Overload Demo: New Shooter From Descent Creators

The folks who co-created Descent in the ’90s have released a playable demo of Overload [official site], their spiritual successor to the fine zero-gravity spaceship shooter series. With less than three days left on their Kickstarter campaign, they’re just over half-way to their $300,000 goal (£210k-ish).

“Er, Alice,” you interrupt, “I’m not being funny, but didn’t they Kickstart a new Descent last year? It’s already out on Early Access? People say it’s pretty fun?” Yyyes. Sort of. While Descent: Underground does have the name, licensed from withered husk of publishers Interplay, the initial team was folks who’d never worked on Descent. So! How would Descent’s creators do Descent today? Have a play and see.

Like Descent, Overload is a first-person shooter with a spaceship going inside tight, twisting places (with six degrees of freedom) to zap naughty robots.

You can download the demo in a zip file for 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows flavours (the full game is due on Mac and Linux too, but the demo’s in testing on those platforms) or get it through Steam. It’s got three levels: one small room to get used to 6DoF controls, one ‘challenge’ level which seems to be survival against respawning robots, and one ye olde ‘escape the mine’ scenario. The bit I played, yep, was like how I remember Descent. Developers Revival Productions say:

“We’ve put his demo together in a hurry, and though we’ve done as much as we can to make it perfect, it still has some rough edges. And of course we’re still very early in development — we’re showing off a few sample levels and some cool weapons and robots, but there’s lots and lots more to come.”

I wasn’t trying to dismiss Descent: Underground, by the way. Player reviews from Early Access release are mostly positive and pretty encouraging for the full release. Anyway, the two are up to different things – Underground is focused on multiplayer, while Overload is focused on singleplayer and will add multiplayer after launch.

If the Overload demo tickles your fancy, hey, time’s running out for the Kickstarter. As ever with crowdfunded games, pledges include copies of the finished games and all sorts of gubbins.


  1. Menthalion says:

    Curious to see if the singleplayer crowd will put their money where there mouth is.

    • Caiman says:

      We already did, when D:U decided to offer a single player campaign as well.

  2. haldolium says:

    I think the greatest indicator for this game was that it took my brain about 59 nanoseconds to put the word “Descent” in connection to the news picture. Instant reminder of the design (even though the colors are all wrong).

    Hope its good, the other “Descent” was kind of “meh” when first launched… won’t give it another try until a year or two have passed.

    • Xeme says:

      If you have not tried the demo, it really feels like Descent as well — but, not at all in a way that is aged =)

      • haldolium says:

        Fuck yeah! I just tried it, its amazing.

        The entire feedback, the weapon/sound design surpasses already my wildest dreams.

        This is awesome, feels like true Descent with proper use of effects and stuff. A great pleasure to play

        • Spongbo says:

          They’re SO CLOSE NOW – $23K in 6 hours!

          I just upped my pledge as far as I’m prepared to go.

          Hopefully they’ll use a similar-to-D1 shareware model, release something that gets people excited about it, then charge for more.

          (Though I remember hearing D1 shareware (7-8 levels?) was too generous, so D2’s was curtailed to 3.)

          Can. Not. Wait. Feels really, really good.

  3. Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

    FYI, the demo/prototype is available for Linux and Mac as well: link to kickstarter.com

    The post is for backers only, but I thoroughly recommend backing, as the demo itself is as much fun as I’ve had with a 6DOF shooter since the original Descent itself!

  4. deadfolk says:

    Yeah, I came off of a Kickstarter hiatus for this one, before they even announced the demo. I got a chance to play a few minutes earlier today, and I have to say, I’m very optimistic.

  5. Caiman says:

    I backed both this and D:U, and while I wish the D:U guys the best with their project, it just doesn’t feel like Descent. It’s a different beast. Overload, however, is definitely Descent. It’s what I wanted from the beginning. That teaser is spectacular. Currently trying to improve on my 24 kills on Hard Challenge mode.

  6. Xeme says:

    Time is running out, but it is not “out” yet! Please support the kickstarter if you want Overload to survive!

  7. Unsheep says:

    Finally some consideration paid to single-player gamers, feels like we’re a dying breed…the game seems fun though.

  8. Tempus Fugit says:

    Descent: Underground is pretty and there might be a chance that it’ll turn into something good, but there’s barely any reason to play it in, unless you like multiplayer. This Overload demo is 100% better and I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing this way more until Underground gets its act together.

    • Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

      Absolutely agree. Underground feels a bit lifeless at the moment, whereas Overload already has great design, sound design and AI for the bots; it feels like a proper game even now.

  9. rmsquires says:

    So jazzed for this. My favorite game series ever.