Overboard! review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Inkle
Developer: inkle
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

If you?re a fan of mystery novels, the basic premise behind Overboard! should be impossible to resist. You play as Veronica Villensey, a 1930s femme fatale who starts off the game by throwing her husband overboard (hence, presumably, the title) on a boat eight hours away from New York. Your goal is to help her get away with her crime by getting her off the boat scot-free when it docks.

And to make it even more irresistible, know this: it was made by Inkle, the same developers that created the very fantastic 80 Days. Just like that game turned the Jules Verne classic into a shockingly replayable visual novel, Overboard! takes a classic mystery novel trope and turns it into something addictive and fun.

When I say ?visual novel”, you probably think ?weird Japanese teen romance” (though maybe that?s just me, but Overboard! couldn?t be any further from that. Instead, like with 80 Days, the game gives you the visual novel version of an open world — an open book? — and leaves it up to you to direct the story.

This is part of what makes Overboard! so addictive. The game changes from playthrough to playthrough, and you can decide how you want events to unfold. Do you want to wake up in your cabin the next morning, and go straight back to sleep? You can do that. Do you want to see what other murderous mayhem you can create? You can do that too. There?s a beginning and an end — or, more precisely, lots of different endings — and it?s up to you to get from one to the other.

The other key factor behind Overboard!?s replayability is that each playthrough is pretty short. You can race through the story to find one ending in about half an hour, then immediately start over again to pick up other threads you left behind on the previous playthrough. In fact, the game encourages this, since as soon as one story ends, it pushes you right back to Veronica throwing her husband overboard.

On top of all that, Overboard! looks and sounds delightful. It?s got a very ?30s vibe in the graphics and the music, and as someone who?s very into movies and music from that era, I loved every second I spent with the game.

Seriously, I can?t stress this enough: Overboard! is one of the best games I?ve played this year. It?s a delight in every way, and if you want something that?s unlike anything else out there — except, I guess, for 80 Days — then you owe it to yourself to pick it up ASAP.

Inkle provided us with an Overboard! Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A+