Just when my game library was beginning to feel stale, Overboard! relit my gaming spark. The visual novel takes the fun trappings of mysteries and whodunnit puzzles but turns the genre on its head.
The Inkle-developed title is available on Switch, PC, and iOS. You play as Veronica Villensey, a newly-wed quickly turned widow (and murderer), hoping to make it to the shores of New York scot-free. But just as I thought I had nailed the perfect coverup, more twists found their way into the story.
Overboard! is the kind of game that’s impossible to put down once you start it. Each playthrough is short, likely taking you about an hour to make it through (whether in freedom or in handcuffs), and small changes add up to endless possibilities as the game goes on. Convince everyone the murder was a mere accident? Point the finger at someone else? Somehow make someone else think they’re at fault? Kill everyone and leave no witnesses? Sure! There’s a lot that can happen in this game.
It took me several tries to secure a “credits-worthy” ending — something I thought would end my repeated run-throughs. But nope! The more I explored, spoke with NPCs, and tried different options, the more objections I became tasked with. It was just as much fun playing to check something off the list, especially once you master some of the ways to pull off the perfect mariticide. I would start wondering just how much I could pull off in one run until, finally, it seems I’ve accomplished each objective.
The constant replays would get a little tiring, though Overboard! does offer some shortcuts. But the narrative was gripping enough to keep me hooked for several days. Our resident anti-hero Veronica seems deplorable, but she’s hard to hate. She’s smart and funny and, quite honestly, more than 30 plays deep, I can say confidently that her husband sucked. The other characters hold their own too. The writing is snappy and clever and there were so many small details I kept uncovering to keep things fresh. Inkle also developed narrative games 80 Days and Heaven’s Vault, so surprise there.
Overboard! won’t keep you entertained for a month, and I’m not sure how likely I am to pick it back up in the future now that I’ve learned the ins and outs to such a degree. Still, it’s a lovely indie gem made even more impressive when you consider that it was made in mere months during the pandemic. Consider Overboard! your juicy beach read of a game and you’ll likely walk away satisfied, and hopefully with your freedom still intact.