Title: Mass for the Dead
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Reviewed On: iOS
Publisher: Crunchy Roll Games
Look, I love Isekai anime as much as the next person. But for some reason, Overlord never seemed to catch my attention. Sure, there seem to be plenty of waifus and action sequences, but I’ve yet to get invested in its narrative.
However, that didn’t stop me from playing Mass for the Dead, a game developed by Exys based in the Overlord universe. Sadly, the game does nothing to stand out in the sea of gacha games available, but the silver lining is that it got me interested in the anime.
Mass for the Dead’s story evolves across updates where players can play a few chapters until they have to wait until more are added. The game offers a narrative that is completely standalone from the anime, which is suitable for those who haven’t watch the show.
The story revolves around a popular MMORPG known as Yggdrasil approaching its final days before the servers shut down. One player called Momonga decides to stay logged in during the game’s final moments but ends up finding himself stuck in the game (like every other Isekai). As the NPC’s of the world begin developing their own personalities and thoughts, Momonga takes his skills and knowledge of the game to navigate the unknown dangers ahead of him.
Players take on the role of a homunculus NPC who gains sentience and helps Momonga along the way. The character interactions are charming and offer a nice layer of immersion, which was nice, considering this was my first time learning about this world. The game is exceptionally forgiving to newcomers but still offers a few nods to longtime fans through character dialogue and set pieces.
While the story is relatively engaging thanks to its endearing cast of characters, the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. You get what you usually expect out of a gacha RPG. You can bring four characters into a battle, each with different abilities to take down enemies throughout the main campaign—pretty standard stuff.
The reason I’m so unenthused is that it’s so dull to look at and even play compared to similar games. The battle system is slimmed down to the point where you don’t have to put any thought into an encounter. It’s the bare minimum of what you’d call an RPG. Press attack or an ability a couple of times and hope it kills an enemy. There’s no real thought that players need to put into these systems to yield a victory, it just sort of happens, but it doesn’t feel rewarding.
Other gacha games take a more interesting approach at this, such as 7 Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, where players need to utilize a card system that switches up the battles. At the very least, Overlord: Mass for the Dead could bump up the difficulty level for the encounters. Even Sword Art Online: Alicization Rising Steel, which basically has the same format for battles, can become difficult even on the normal settings.
Overlord: Mass for the Dead ends up coming up short with any kind of variety, interesting gameplay, or anything interesting to do. The 2D art is decent as it’s taken directly from the anime, but the actual 3D models of your team and enemies have this weird chibi aesthetic to them, which is extremely offputting.
Furthermore, the backgrounds during fights aren’t exactly anything to marvel at either. Even the special abilities you would assume to have great visuals leave me saying, “…That’s it?” The UI here has a dated look to is, which ends resembling something more in line with retro RPGs that doesn’t fit this game’s tone.
Unfortunately, staying in line with doing the bare minimum, there are side missions and co-op missions you can take on to gather additional materials used to level up your team. But again, there’s not a lot here that other gacha RPGs haven’t done in more unique ways. This is ultimately when I felt like it was time to play something else.
I was getting no satisfaction from quests or from the reward systems. It felt like I was being locked out of certain aspects of the gameplay, but it ended up being all the game had to offer. I should also point out that the multiplayer lobbies were empty. At max, I’ve seen eight lobbies open to join at once. No guilds, no intense PVP modes, nothing.
The future of the game holds new story updates, including anime tie-in events, but whether anyone is still playing by then is yet to be seen. I might return only because it took my 68 rerolls to pull a Momonga, who is currently the best 5-star character. However, I assure you I won’t be having fun; I just feel compelled to after the amount of effort that I’ve already put in.
Mass for the Dead shows us the least amount of work that a developer could do to release a licensed gacha game. Fans of the series should be wise to stay away and focus on the anime and manga if their itching to throw money at the franchise. There is nothing of substance here, which is upsetting after hearing so many good things about the anime that it’s based on. Speaking of which, I’ll continue my binge of the seasons rather than write more about this game.
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