V.O.I.D. Review – DeV.O.I.D. of objectivity
We’ve all been there: there’s a day in every young boy and every young girl’s life, at least those with a Nintendo Switch, where curiosity starts to form, and the opportunity provided by a distracted parent is enough that they notice the Nintendo Points they have can be used on games. And even though the account isn’t their own, surely mum or dad won’t miss “just” 99 golden points. You know what I’m talking about. The cause of many stern lectures: games redeemed with Nintendo Golden points. Enter: V.O.I.D.
It’s an impulse… And no, it’s not a weapon!
Games that are cheap, very often discounted to a ridiculous degree (I’m in Europe so I never saw anything below 69 cents, but I hear they can get into pennies in the US), and not overly long tend to not have any opinions formed by people on the eShop. That’s because they’re games meant to be purchased at an impulse and join the backlog, which to most gamers means those games will never get played. V.O.I.D. changed that for me.
Coming as I did from PlayStation 4 and adding a Nintendo Switch as a second system, the fact that you could save up and eventually purchase games by buying other games was astounding to me. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars of games, so perhaps I would have been better served saving those hundreds of Nintendo points for a steep discount on a major first party title. But the truth is, like those curious boys and girls, I too fell prey to impulses and got a dozen or so games I had never heard of. Even as I added new games to my collection digitally (Super Mario Odyssey was a recent one), those games were so small they remained installed in my micro-SD card, ignored.
So when on one morning I decided to try V.O.I.D. because I was bored, I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed it. In fact, I loved it so much I’ve completed it over 4 times in 3 days.
V.O.I.D (but not bad)
So what is V.O.I.D. exactly? That’s a question that might be on your lips as you roll your eyes at my overly long descriptions on how I decided to boot up the game. Well, to answer that question that may or may not be in your lips, I’ll have to compare it to one game: Mega Man.
V.O.I.D. is an homage to the 8-bit run-and-gun style of games such as Mega Man, which is the game that it takes the most influence from. Through 8 worlds, each with either 3 or 4 stages, you’ll travel through sandy deserts, the depth of the ocean, icy pits and paths even more treacherous. You must jump, dash, shoot and collect the crystals to defeat the generic and obligatory bad guy. The plot doesn’t really matter here as it’s as paper thin and inconsequential as they come, which to be fair, fits into this kind of game.
Although the retro throwbacks are plentiful, and as good a game as Mega Man is, simply echoing past games won’t lead to an instantly good game, which was something the developers were aware of because they implemented innovation to make game feel fresh. The main defined characteristic of the game is that it has two player characters, which though they have names, were registered in my mind as “the boy character” and “the girl one.” The boy is slower but has hit points, being able to be hit more than once, and he has a weapon that he can charge and or shoot. He’s the Mega Man of the game, and his slow, precise controls and ranged attacks make him ideal for beginners. The girl character is the opposite; a glass cannon, she’s fast but doesn’t carry any sort of weapon.
“So how does she attack?” you might be wondering. After all, if she doesn’t carry any sort of weapon (not even a sword), then surely her game consists of dodging the enemies? Not quite! Unlike traditional Mega Man games where an enemy touching you hurts you, V.O.I.D. makes the curious decision of allowing you to jump on top of enemies like Mario. It’s a curious decision but one that works rather well, as despite the numerous comparisons I’ve made to Mega Man, the game pays tribute to a variety of other titles and limitations of the era. The boy character (I didn’t test this with the girl character) breaking blocks with his head just like a certain plumber makes perfect sense, just like the game lacking a save feature, forcing you to take a screenshot of the color password like an old Mega Drive or Super Nintendo game.
Ultimately, not every decision in V.O.I.D. is as well thought out, and not everything works out for the best. There’s a certain casualness with the game which makes me think this was not some cynically designed, budgeted to the extreme game, but rather a developer having fun and revisiting their childhood. Some might think the game bland or amateurish, but to me, it’s endearing, and for a small scale project meant to throw me back to the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo era, one I experienced with hand me downs from my older brother… well, it succeeded. And much like how double jumping broke the norms of the time, let me break through expectations by saying that yes, V.O.I.D. is worth the asking price, even if it was free for me.
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Reviewed by Mcportugalem on the Nintendo Switch.