Just as my game library was starting to feel stale Over board! sparked my gaming spark. The visual novel takes on the fun trappings of mysteries and detective puzzles, but turns the genre upside down.
The title developed by Inkle is available on Switch, PC and iOS. You play as Veronica Villensey, a newly married woman who was quickly widowed (and murdered) and hopes to make it to the New York coast unscathed. But just when I thought I had nailed the perfect cover-up, more twists and turns found their way into the story.
Over board! is the kind of game that you can’t put down after starting. Each playthrough is short and likely to last around an hour (whether free or handcuffed), and small changes add up to endless possibilities as the game progresses. Convince everyone that the murder was an accident? Point your finger at someone else? Somehow make someone else believe it is their fault? Kill everyone and leave no witnesses? For sure! A lot can happen in this game.
It took me several tries to secure a “creditworthy” ending – something I thought would end my iterations. But no! The more I explored, talked to NPCs, and tried different options, the more objections I got. It was just as fun checking something off the list, especially when you master some of the methods to perform the perfect mariticide. I would wonder how much I could accomplish in one run until it finally looks like I’ve accomplished every goal.
The constant repetitions would be a bit tiring, however Over board! offers some abbreviations. But the narrative was compelling enough to keep me hooked for several days. Our resident antihero Veronica seems deplorable, but she is hard to hate. She’s smart and funny and, honestly, has more than 30 games deep. I can safely say that her husband sucked. The other characters can hold their own too. The writing style is snappy and clever and there were so many little details that I kept discovering to keep things fresh. Inkle has also developed narrative games 80 days
Over board! won’t entertain you for a month, and I’m not sure how likely it is that I’ll pick it up again in the future, now that I’ve learned the ins and outs to such an extent. Still, it’s a lovely indie gem that’s even more impressive when you consider it was made in just a few months during the pandemic. Consider Over board! Your lush beach reads from a game and you will likely be satisfied and hopefully leave with your freedom still intact.