Throwback Thursday: The Void
Throwback Thursday: The Void
The Void is different, but does it work? Is it fun to play? I would have to say, “Yes.”
Posted: 04/27/17 | Category: Review | Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge | Publisher: BitComposer Mamba Games ( Europe) Steam (Worldwide Distribution) | Platform: Windows

Note: This review was originally posted October 17, 2009

Where will you go when you die? Will you become an angel on a cloud playing a harp? Or will you go to Valhalla and party until Ragnarök? Well, it doesn't really matter because according to bitComposer no matter where you are going, you must first make a stop in The Void.

The Void (the place, not the game) is a sort of halfway house between the planes of existence. If you do well here, you may return to life. If you fail, you continue on to permanent death.

The Void was once the abode of an Artist. He created a beautiful collection of chambers filled with buildings and gardens. He populated it with Sisters to care for it. And then he left.

Once the Artist was gone, color began to drain from the chambers. But color is also life in the Void and the Sisters became weak. Evil creatures came in from Chaos to feed on the unprotected color. Brothers came to protect and use the Sisters, but they could not provide color. And then you arrived.

The Void is now a dark and gloomy place. Almost all color is gone - there is only the occasional sickly flower. The Sisters hide themselves and cling to what little color they have left. The gardens could grow color, but they have no life. Color could be mined from the caves, but it's too weak to see and gather.

If only you could fill your empty hearts with color, you could return to the land of the living. If only you could restore color to all the Sisters, you might not want to leave.

The Void (the game, not the place) is a Resource Management Game, like Warcraft 2 or Starcraft. You start with very limited resources (color) which you must use wisely to harvest more color, strengthen yourself, feed your friends and defeat your enemies. That much is straight forward, but Ice-Pick Lodge have added some original twists which make this a new and unique game.

First, you will notice from the screen shots that the chambers are very dark. You will probably want to play this game with the lights turned off. But once your eyes get used to it, the graphics are beautiful. Movement is full 3D using the classic WASD keys to move, mouse to aim and space bar to hop. The artistry is top notch and you will relish the opportunity to explore.

The background music is beautiful and moody. The voice acting is superb. There is nothing here to detract from your immersion into the game.

But it is the game play where The Void really shines. This is not a simple Save-Up-to-Buy-the-Next-Item scenario. There is a richness and complexity to the environment which will require you to carefully consider each of your decisions.

Take a look at the screen shot of the gray man with what appear to be clumps of grapes on either side of the screen. This is your “camera obscura,” or dark room. Every character in the game has his/her own and it is here where you can directly interact with a character. Those bulbous “grapes” on either side are actually hearts. There are also hearts inside your body.

When ever you collect some color, it goes into one of the hearts on the right hand side. Each heart can hold up to 100 units of its color. But you can do nothing with this raw color while it remains there. It must be processed. From your camera obscura you can transfer some color from the right hand heart to your own heart where it will give you life. You start off the game by placing one heart inside your body. There are a total of twenty to find. Each heart can hold a different color.

When you leave a chamber, you enter the Void. This is the only way to travel between chambers. You can see this in the screen shot which looks like a collection of globs all interconnected by ropes – almost like fat nerve cells. Two things happen while you are in the Void: time passes and color gradually leaves your heart(s) and enters the hearts which were on the left side of your camera obscura. There it becomes precious “Nerva” which is the only resource you have for interacting with your environment. But beware, if all of the color leaves your heart(s) you will die. So enter the Void, get the job done and leave and soon as you can.

Once you are back in a chamber, there are many things you can do with “Nerva”

~Travel to another chamber from within the Void

~Talk to a Sister

~Give some Nerva to a Sister

~Reanimate a tree so that it will grow more color for you, but you will not be able to harvest until the next cycle

~Attack an enemy. You can harvest color from a defeated enemy, but only during the next cycle

~Empower a mine so that you can harvest the color from it

~Activate a trap for a Brother

Notice how several things required you to wait until the next cycle before you could harvest the color. But time only passes while you are in the Void. It will take several well planned trips to safely allow a cycle to pass.

You interact with your environment by using your Nerva to paint specific patterns known as Glyphs. The first Glyph you have access to allows you to transfer Nerva to another object, say to a Sister or to reanimate a tree. Additional Glyphs will defend you, attack your enemies or help you in the mines. The more Nerva you use to create the Glyph, the more powerful its effect. You gain access to a new Glyph with each new heart you acquire.

Now if all of this weren't complicated enough, there is yet one more variable you must consider. Each color has its own property. Gold is the color of Trust. Green is the color of Defense. And so on. Using different colors in the same situation can lead to different effects.

Sound overwhelming? Not to worry. The game comes with a nice users manual which explains many of the details. The first Sister will then guide you through her set of chambers to introduce you to the basics of game play. After that, the rest should be fun to discover.

The Void is different, but does it work? Is it fun to play? I would have to say, “Yes.” While the mechanics are different, they are consistent. The pacing is good and while there is the occasional action sequence where you must confront an enemy, there is still lots of exploration and discovery. If you enjoy games such as Warcraft 2 or, to a lesser extent, Tower Defense games, then you will enjoy this game.

I give The Void a solid “A” for innovation and delivering it in the highest professional manner.

Final Grade: A

System Requirements:

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows© XP-SP2/Vista
  • Processor: Intel Pentium © 4 2GHz/AMD Athlon 2000+ (Dual Core recommended)
  • RAM: 512 MB (1 GB recommended)
  • Graphic Card: GeForce FX 5600 128MB/ATI Radeon 9600 128 MB With Shader Model 3.0 or higher (recommended: nVidia GeForce 7600 /ATI Radeon X800 256 MB)
  • 8-speed-DVD-Rom-drive
  • Disk Space: 6GB
  • DirectX 9.0c compatible soundcard

 

Specials from Digital Download
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