Developer: inkle Ltd.
Release Date: June 2, 2021
Overboard! is a bit of a backwards murder mystery. It’s not a whodunnit – you did it after all – but a whocouldadunnit as you unravel the mysteries of the other passengers on the ship to figure out who can be blamed, and who is going to help you get away with killing your husband. It’s best to go avoid walkthroughs for this one – the point is not to succeed on your first try, but to pull at the different threads to see how it all shakes out until you manage to pull off the perfect crime.
Your first playthrough is almost definitely going to result in you going to jail. That’s okay. You’ll be able to try again, taking with you the things you learned from your last run. Everyone else will do things exactly as they had before – only your character can change things up. If you visit a location early enough, you can prevent an important clue from being found. If you’re in the right spot at the right time, you may be able to use your charms to convince someone to help you, or perhaps you’ll be able to blackmail them into silence. It might take a few runs before you actually get away with murder, but as long as you switch up something each time you play, you’ll learn something new and – just maybe – be able to twist that to your advantage.
It took me three attempts to avoid getting thrown in jail, and seven before I got away clean, with someone else taking the fall for my crime, with a total play time of just over 90 minutes. There are still quite a few alternate routes I could explore, and more achievements to unlock, but the retail price is a little steep for a game that can be beaten (without any sort of out of game information) in such a short period of time.
Still, I enjoyed Overboard! quite a bit; every little bit of information I managed to stumble across made me feel clever, and as I finished each play through, I was eager to dive back in, armed with new clues about how to get away with it. Despite already having “won”, there are a few more things I’d like to try, just to see how they play out, and the short time per run (mine averaged between 10 and 15 minutes) means that “just one more time” isn’t overly tedious or a big commitment.
SteamDB estimates that Overboard! has sold somewhere between 6,100 and 16,700 copies on Steam. Reviews are mostly positive, with detractors mainly citing how quickly you can see everything it has to offer as a point against it. I personally appreciate a game that doesn’t overstay its welcome, but agree that $15 might be a little high for the amount of content. It is ranked 730 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.