Pikmin for Us Old Kids

As with any top ten list, there are always going to be those things where you say, “How did I miss that one?” Yesterday’s entry, Etrian Odyssey, might have been one of those games for you. Today’s might also fit the bill. I wouldn’t have been able to play it without having a Gametap subscription for most of 2007. And really, that’s an excuse for me to tell you that Gametap is still the best value in games.

Gametap has recently improved the service by offering an easy way to cancel as well as new payment options. I think one year of Gametap is worth more than one year of Xbox Live, though I do continue paying for that service too. You get access to nearly 1000 games including console and PC titles that span many years. Some of the games offered are among the best in their particular genre, or contain great gameplay that is timeless. If I didn’t still try to keep up with the most current games to stay as informed as I possibly can about this hobby, I could entertain myself with a Gametap subscription alone for an entire year and probably beyond.

So thanks to Gametap for giving me the chance to play my number nine game of 2007. Click through for the choice!

Overlord 

9. Overlord

Have you played Nintendo’s most original Gamecube game, Pikmin? If not, then you’re going to find Overlord even more compelling than I did.

One of the things that I enjoy in all videogames is an ability to control lots of little dudes. It’s those little dudes that follow your orders without care that provide that feeling of control over the environment you often can’t get anywhere outside of gaming. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always been a fan of real-time strategy. Not only do you get to command the little dudes in real-time strategy games, you also get to build just the little dudes you want!

Overlord takes little dude control into the stratosphere with some funny and often ridiculous little dudes. These minions are at your beck and call. They’ll attack what you want them to and then grab up the goodies left behind. As a (mostly) evil overlord, why should you have to get your hands dirty? That’s what little dudes are for. Some tasks might require a certain amount of little dudes. You send them on their way and let them do their thing. As you get deeper into the game, the little dudes come in new varieties that let you do new things.

I probably would have Overlord higher on my list if it wasn’t so closely copying the formula of Nintendo’s Pikmin. Then again, hardly anyone has copied that particular game’s design, so Overlord still feels mostly fresh and exciting. The game’s marketing made it seem like you were able to be a really evil overlord, but you have to work pretty hard to be that mean in the game. That’s sort of appealing to me, though, because I rarely want to be the truly bad guy. Overlord has some nifty gameplay mechanics and is overflowing with humor and playful energy.

I’m a little disappointed that it seems to have been so overlooked, especially given the great pedigree of the developer Triumph Studios (makers of the Age of Wonders games). Fortunately Gametap got it a couple weeks after its retail release, so I didn’t miss out. If you can’t find it on the shelves, that’s a great way to give Overlord a try, and you’ll get nearly 1000 other games to play too.

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