bonus, like increased movement speed or resistance. On top of that, said gear has stat bonuses, which injects RPG elements into Overdox. On paper, that sounds great, but in practice, it’s poison.
The keyword here is “loot boxes.” How gear is accumulated really holds this game back. At first it’s exciting to see the various playstyles Overdox encourages. Do you want to be a heavy hitting tank? Go for it. Want to be a quick hitting assassin that waits in the bushes? Done. What’s more, role-playing is welcomed. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel disappointed. I know at any moment someone could roll up on me with gear they scored from loot boxes they bought with cash. It throws a wrench into such a unique and fun game.
It seems there’s an effort to make it (somewhat) fair. Gear cards, for example, can be picked up from the store with in-game currency, however, there’s only a handful available and it changes every day. One day you might get lucky and snag a piece of gear you like, and other days you won’t. Loot boxes are random whether you buy them with in-game currency or real money. Haegin even reveals the odds, and that’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t excuse the pay-to-win aspect.
There is a Silver Lining
Overdox may be sneaky with their monetization, but you can still create a competitive character. By completing dailies, you earn Superior Energy. Use that to unlock gold loot boxes containing a higher chance of big ticket items. On top of that, challenges are available for completion, like defeating a certain number of players, which will often reward you with premium currency, albeit in very small increments. All of that is possible without spending a single cent, but you’ll be working twice as hard.
With that said, I applaud the developers for reinventing the wheel. Combat can be addicting and very personal; challenging, but also fair. If there’s anything to change, remove the pay-to-win system and replace it with cosmetics only. It works for League of Legends; it can surely work for Overdox. But until then, it prevents this game from from fulfilling its full potential. However, it made me—someone who dislikes battle royale—give the genre a second chance. And I’m glad I did.
Is it Hardcore?
Overdox is the perfect example of taking a popular concept and creating something unique, rather than “just another battle royale.” Haegin wasn’t content with sticking to one genre and it definitely worked in their favor. There’s an excellent blend of style and combat that anyone who enjoys MOBA or battle royale should try out, if you can look past and avoid some sneaky monetization.