Overkill hit the Android Market late last week and is a side scrolling shoot 'em up. On a side note, it claims to support App2SD and actually does. For some reason, I'm seeing several games in the Market claim to support that, but when I pull them down no such luck. If anyone has any ideas or information as to why this might be I'm all ears. Given that I'm running a stock Droid with Android 2.2 with 13 GB left on my SD card I have to think it's got something to do with the developers of these apps. I digress...
So, in Overkill you've got a big, honking space ship and many missions (20, I think) to complete. Each level has a written objective and optional side objectives, but you are warned that sometimes you're just not going to complete the main objective without doing the extras. And that comment about the big, honking space ship? It's a bit of a joke having read many of the comments in the Android Market. I, personally, don't think the ship is too big... after all its size is actually what contributes to the game's difficulty and that seems to be very well balanced. Never mind the fact that a ship with shields, cannons, missiles, etc has to have somewhere to store all of this fire power.
The game's graphics are very good and it's nice that there are actually options to scale back on the graphics for lower end Android devices. That's something the less professional developers do not do. The audio is also nice both from the musical accompaniment and the in game explosions and effects. And the controls... you can choose between tilt and keyboard/DPad controls. I first tried the game with tilt, but that just never feels good to me for any arcade shoot 'em ups such as this one. I'm sure that part of that feeling is that I was raised using an Atari joystick. Even the migration to a Nintendo Gamepad from the original 2600 style joystick was difficult. In this game tilt works about as well as I could expect, but I'm grateful that keyboard/DPad support is included. When using keyboard support you can choose between two different layouts. I don't know why I can't assign my own keys as that seems like a natural way to configure this, but one of the two choices worked well for me with the DPad on the right and the game felt much better.
The game features four skill levels. I always play on easy because I'm horrible at these twitch arcade games, and that did allow me to start working my way through the missions. I then ramped the game up to Extreme difficulty and, sure enough, I was obliterated pretty quickly. The main change is more along the lines of asteroids being harder to destroy and armor power-ups giving less replenishment versus enemies moving at blindingly fast speeds. In essence they've just made the game less forgiving on the more challenging difficulty levels.
The game itself starts with an intro to the current mission along with your objectives. In the case of the first one it's to look around (i.e. just make it to the end of the level) with side missions of collecting as many red and blue gems as you can. Red and blue gems equate to cash which will let you buy more powerful weapons. You're then off and blasting away... and you're ship is ALWAYS blasting. I generally don't like the whole auto-fire game play mechanism and have voiced that in some of my other reviews. But here they do something different... I may be firing away, but I also have three buttons controlling my shields, missiles, and other weaponry. Consequently, I still have to tap buttons to fire my guided missiles and use my shields at the most opportune times and that's always been my ultimate problem with such games... I want to be doing more than just moving left and right. Once missiles are fired or shields burned they take some time to replenish before you're back in business and can utilize them again. Icons at the bottom right of the screen keep you apprised of their status. Each level also has some boss type enemies as well. So far rushing over, powering up the shields, and blasting away has served me well. You also need to keep an eye on your ship's strength. There's a lot going on and that's how it should be in this type of game. Playing this game is an enjoyable juggling act.
Overkill is a very high quality game. It's also nice to have a side scroller in this under represented category on the Android Market. I think one of the reasons some of these old arcade games don't do well on the Android is because of the availability of emulators. Personally, I'll fall back on many classic, emulated games for an arcade rush as most of the games in the Market still can't beat them. This is one that does... easily. 5/5 stars.