30 Years of Video Games – Overlord (2007)

I’m waving goodbye to my 20′s and to celebrate I’m counting down 30 games from the last 30 years.  Join me while I countdown 30 great years of game memories.


Overlord is one of the more unique games released this generation.  First appearing on the Xbox 360 and then later in a slightly expanded form on the Playstation 3, Triumph Studios’ action-strategy game gave you control of the titular Overlord as he journeys across the lands to take revenge on those responsible for slaying his predecessor.  Of course he is not alone in his quest and he is accompanied by minions who he can call on to do his bidding.  You have minions with different skills who allow you to progress through levels, navigate treacherous lands, and solve some elementary puzzles, that’s it in a nutshell.  Think Pikmin in a fairytale inspired land and you aren’t too far off the mark.

While the Overlord can fight himself, it’s not very effective, and so your role in the game is little more than commander of the vast army of goblins you have at your disposal.  The different types of minions you find will have different characteristics and in most cases will be required to be called upon to progress.  While the standard brown minions are your battle-ready brutes, the others are less natural warriors and more suited to either ranged attacks, or immune to environmental hazards, again, like Pikmin.  There is a level of satisfaction that comes from unleashing the hordes in Overlord that is unmatched by almost any other game this generation.  Watching your little guys pillage and plunder their way through villages and houses brings out the mega-lo-maniac in anyone, but its watching them come back with the spoils of war that is perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the game, as you amass minions wearing pumpkins, brandishing helmets and swords.  And this stuff isn’t just for show, a kitted-out minion is stronger and more resilient, making it easier to sweep across the land ridding it of your enemies, your horde at your side.

I guess I should mention at this point that you’re the bad guy.

That’s right, the Overlord isn’t the hero of this story, in fact his quest is to slay the heroes that slayed the ultimate evil that preceded him.  Overlord turns the fairytale fantasy genre on its head and the result is a crass and hilarious take on the Pikmin formula.   The result of all of this is that Overlord sits right at the top of my list of games I will likely revisit for many years to come.

Overlord spawned a sequel in 2009 and two spin-offs, Overlord: Dark Legend and Overlord: Minions for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS respectively.


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