Pressure Overdrive is a revamped version of the PC game from 2013. Developer ‘Chasing Carrots’ has added a new mode, revamped the controls and updated the audio and visuals along with the upgrade system. I didn’t play the original so I have no comparison as to whether it’s better or not.
What I can tell you is that the game is fun, fun, fun and doesn’t take an awful lot of brainpower to work out.
You play as Morgan, an unassuming little fella who wakes up one day and dons his swimming ring in anticipation of a refreshing morning dip in the lake surrounding his home. What he finds instead is a dry lake bed where the water should be.
As it turns out an evil villain who goes by the name of Count Soap is stealing all the water to use in his Spa and charge the paying public for the privilege of using it. Morgan joins up with ‘la resistance’ in an effort to bring down the dastardly Count Soap and return the water to the people.
To do this Morgan must race in a steam powered steampunk inspired buggy and destroy minions of the Count in an effort to progress towards the final boss encounter and halt Count Soap once and for all.
Your buggy is controlled with the left stick and your main weapon is controlled with the right stick, making this a unique twin stick/racer hybrid which works surprisingly well. There is a tutorial level that explains all this and sets you up nicely for the journey ahead. Initially, it does get quite confusing, steering and accelerating with the left whilst simultaneously aiming and firing with the right, but after a few levels it all feels natural and you’ll find yourself breezing through.
There are 33 levels altogether in the main game and after every 10th level, you get a boss. The levels are all on a rail so you can’t really get lost at all and the main thing you have to do is make sure you destroy enough enemies to refill your pressure gauge or else you will find yourself crawling along and a sitting target for the enemies to shoot at. As well as your pressure going down you also have to keep an eye on your buggy’s health, in the garage, which you get to visit at the end of each level, there is the opportunity to use the gold that you collect to buy new weapons/parts and even buggies. There is also an option to upgrade your current loadout if you are happy with it.
This leads me to something which I found refreshing, if you want to change up anything at all on your buggy you simply sell it and you are refunded the exact same amount as you spent to buy it initially. There is no detriment to changing your mind as there is in games which offer a similar upgrade system where you get back a percentage of what you paid for. This means that you can try something out and if you don’t like it then you can just go back to the garage….sell the parts back and try a different loadout. This feature helped me out quite a bit during my playthrough as some weapons were ineffective against one of the bosses but as soon as I switched to another set….I breezed through.
On each level, there is a truck (or two) that upon being destroyed drop a power up that hugely assist you, these range from Rapid Fire (self-explanatory) to my personal favourite Love Touch (each enemy that touches you when the power up is active turns pink and becomes your ally). The power ups are on a timer but do help you massively.
Periodically there is a cut-scene that feature Count Soaps latest innovation and they are quite amusing but ultimately pointless to the story.
The boss levels are not straight forward and there is no on screen indication as to what you have to do to defeat them, some may find this annoying but I quite enjoyed figuring each one out for myself.
On the screens in the top right corner, you will see that there is an option for multiplayer but it is only local. I tried the co-op with my son and whilst it seemed easier there was also the confusion of who was which buggy and I often ended up driving off the map because I thought I was the other buggy on screen. If you fail a level, however, you can just go back to the map and restart from the level you just failed………you don’t have to go back to the beginning like in the last game I reviewed (I’m looking at you Iron Crypticle).
The flow of the game is very pleasing, lots of explosions and vehicles on the screen at the same time do not slow down performance and everything looks suitably polished. Pressure Overdrive is marketed as Steampunk (not a clue what that is) but Google is my friend and I can confirm that the look and sound are suitably Steam Punky enough to satisfy followers of that particular movement.
Upon completion of the main game, two more modes are available to you. Freeplay, which gives you the opportunity to play any level that you want. I will say though, your loadout and money available is tied to where you choose to play the level from. If you were thinking that you could go back to level 2 with a fully tricked out buggy then you’d be mistaken. You get whatever loadout you possessed when you were at level 2.
The other new mode is Endless, in this mode, you start out with a basic weapon and no upgrades. At the end of each wave of enemies, you drive into a shed and a slot machine fills the screen.
You simply make your choice and then continue onto the next wave with your newly equipped loot. How far you get in Endless Mode is not so much dependent on your skill as a driver, but more linked to how lucky you are on the slots at the end of the wave. You still need to collect pressure from defeated enemies but the only way to repair you damaged buggy is to either shoot a specific enemy that carries health or to be lucky enough to gain a health regenerating doohickey from the slot machine.
I played through the main story on easy mode and it took around 5 hours. A short game you may be saying………and you’d be right, but there is replay value to be found. I’m now going through the game again on Hard Mode to get the achievement. Also, the best thing in any game is present here too…..online leaderboards. Replay value is there too, gain higher scores and try to get to the top of the leaderboard.
My time with Pressure Overdrive has been fun and it’s a quirky little game that will keep me coming back for more.
8/10 from me for this little gem.
Code for this review was provided by the developer and as always….we thank you for it.