Overkill 3

by Craneballs Studios for Windows 8.1

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Overkill 3 breaks with tradition

The Overkill series has traditionally focused on gallery-style shooting, featuring a static protagonist who guns down swarms of enemies as they appear. Overkill 3 breaks from this tradition by introducing a cover-and-shoot mechanic that makes play a little more complex; the player must choose when to shoot and when to take cover. This kind of gameplay is familiar on consoles or PC, but is rarer in mobile shooters. Fortunately, the game handles it well.

The basics

At its heart, Overkill 3 is a well-executed but conventional shooter. The player chooses a mission, then progresses through a series of firefights, popping out to blast enemies, then ducking back into cover and reloading. During the battles, the player accumulates currency which can be used to buy minor upgrades to weapons and armor. At times, the character will take over a weapon emplacement, which leads to short scenes of more traditional gallery-shooter play. There are also periodic sequences of slow-mo action in which the character must dodge enemy sniper fire and land precise shots to take out powerful enemies. These mostly take place at transition points between levels. As the game goes on, enemies and weapons become more powerful until the player is battling tank-like armored robots and flying drones.

Blood and guts

Overkill 3 looks great: developer Craneballs describes it as having “console quality aspirations,” and while that’s a bit of an exaggeration you can certainly see what they were aiming for. The environments are beautiful, and it’s nice to be able to move the character’s viewpoint around rather than just tapping enemies on a single static screen. However, there’s nothing here shooter players haven’t seen before: a sun-baked dusty city, futuristic armored troopers, a gruff mercenary — it’s all pretty standard shooter fare.

Controls are simple and easy to use; a helpful ally pops up periodically to give advice, but after a few messages it’s hardly necessary. Choosing missions and weapons is straightforward, and dropping an enemy feels satisfying.

Although the game’s grenades, sniper sequences, turrets and customization do lend some variety to the core cover-and-shoot mechanic, gameplay does get a little repetitive after a while. At higher difficulty levels, this can be particularly frustrating; weapon accuracy often seems so low that enemies take ages to drop. As a result, this game is more satisfying in short bursts than prolonged play — but on the other hand, that’s how mobile games tend to be designed.

Overkill overall

Overkill 3 is a solid, well-executed mobile shooter that adds some complexity to what has traditionally been a simple genre. The environment looks great, the controls are easy to use, and gameplay is enjoyable. Eventually, the game can feel a little repetitive, and high-difficulty enemies can feel frustrating, but this is still a great way to pass some time gunning down bad guys. It’s technically impressive, especially for a mobile shooter, and despite lacking a unique twist or spark of creativity, it’s good guns-blazing fun.