What is OverDrive?

28th Jun 2021

Rob Burman

During the Mantic Summer Preview we unveiled our brand-new game, OverDrive! You can watch the live stream below to catch up on what’s happening with Armada, get a first glimpse at the halflings and hear more about OverDrive direct from Rob and Martin. Along with the preview, over the next week we’re going to be lifting the lid on OverDrive to hear what makes it tick and why it’s going to be the next big thing.


Good question and a great place to start! OverDrive is an arena-based sports game set in the futuristic Warpath Universe. You take control of powerful giants that must fight it out in the arena across six very different ‘game modes’ – which we’ll be looking at more closely throughout the week. OverDrive is designed for two players, with each player taking charge of three giants each and matches take around 60-90 minutes… perfect if you want a couple of games during a club night.

OverDrive features alternate activations but you’ve only got four activations per rush (turn). Each of the giants can be activated up to two times, so you’ve got to choose carefully about when you want to activate a particular player and hopefully plan ahead to pull off those important tactical decisions.

The game itself is inspired by the multiplayer modes of various videogames, like TimeSplitters 2 (an aging reference there), Splatoon or Overwatch. As such, the game plays extremely quickly and there are only a few actions that you’ll need to learn when starting to play: movement (running), slamming (hitting your opponent) and ranged attacks (shooting your opponent). This means the rules can be grasped super quick and you can be up and slamming in no time at all!


Where the tactics really come into play is when you start looking at the different abilities of each giant. On the front of the player card, you’ll find the standard stats (e.g. movement, strength, etc.) along with their abilities. Some players, like The Spawn, are great for moving opponents around the pitch, which is key in the standard game mode or just moving someone into position ready for a slam. Others, like Karadon the shark, are better suited to aggressive play and getting stuck into the opposition with potentially lethal slams.

Painted by Studio Giraldez.

As well as their special abilities, each giant also has a signature OverDrive move, which can be found on the back of their card. You can only trigger one of your players’ OverDrive abilities per rush, so choosing the right moment is vital. Once again, the OverDrive abilities vary in type and strength, e.g. Karadon is good at attacking wounded characters, while Synechdoche (the space jellyfish) can actually mind control an opponent and force them to attack a friendly model! Once again, these OverDrive abilities add another layer of tactical play.


In OverDrive you actually play as a coach that travels around the galaxy to different OverDrive arenas. Once you arrive at the arena, you have to choose your players from the available giants. In game terms this means you ‘draft’ your three giants before the game. For example, in the core game you’ll get the following six giants: The Spawn, Brank Reborn, Synechdoche, Skarathron, Dozer and Karadon.

In the basic drafting rules, you line these models up alongside the arena and then each coach takes it in turns to choose a giant – until both coaches have got three models. This is a really fun way to mix up the teams and means you’re never quite sure what team you’ll have to play with. It’s also great for taking to your local club and letting each person choose the team based on the models they think look cool.

However, there are also some advanced drafting rules for more experienced coaches. In the advanced rules you create your own line-up of six players and place them on your side of the board. Each coach then takes it in turns to select a giant from their own line-up. The interesting element is that if, for example, both coaches have Dozer in their line-up, only one coach can choose to use Dozer in that game. The first coach to choose Dozer means the other coach can no longer select her.

The drafting mechanic means that it’s very hard to create those potentially ‘broken’ lists with really nasty combinations of giants because you can never guarantee you’ll be able to play the same team time and time again. Instead, you’ll need a decent understanding of how all six of your giants can play and their potential advantages or disadvantages.

Hopefully today’s blog has given you a decent overview of the basics of OverDrive. Across the rest of this week we’ll be covering: the basic actions, a closer look at the arena. the different game modes and league play. OverDrive will be available this September – and is going straight to retail – but we’ll be opening up pre-orders from next week. So stay tuned for more details about what’s available at launch and some sexy pre-order exclusives.