Overboard! – Get Away With Murder – Really Funny And Dark – Review

This article about Overboard is in the June 2022 Issue 4 of ChoiceBeat: The Visual Novel and Interactive Fiction Zine.

With eye-catching flat graphics and exciting period stylized environments, no one could say the game Overboard! doesn’t have class. (Also known as Overboard! Get Away With Murder.) Literary elements and composition create an intellectual environment on the fictional steamship SS Hook, where your task is to resolve speculation on a murder. It’s not just an ordinary mystery though. From the very get-go, it’s made apparent that you, the apathetic yet charismatic, Veronica Villensey, are the killer–of her own husband! It is up to you to decide what your motive is, or if you even care! For context, however, it is hinted that the financial ruin of the late Mr. Villensey is most of the motive.

In this article, I’ll cover Overboard‘s innovative gameplay and include some peppering of the satisfying nature of Overboard.

Platforms: Steam, GOG, Nintendo Switch, Apple Appstore, and Android

Parallels and Comparisons

Mysteries are a respected genre for their ability to unravel a story at a consistent pace. But, with the exception of some frequent cozy or speculative interpretations, the formula is pretty standard. I can only speculate how much of this fluctuates between trope and innovation in Overboard, but it’s worth mentioning for context.

Amongst similar games in what I’ll call the youdunnit genre, there is not an absence of the you-are-the-killer trope. For example, of an indie youdunnit, the pixel detective game Loco Motive, a free-for-all upon the Orient Express, contains the theme of unraveling a mystery in which everyone is a Clue‘esque suspect. It doesn’t quite put the modus operandi of the killer so specifically in the hands of the player as this game does though. Loco Motive appeared on a 2022 Nintendo Direct and is set for release this year.

Because of this, it is an interesting side note to speculate if adaptation for pre-digital formats of the genre has become a trend. With an identical decade and similar characters, and me being a moderate fan of historical dramas, I personally find this trend to be intriguing. There are certainly other historical games, but organized crime and war are the usual themes. Overboard lets you kick off your shoes and enjoy a 21st-century version of an engaging 20th-century mystery.

Screen Grabs from Overboard!

How Overboard! Works

The ability to really hone every aspect of the story really impressed me. From the moment you wake up as Veronica, the ability to direct your own fate is based on a combination of luck, guessing, and skill. For example, themes of foreshadowing are important story-telling tools in Overboard. Because of this, what might seem like a character trope can actually help you direct the desired income by taking advantage of the character flaws of other passengers on the ship. You are really put on the spot to cover up what seems like a barely meditated act along with the quirks and nuances of complex characters.


Most of the dialogue contains response options that float between defensive, collected, and guilty. As you interact, mostly in an attempt to cover your tracks, the clock counts down until your arrival at the port which effectively ends the game. Also, the solution to Overboard is not as simple as it sounds, and most likely is meant to take several rounds of experimentation to get off free. Losing is not terribly discouraging though, because experimenting exposes the secrets of each character.

The game makes way for a new style of experiencing visual fiction and has been lauded by players and game critics. The interactive story gets credit for unlocking critical innovation in the interactive-fiction/VN genre with every production perk that a creative dev outlet would pull together. Also, UK developer inkle Studios has a bibliography of several high-quality stories, including the successful 80 Days, a take on the Jules Verne classic, similar in scope to Overboard as an open-ended/high-quality period game.

Summary of Features in Overboard!

  • Open-ended story with many possible endings
  • Stylish flat-graphic animated illustration
  • Historically accurate environment
  • Several characters with purpose and unique backstories
  • Replay accommodation with saved history and no penalties
  • A dark but witty theme
  • A wonderful navigation system that uses an animated diorama of the ship
  • Meaningful choices and time-sensitive objectives
  • Risk, romance, and intrigue!


Other Thoughts about Overboard!

Overboard helped me step outside my comfort zone for mystery narratives. With the art so trendily stylish and the subtle Wes Anderson likeness, a genre in itself, Overboard put me in the zone. So, I felt like after Mr. Villensey went literally “overboard,” I was ready to have some fun quite soon. Nothing feels excessively sinister in the story–even though it kind of is. The ability to really mess around with characters can be really fun. The time-sensitive countdown for each game encourages fluid gameplay that can be used as a lesson for each next game. In that sense, the flow is perfect. So, overall, if you don’t mind paying upfront for an armchair adventure, the value is consistent. It’s definitely one of the more engaging visual novels/interactive fiction that I have played though.

Thank you

Thanks for reading my article on Overboard. If you’re interested, I have a whole section of visual novels on my blog here:

https://www.mrdavepizza.com/category/visualnovels/

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Moonlighter – Do a Run for Treasure and Then Sell It

The game Moonlighter is a combination rogue-lite dungeon-crawler mixed with trade simulation and story-rich RPG elements. This timeless, beautifully rendered pixel top-down was released by Digital Sun in 2018, and is available on most platforms such as PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and even mobile.

Moonlighter is a story about hopeful adventurer Will, a shopkeeper in the small commercial town of Rynoka. Although his family’s shop offers stability and prosperity, it is sustained by the materials found deep in dungeons accessed through gates outside the village. Every night after the shop closes, Will skulks into the darkness to descend into the dungeons before teleporting back with a satchel of goods and the magical necklace that allows him to do so. The more he adventures though, the more he wants to pursue the question of what the dungeons and gates are exactly. When he uncovers a map of the interconnecting nature of the five gates, an adventure begins.

Getting Started in Moonlighter

There are a few things surely endearing to Moonlighter. The top-down pixel graphics are highly detailed and stylized, leading to an atmospheric experience. The game is cozy and interactive. Aside from dungeons, and your shop, there is a whole town that can be explored, and characters with meaningful interaction scattered night and day through the streets. The characters are natural and expressive, although the main character does not speak much. And though the dungeons offer re-generating challenges, they are fluid and add choices that matter to the other elements in the game. Such your experience might be, say discovering a book about Golems hidden in a pit just happened to fall into.
you

Traditionally, rogue-lites or re-generating RPGs have a hook of sorts. The hook in Moonlighter is the combination of a dungeon crawler with a shopkeeping sim. Yet, neither are depreciative of the other element, leading to some pretty fulfilling holistic in-game commerce motivation. The complexity of the game’s shopkeeping interface allows you to gather and merchandise according to information provided by experimentation and exploration. Customers are real customers, and they even offer expression-filled thought bubbles as they react to your pricing–either a smile or a frown, which lets you know to change the price accordingly or leave it how it is. Record-keeping allows automatic storage of past pricing from materials gathered while moonlighting in the dungeons.

Comparative Games

You may remember a Nintendo game from the 90’s called Earthbound, also known as Mother. Earthbound has similarities to Moonlighter, for one stylistically, though some have compared Moonlighter more to the game Stardew Valley, which I agree with–when not slaying golems that is. Moonlighter is neatly packaged and presented, but it is by no means simple. With the incentive to do so, time can be continuously deluged into shopkeeping, crafting, gaining companions, collecting epic loot, or even getting to know neighbors. It’s sort of like a single-player, indie, MMO in that way–also a great source of replayability and nuanced gameplay.

Features of Moonlighter

Here are some top features of the world of Moonlighter

  • Dungeon-crawling
  • Combat and Swordplay
  • Shopkeeping Trade-Sim
  • Character Interaction
  • Crafting Armor and Enchantments
  • Collecting Loot and Selling it
  • Gaining Companions
  • Achievements
  • Story-Progression

My Take

This game is from 2018. Quality doesn’t seem to have diminished in Moonlighter. The detailed pixel art graphics are phenomenal in Moonlighter. It’s always encouraging in games to have a way to either start over and or just go back somewhere safe. Some call it lazy, I call it cozy.

The trade simulation element sof this game are amazing. How do they make customers gauge the value of a random mob junk in my shop. How? Coding I guess, but it is super immersive. Trade-sims are the best way to experiment with an economy, without actually using money.

It’s sort of stunning to me that Digital Sun has not released or projected any new games since the release of Moonlighter. There is certainly no absence of talent or innovation. Hard to say though. Either way, I applaud them for creating this really neat game with the bold notion of seeing the connection between a cozy trade-sim idea and a fun pixel art dungeon-crawler. It has endless replay value, although a DLC whenever or new release could be alot of fun too. Great to see such a humble production leave a bright legacy amongst indie fans, and a great example for devs to come.

Hold Down A to Close the Review

That’s what I have for you on Moonlighter. Just kinda plucked this one out of a stack, knowing that it was well praised, but in need of some research. If you would like to purchase this game, I have provided a link below that will supports new content.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. We have lots to come, and lots to share already, so have a look around, and please come back!

Good Pizza, Great Pizza – Wholesome Pizzeria Simulator – Review

In the Fall of 2020 when I was just launching the Mr. Dave Pizza concept, I played Good Pizza, Great Pizza by Tapblaze on an Android tablet, one of the many formats this game is available on. Today I played the official version released for Nintendo Switch to go back and really see what amused me about this game. Pizza, the food, has always been pretty popular, but in the last five years, it’s developed a near cult status. It’s kind of weird honestly, but it’s spun some pretty creative and entertaining ideas. So, after so much traffic from google here by indie-game-playing pizza lovers and truffle fast food cravers, I am issuing an inaugural validation of Good Pizza, Great Pizza as one of my favorite pizza-themed indie games of all time. At least that I’ve played–I’ll get to you, Freddy.

Platforms: PC, Switch, Android, Apple, Amazon

Good Pizza, Great Pizza: Greetings Ovenist

The game is generally inexpensive for versions without ads, although there are free versions on mobile with ads. Moving past that, the game works fine with a controller on Switch and presumably PC, and depending on which platform you use, it is possible to use the touchscreen as well (including on Switch.)

Now, let’s talk about the gameplay. Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a pizzeria simulator that puts you in the role of “ovenist,” order-taker, pizza maker, and entrepreneur at a cozy pinkish restaurant in a busy neighborhood across the street from the comic-relief bad guy competition named “Alicante.” Each day you start off a new business cycle, and customers drop in from off the street to order whatever pizza you can make them.

It is always possible to make what they request, but whether you pull it off is a different story. Alicante will drop in at the beginning of every shift to challenge you and discourage you from continuing. He’s the type of bad guy who accidentally compliments you wholeheartedly when you succeed or simply makes you laugh either way, so he’s not all that bad really, but you better heed his warnings.

Customers tend to exude certain customer varieties from a real pizzeria, and almost always phrase things in a way you have to listen to–or read actually–in order to complete their order. They say things like truffle cut in quarters or one-half of four pepperonis. It doesn’t sound too complicated, but it is very challenging at times. And when you mess up once, it can turn the flow of the whole pizzeria into a complete catastrophe. It’s not the end and you will get better, but you might half to improve your focus. Getting your timing right is everything.

Other Things in Good Pizza, Great Pizza

This game does not mess around. Okay, it messes around all the time. But if playing a wholesome pleasant pizzeria is your thing, Good Pizza, Great Pizza goes to town. Some features include a narrative story arc of four chapters that take you from a small neighborhood pizzeria to a big-time pizzeria celebrity.

In addition to that, there are several characters with individual personalities and dialogue, including the previously mentioned Alicante–but also cute, funny, strange, and humbling. Most of the dialogue is downright hilarious or just so weird it is charming. Not every customer is totally polite, but if you make their order right be expectant of delight in their response.

There are tons of new ingredients to add to your inventory, customer area upgrades, plus equipment upgrades. And there is even an achievement system that you can use to earn coins and compete online. Wow, this is pretty much the best pizzeria game I’ve ever seen. Most games of any genre don’t even have half of this much content to unlock. And you’ll find no disappointment in the quality of these really, because not only will you have the upgrades, it will totally change how your customers interact.

A Recommended Game

And at the apex of that very thrilling description, that’s pretty much it. Talk to customers, make their orders, and buy things. I may return to this if I really get serious about playing all the way through the story. After playing and researching for a few hours mixed with my previous experience, that’s the gist of this.

So, I hope you’re out there, you pizza seekers and hobbyists, because I am, and this pizzeria is just getting started. I hope this satisfied your search for whatever you were looking for.

This game is pretty much for everybody. The content is quite wholesome and if you can keep up with the orders there are some huge rewards for enjoying Good Pizza, Great Pizza. This one has been in Mr. Dave Pizza’s own oven for some time, and we’re glad to finally bring it to your tablet.

If you enjoy this, please come back, have a look around, leave a comment, and check out our social media. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Take care.

πŸ”½ If you’d like to download this game, here are official links to where it can be downloaded on various platforms.

πŸ€–Android

🍎Apple App Store:

πŸ„Nintendo Switch

πŸ’½Steam (PC)

πŸ”₯Amazon

Fugl – This Bird Flying Game Is Great

The word Fugl means bird in Norwegian. Fugl is a casual sandbox indie game created by a small group of dedicated developers. Its story is whatever you make it, and the gameplay is most certainly endorsed by all birds. I started as a colorful neutral voxel bird in a voxel world and glide through the treetops and oceans, plus more. Interact with your environment to test new experiences. Transform into other birds, try neat stunts, and listen to the pleasant music that guides you through the map. To the skies!

Fugl Tugl Mugl Bugl Gugl Rugl

You might notice from the pictures here that I really only drifted through one particular area, an ocean island jungle, but I can see from the game page that there are actually a variety of environments and animals. It was plenty interesting for me though. As you’ll see, the game environment is entirely constructed from voxels, that unique bridge between pixel art and Minecraft. It looks really nice here and adds more to the feel than anything. This is not my first voxel game, but I do like that aesthetic now that I’ve seen what can be done with it. Whether this is easier for the game designers or not? I honestly don’t know. What’s important is the feel of the game, which is really fluid and peaceful.

There’s not a ton of complexity in terms of objectives in Fugl, but I found it interesting alone to figure out the controls. This worked fine with my DS4 controller. Woah! (Using Windows driver.) It is also available on Mobile and VR. I am considering investing in a VR set after seeing some of the games out there on it. I’d start off with what you have, but this would be pretty neat on that platform.

I Like Birds

Birds, birbs, whatever you want to call them. I have long been a fan of birds and all animals. When I was playing, I opened my window to play Fugl with my soundbar, and the cacophony of game birds and IRL front yard birds were truly impressive. They did sound like they were amused with the sounds coming from the game, but that’s up for debate.

One of the cool mechanics I found in the starting zone was the way you transform into another bird. You basically just get as close as you can to them and your appearance just kind of blends into a new type of bird with colors and sounds. I guess if you play for a while you can transform into animal too. That sounds kind of cool, not totally sure what it takes to get there though.

A Couple of Other Thoughts on Fugl

There aren’t exactly no obstacles. There is a very eery one that I discovered right away. It seems that if you are too sedentary and non-progressive, parts of the environment unravel into dark wispy smoke. The music becomes a little off as well, game creepy music basically. It’s easy to avoid though, just go the other way! This is pretty much enough to keep you exploring the game. Also, it hecka reminds me of the TV show LOST and the smoke monster. I seriously need to watch that show again.

I find Fugl to be interesting in a way I haven’t seen before. Flying games are becoming quite popular and they’re jigsawed into a variety of categories and genres. It seems to be a common indie jam or solo dev project because those mechanics are pretty universal. I have not seen the voxel version before I played this one though.

I could play this quite a bit. It has a very calm, fun feel. Birds generally put me in a good mood, especially when they’re the protagonist!

Nice Game!

Thank you for reading MrDavePizza.com. This is semi-tentative but you can start to expect new reviews on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Could be any topic but mostly indie games. Have a great day!

80 Days, Ordia, and Eloh: Visually Brilliant Android Games

This is a short list I made ages ago when I first started. The formatting is kinda all over the place, but some chipper descriptions of some good Android games I was playing at the time.

1. 80 Days

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.inkle.eightydays&hl=en_US&gl=US

Bon, voyage! Based on the classic Jules Verne story Around the World in 80 Days, is a text-based adventure with your favorite friends Phileas Fogg and Passepartout. Jules Verne is a classic French Victorian romantic author of the late 19th century. He wrote books like Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and one called A Trip From the Earth to the Moon which became one of the first-ever films. Jules Verne was basically the first steampunk writer.

The game is an open-world interpretation of this classic story. The goal is simply to travel around the world in 80 days, which at the time WAS science fiction. And what a delightful premise for a game. The multiple-choice dialogue and locations in London, Paris, Amsterdam, etc. really well represented. These folks put some time into this. It is a standalone game that even on Android has plenty of value as a story-driven game experience. You can also find it on Switch.

P.S. If you have ever heard of Michael Palin of Monty Python fame, he created a travel documentary where he tried this concept via flightless travel back in the ’80s. It’s one of my favorites, and this reminded me of that. I need to watch that again.

Wow, okay, I wrote a ton there, time to move on to the next game!

2. Ordia

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lojugames.android.Ordia&hl=en_US&gl=US

Android game from Jolu Games. This is a fun blippy wiggly bubbly creature game. More of float from bob to bob than any other obstacle description. The color balance is really nice. The sound design is wonderful. Ordia goes beyond the casualness of your standard arcade-style mobile app, its gameplay is refined and its transitions mindful. It’s on Play Pass for free, definitely check it out.

3. Eloh

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.brokenrul.eloh&hl=en_US&gl=US

Eloh is a musical puzzle game. There are some common puzzle pieces that lead way into other pieces as you make it through the introduction levels. The solutions might not always be what you think, but I guarantee you will like them when you find them. The music changes based on the puzzle, kind of like the music mechanic in My Singing Monsters, another music Android game. This is a sophisticated Android game. If you want to be caught playing a stylish mobile game, try this one. I’m serious. And it certainly ended up exceeding my own expectations. Okay, back to the drum circle.

Final Thoughts

And that’s going to do it for this one. Three is a good number. It’s not as long as some of my other lists, but there’s about the same amount of description. Some days I feel more up to this than others, but if I can bring you a steady 3 every day, I think you’re going to like this. If you know of any games I should look at let me know. DM me on Twitter @MrDavePizza or Instagram MrDavePizza. And be sure to check out more games of all kinds on my main page: MrDavePizza.com.

Thanks for reading!

Also: The thumbnail for this article was generated using Super Slime Simulator, a very neat app/game in its own right!

Pinball Games: Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Remember pinball? Not only remember it but are a “pinball wizard” as it were? Well, here we go again. Today I’m going to share a game that is available on both the Mobile and PC platforms. The game is Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. There is also apparently some background with Blackberry devices long before that for this publisher, but I don’t know much about that.

Before this post, I tried to load up an Android emulator to see if I could try the Google Play version on my Windows machine, but it didn’t really work and it was easier to just download it to my smartphone. Here is trailer though.

What Videogame Pinball looks like

The machines in Pinball Deluxe are very aesthetic and a product of attention to detail, which gives a really enjoyable and, I suppose you could say, realistic experience. Pinball is little know loveof mine for simultaneously being “relaxing” yet engaging as a game type, because once you get into it, it is all about you and the machine, digital or not, everything else goes hush.

While I do like–okay, adore–some of the production themes out there, the generic themes on this game are still quite good. The space exploration game really engages me. There’s also a spin off old-timey skee-ball/pinball hybrid which is very pleasant.

pinball deluxe
Mod selector for unlocked table mods purchased with Tix (Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded)

Another cool feature of this game is the ability to unlock mods using something called the “TIX” system. It gets really old school there, it’s reminiscent of an old school nickel-arcade. Oh and hey, that’s another thing, you can play as long as you want here! For free! It is easy to activate the mods once you’ve got some TIX. The boosters unique to the theme of the machine with little logos, and they have unique features.

Quick jump to high score after mods purchased with in-game currency (TIX)

Bonus functionality

With the mods, I now have the high score on the Space Frontier machine. Suspension of disbelief here, but wahoo! The more ding ding, light flashing, kerchunks I can get, the happier I’ll be. I really have to emphasize how much fun this is to play without the quarter nags every few minutes. Yes, I understand it is more traditional to play coin-op machines, but free play arcades are very popular too. Also, who’s spending quarters on pinball machines when they are as scarce as purple bananas unless you spend a lot of time at the laundromat? No judgement.

Here is a screenshot of the purchase store on the Android mobile version.

Anyway, let me re-focus, what’s cool about the TIX system is it gives the player motivation to keep going. For unlocks on the mobile app, such as machine, a small purchase equivalent to the Steam price is necessary or you can purchase one game at a time, although you might as well just purchase them. No pressure though, there is plenty of content to mess around and make up your own mind.

The high scores are fake at first. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m a hermit, didn’t I tell you? Really though, although the high score system is necessary for authenticity of many games, once anything goes high score on the internet (in my experience) there is usually some trophy award for some annoying cheater, who impossibly scored a one hundred bazillion point score. My point being, this is not really necessary here. I know real pinball aficionados too though, and sometimes one hundred bazillion is a walk in the park. “We’re not worthy!” ~Wayne and Garth, Wayne’s World.

pinball deluxe reloaded
Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded selection screen. A modest but classic array of options.

Zen and the art of Pinball Reloaded

I love how much time I can take with this game and not feel overloaded, because it is just so chill. Stress has no rhyme or reason though, so if pinball is something that stressed you out, take a breather or just move on. There is no rush here for these games. And the more zeroed in on the machine you can get, the more you’ll get that slow motion Zen with the repeating patterns.

Just for the record, some of my favorite machines are Addams Family, The Simpsons, Doctor Who (the classic), and Indian Jones. There are a lot out there. For these types of games, you can always check out some of the pinball selections in Steam. These games are also nice for real pinball wizards who are taking a break from flooding their usual stomping grounds with quarters.

There are so many pinball games out there, I still look at one when I see it to see what theme it is, because that’s the other thing cool about pinball, it’s very pleasing to look at. For example, I think you’ll like the Wild West machine in Pinball Deluxe, because not only is it beautiful, but the background is a light stain of wood reminiscent of the face on an old guitar that somebody like Willie Nelson plays. I mean c’mon, that is perfect!

pinball wild west
Wild West machine. Awesome guitar wood background.

Last ball, new beginning

This kind of quality if all over this game though. It is amazing how many thoughts I have on this indie pinball game, and I’m so glad I have it now. Actually, there are two more titles I will cover, but I guess those will get their own as well!

If looking for a relaxing category of game without some of the iffy stuff and something you can Zen out on, grab some ‘za and play Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. If you’re wondering if this game can live up to the legacy of the pre-install Pinball game on earlier Microsoft Windows systems, it is up there, with its own charm to the table!

Thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I don’t write a lot about pinball but I do love it, and other games, which their are plenty of reviews from throughout the site. So have a look around! Thanks!