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Freeware Garden: OverPowered

One of the many things that impressed me about Psychonauts all those years ago was the fact that it was funny in a way only a video game could be. That it used its medium and our expectations thereof to make the kind of jokes that, say, film could never really pull off.

Still, Psychonauts was first and foremost a game, whereas OverPowered is one elaborate joke wrapped around an insanely difficult platformer.

The seemingly erratic movement of all the things that can kill you, the pathetically underpowered protagonist, the hardest beginning stage since Manic Miner, the dead bodies from earlier attempts that remain on screen, old sage Master Toh, promises of an epic boss battle and even the lovely pixel-art graphics are all part of one elaborate joke. A joke I will most definitely not spoil for you and a joke that supports a series of silly little moments before its punchline is delivered.

Of course, braving the mysterious Pit of True Heroes is also fun in and of itself. In a traditional, gaming way that requires fast reflexes and all the action gaming skill you can muster to navigate complex enemy patterns and reveal another level of humour. Judging by my wife’s reactions, apparently seeing someone fuming and cursing over OverPowered while managing a few dozen deaths a minute is a hilarious thing to watch.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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