Full disclosure: review copy provided by developer/publisher!
I'm going to preface this review with what I think Early Access should mean. Then I'm going to tell you what "Undead Overlord" is. Early Access should be a title that, while unpolished and lacking features, is a fun experience that feels... nearly complete. Like a game that can stand on its own with maybe a little asterisk. And throughout its developmental process it should only improve, getting polished and expanded. Good examples of this are "Kerbal Space Program," "Sunless Sea," "Prison Architect..." the list goes on. Then they're released into the full-release wild, like "Betrayer" and "Sir, You are Being Hunted."
That is the expected and desired life cycle of all things Early Access. And let me add this: I think Early Access is not above criticism - even downright damnation. If a game is bad, it's bad. I'm not giving it leeway because "it isn't done yet." If you're selling a product, finished or not, I'm going to criticize it. People think criticizing Early Access is tantamount to punching a baby. I don't agree with that. Especially when the game is 30 minutes of content with an intended additional 60 minutes of content.
This game is bad. Objectively. It is a fact, like how old the universe is, how its heat death is inevitable, and how St. Paul, Minnesota is the happiest place on Earth (full disclosure: I've never been to St. Paul, Minnesota). Firstly let's address the graphics, arguably the least important feature (especially for an RTS). I feel that you have three options when developing a game: you can go the technically impressive route, the artistic route, or a wonderful fusion of both. "Undead Overlord" decided on the fourth, controversial option of terrible. This is pretty ugly. There is no artistic merit here. This is not fun to look at. This is like staring at the sun; it will cause inevitable blindness, madness, and is wholly inadvisable. It is jagged, blocky, muted, and utterly painful to look at. The levels are barren (particularly the one skirmish level). The character models look like the tourists in a "RollerCoaster Tycoon" game. I know graphics aren't that important at the end of the day, but you still have to stare at this for hours on end.
Gameplay is the real meat of any good game sandwich. Unfortunately for you, "Undead Overlord" features a single, suspicious slice of green bologna. You select your zombie, click on a target, and he runs over to jankily smack him or her around until they collapse into a pool of blood, resurrecting to join your dead ensemble or providing a snack for health and strength. Interesting concept, yes. But it's shallow and not fun. You're just clicking your increasingly unruly horde at dwindling townspeople and first responders until there's nothing left. Then you're on to the next of three levels. You'll blast through these in... five, ten minutes (the levels are small and same-y)? But don't worry, the developers plan on adding six more! That's roughly an hour and a half of entertainment potentially! And if they meet some unspecified monetary goal they're going to add such exciting features as MULTIPLAYER, HUMAN CAMPAIGN, and MAP EDITOR.
The AI is nonexistent. They react to your presence (sometimes) but don't expect them to seek you out or patrol of their own volition. This is a very one-sided RTS. The aforementioned skirmish level really shines a light on this. The level design on the single skirmish level is also pretty bland, featuring nothing but room after room stuffed with an assortment of humans and/or dog corpses.
So that's it. That's "Undead Overlord." It feels and plays like an iOS game. The trailer is admittedly cool looking, as is the concept. But I didn't see that game when I played. I'm not picking on this game or the developers. I just don't want you to be burned. This is not worth your hard-earned cash or time. When you can buy complete games for less than this, and when you can purchase Early Access titles more polished than this, what's the incentive? Do you like to gamble? To live dangerously? "Undead Overlord" is about as fun as staring into the sun. Some might disagree, shouting in disbelief while staring till their eyes melt out of their skulls. But you and me? We'll just keep walking, sunglasses on and eyes fixed squarely ahead.