A new UTV and ATV racing from Bigben Interactive couldn’t have come at a better time for offroad enthusiasts who are starting to get cabin fever. With concerns about COVID-19 causing offroad parks to close, UTV events and races to cancel and states announcing shelter in place mandates, Overpass may just be the entertainment that UTV enthusiasts need while many of us are staying home.
Overpass isn’t your typical racing simulator. You are placed in challenging offroad environments and just like in real life, wide open throttle is not always the best choice. You will deal with hard pack dirt, loose sand, deep mud and water crossings. You will be tested by steep hill climbs, huge rocks, off camber side hilling, along with man-made obstacles like pipes and artificially placed logs. This is a racing game that will require strategy, picking the best lines, knowing when to feather the throttle and when to hit it with everything you’ve got.
Overpass features several different environments for gameplay. You can test your skills along the coast line, which generally features loose soil and man-made obstacles. You can take on challenges within wooded areas that feature compact dirt, mud, rocks and steep climbs. Also, you can try to conquer the desert, which features some of the toughest rocks in the game, along with sand and plenty of off camber riding.
You have a great selection of UTVs at your disposal as well. Vehicles from Polaris, including the Pro XP, XP 1000 Rock and Trails Edition, RS1 and the RZR XP Turbo S are all realistically modeled in the game. Arctic Cat is well represented with the Havoc and several Wildcat models, including the Wildcat XX. Yamaha makes an appearance as well with the YXZ1000R, along with an upgraded version by S3 Powersports. The models are available regardless of which version of the game you purchase, but some are locked until you get certain achievements. Add on packs and deluxe versions of the game can unlock them earlier if you so choose. We chose the Day One edition, which unlucked the XP Turbo S Red Bull UTV, along with the corresponding driver safety equipment such as helmets and firesuits.
Red Bull? Yes, that’s correct. In career mode you can get sponsors. Sponsors get you products to upgrade your rig faster and cheaper. You start out on stock platforms and go race. How you do in each race builds up your reputation in the sport. The better you do, the more sponsors you have to choose from and the better products you are able to get. There are upgrades available for your engine, transmission, chassis, etc. They can give you more torque, more speed, a stronger chassis and more.
Will you need a stronger chassis? The answer is yes. Even if you make near flawless runs, your UTV is still taking on wear and tear from racing in these extreme environments and it’s going to cost you money to repair the damage. If the damage is too great, you will be forced to use another UTV for the next race while your preferred rig is down for repairs. The general rule is anything more than 25% damage will require you to use another vehicle for a round unless you have a quick fix pack, but those are very limited. Money to repair usually isn’t a problem though because the payouts for races is significantly higher than the real world of UTV racing and you don’t have to worry about those pesky entry fees and travel budgets!
The physics of the game are as realistic as anything attempted for an offroad game so far on a gaming platform. As previously mentioned, you’re going to have to carefully choose your lines and learn throttle control to make it through many courses. There are time penalties for going off course and missing obstacles. You will be frustrated by seemingly impossible hill climbs and huge boulders. However, part of the fun in the game is trying to figure out how to conquer that obstacle. The game developers are not rewarding you for just mashing the skinny pedal and hoping for the best. One slight complaint about the game physics is that the UTVs have an occasional cartoonish float feel to them in the same manner as you get games that aren’t driving simulators. There has already been one patch released that supposedly makes this better than pre-release beta versions of the game, but we’re hoping this is improved even further in future patches.
Overpass takes on the challenges of the game from three different viewpoints. You can drive with the camera behind the vehicle, in the cab or with the viewpoint of the very front of your UTV. Behind the vehicle is the easiest of the three because you have a better view of the terrain. The in cab view is the most realistic though. A downside to the views of the game is that you currently cannot sweep the camera view to the left or right, so sometimes it is difficult to get a sense of your current surroundings. This could have been an omission by the developers to keep within a budget or it is possible that they’re restricting side to side camera movement to more realistically replicate the use of safety equipment like helmets and neck restraints in a race situation and how that equipment limits your field of vision. Something to think about next time you’re watching a race and say “Hey, that was easy!” It’s not for those of us racing in real life!
On our wishlist for the game, one downfall is that it doesn’t have much of an open world in terms of gameplay environments. You do have the option of playing in the “Sandbox”, which is a larger open area with every type of obstacle that you will come across in the game. While the area is fairly large, it won’t take too long to explore. It is a good place to build your skills however. This is another area we’re hoping to see expanded in later patches for the game.
We give the same a solid four out of five stars. Overall, Overpass is a great first attempt at a dedicated UTV game. The vehicle renderings are great, the environments are solid, though not breathtaking and the game tries to be as realistic as possible. Having a steering wheel controller does make the game a bit easier, but is still a ton of fun on standard handheld controllers. There are some clumsy physics at times and some frustrating courses, along with a steeper learning curve than typical mash the throttle driving games. However, the more you learn how to drive the UTV you choose, the more you appreciate the difficulty of the game.