Sunset Overdrive review: bold and brash fun to show off the power of the Xbox One

£49.99; Xbox One; Insomniac Games

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The Independent Tech

There are times during the playing of Sunset Overdrive when you forget to do something vital: breathe. Developer Insomniac has created a relentless, high-tempo Xbox One exclusive that has one eye firmly engaged in a knowing, smart-ass wink to the audience and the other fixed squarely on the unfolding action.

There is seldom a moment to rest; this acid-trip of a game compelling you to run around and check out everything it has to offer. Oh, there's a candy-colour explosion of monsters over there. Right, now there's car bonnet I really want to be bouncing off and a zip wire that would be a handy escape. Got to keep moving. Fast pace; fast pace.

And it's brilliant fun, right from the off. You're told that Sunset City has been consumed by monsters who are high on FizzCo sugar drinks. But with barely time to digest any facts, the play mechanics zanily kick in to such a degree that you start to feel you need to down a Sunny D or three yourself to get to the end.

For any chance of survival, you really need to amass new weapons and perfect your acrobatic, wall-running techniques. You need to tap a two-button combo at the right time to get across grind rails and staying on your toes is vital to blast away, from a third-person perspective, at the nasties that come at you.


In your haste to get going, you may button press through the character customisation (rather hating the hassle of it) but don't: it's a nice attention to detail. So too is the comedy element; this a game played for laughs. It grates at time with the fourth wall broken on numerous occasions but it's fleeting enough to be welcome. Besides, you're only thinking of one thing: to get across the city unimpeded.

When you are on a roll, you can feel your anxiety levels rise as you become afraid of making a mistake. But, thankfully, it doesn't make you shy away from the task. So even though a mission may want to prescribe a route, you really want to go off the beaten track a little and you feel in control as a consequence. Your game, your rules in a sense.

There are some issues. The controls can be a little tricky especially when you're hoping to find a certain weapon and start fumbling for it. There are no puzzles to solve either so anyone wanting to use their brain should walk away (or just get into the swing of hopping around this expansive sandbox world). But it's a collector's dream with items all over the landscape, ready to be picked up.

It is also beautiful, a testament to the power of the Xbox One with its bright and flash visuals. Sure it's dumb. And yes it's brash. But with looks, personality and a keen sense of style, what's not to love?