Over My Dead Body – Freeware Game Review

 

Games like: the Lost Vikings, Solstice, Little Big Adventure

Download Over My Dead Body

Time played: 2.5 hours

TL;DR

Over My Dead Body tells the tale of Noel Brody, a former scientist that had her fate sealed by the hands of her own experiment funded by the Mortiga Consolidated. This experiment resulted in what’s called a double undeath where her body was split between a floating specter and a blood hungry zombie-like re-animated corpse. Fueled by revenge, you set out to find a cure for your current state, reclaim your experiment, and maybe killing a few people along the way.

The ghost can operate some panels to open doors.

The ghost can operate some panels to open doors.

All of this story build up is either presented through the animated video on the developers site or by reading the description below. Not one bit of this is actually in the game. It harkens back to the golden age of gaming where you’d only know what is what by reading the included manual. Being the current state of gaming today, I have no idea why this intro or some variant of it was not included with the actual game. Over My Dead Body doesn’t have any cut scenes or text boxes to allude to any type of the who, what, and why for its story. Maybe the developer didn’t care to include it, thinking it pointless and wanting to put the most focus on the gameplay itself as possible. Either way, this is a huge missed opportunity to get players into the mood for the oncoming game. It’s an interesting story. Why not tell us about it?

Stunning an enemy gives the corpse a chance to feed its hungry on human flesh.

Stunning an enemy gives the corpse a chance to feed its hungry on human flesh.

Over My Dead Body is separated into eight different levels or floors. One of those floors being a hidden unlockable that is only available after completing the previous floors in a particular time frame. Upon entering each new floor, you’ll be presented with a series of tasks to make it to the next elevator to move on to the next floor. Between you and the elevator can be many obstacles including poisonous gas, killer death beams, and gun toting security guards. You will have to control a series of switches to open lock doors or to disable those killer death beams so that your zombie form can continue through. There’s zero tutorial or follow along. You’ll be thrusted into the action and will have to learn as you go. Many times you’ll kill someone by accident or position one of your forms incorrectly and will have to restart the level either from the beginning or from a checkpoint by going into the menu.

Guards are sometimes used as switch hitters so don't kill them all at once.

Guards are sometimes used as switch hitters so don’t kill them all at once.

Controls are set up using either the keyboard or build-in Xbox 360 gamepad support. For the keyboard, the ghost is controlled using WASD and the re-animated corpse moves with the arrow keys. Using an Xbox 360 gamepad uses both analog sticks and creates a twin-stick shooter of types. Moving both characters are the same time takes some getting use to because they move at different rates. The ghost is much faster than the corpse (of course) plus the ghost has the added ability to move through walls. Many times you’ll be trying to complete a portion of a room and become confused as to which stick moves which character ultimately making a mistake requiring you to restart the level. There were times that I felt like I was finally getting the hang of it only to kill the corpse by closing a door on her.

Environmental hazards can take care of a room full of gun toting guards.

Environmental hazards can take care of a room full of gun toting guards.

With so much restarting to reset the level (and you will, this game is hard), accessing the in-game menu to do so is only accessible by pressing the Escape button on the keyboard. There’s no way to restart the level from just the controller. All of the other face buttons and shoulder triggers are useless. A big miss by developer Dune World to make that line of control ability. Again, I’m not sure if they just didn’t think about using it but it does seem a little suspect if the Xbox 360 support was built in from the get go. I’ve played games built in Unity before with full gamepad support. Not sure why this bit was left out.

Scientists can be possessed to activate facial recognition computers.

Scientists can be possessed to activate facial recognition computers.

The ghost and corpse make an interesting team for a puzzle game. The ghost has the ability to float through walls, giving you a chance to survey the level before continuing. She can also stun the guards allowing the corpse to creep up and tear them apart. She can push certain switches which generally results in opening a door and can posses a fellow scientist temporarily to activate different computer boards that require a facial scan to turn on.

If the two beings separate too far the screen will go into a split screen.

Just a little possessed scientist coming through a locked door. No biggie.

The corpse, on the other hand, although labored in movement still has mass to step on floor switches and take out guards. The problems arise from getting too close to another scientist that you’re going to need later for a different puzzle. The corpse eats everything automatically which poses problems if you are just trying to move into position. Killing an innocent bystander usually results in having you to restart the level over. These simple mistakes on top of the critically difficult puzzling just adds to the headaches. There were many times where I felt overwhelmed simply trying to move the characters around the room. One misstep can ruin everything.

If the two move too far apart, the screen will split so you can still see both.

If the two move too far apart, the screen will split so you can still see both.

Using both characters in tandem gives the same effect as you get in a game like the Lost Vikings. Each character has a set of abilities that are required to overcome the challenge that is presented to you. You’ll find yourself cursing one or the other by a simple mistake undoing all the work that you’ve already done. It takes a puzzle game to a whole different level and the possibilities are practically endless in terms of level design.

Mmmm... guard good.

Mmmm… guard good.

The graphics are nice and remind me back to other adventure games like Little Big Adventure (or Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure here in the NA). A 3D isometric perspective gives you a chance to see into rooms and what difficulties lie ahead. Running on the Unity engine, Over My Dead Body is extremely pleasing to the eye and has a unique feel that separates itself from others. This view is something that seems to have fallen to the wayside for whatever reason. It does bring a sense to the genre that is mainly controlled by RTSs and Sci-Fi RPGs. Overlooking the common bug of running through locked doors or clipping an arm through walls, Dune World has a nice style that I enjoyed and hope to see more of in the future.

Finishing the level will grant you a final time. And relief at least for a little bit.

Finishing the level will grant you a final time. And relief at least for a little bit.

Over My Dead Body’s music is low and forgettable with using simple techno inspired themes. The sound effects also have little to no value to the game as a whole. One point of mention would be the scream from killing a guard or scientist. For those movie buffs, you’ll recognize right away the Wilhelm scream every time you tear someone apart. And this scream becomes annoying extremely quickly. Sure it’s fine to hear once or twice in a popular action film, but hearing it after multiple kills will have you pulling your hair out. I kept the headphones off for this one.

Death beams! Death beams everywhere!

Death beams! Death beams everywhere!

There’s a ton of great ideas here including the initial gameplay mechanics and the story. With the extremely steep learning curve and the “hard as nails” difficulty will have many not completing the second level and moving on to something else. I was only able to make it to level four when I just threw my hands up. You never get the sense of accomplishment except for making it to the end elevator throughout the game because overcoming a small bit of a puzzle is so easily overturned do to a small mistake. There’s no room for inaccuracy here and learning from trial and error has a small line to walk to make it entertaining. Over My Dead Body plays very close to this line, but any casual player won’t find what they are looking for to continue. A sad state indeed.

Yup.

Yup.

Over My Dead Body is a freeware adventure puzzle game where you control two different characters with totally different abilities at the same time. A hard as nails difficulty and trial and error learning curve will lose many players from continuing after level two. With a ton of great ideas, nice visuals, and smart gameplay mechanics, Over My Dead Body has a lot of offer to those looking for a challenging puzzle game even with partial controller support and sound effects that will have your ears bleeding. You’ll be left wanting more but probably won’t go looking for it here.

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