An Old School Arcade Platformer Adventure

V.O.I.D. is taking you back to the glarious 8- and 16-bit era, adds modern tech and fresh mechanics and provides you something new and exciting. But is the game design as good as this sounds?

Setting the Stage

Virtual Overpowered Intelligent Droid – or short V.O.I.D., is the setting where our planet is invaded by a race from another galaxy that destroys everything it touches and want to reign it with super power. You are playing as PLOIDS – an evolution of the human race by merging technology that decided to fight back and return the peace.

V.O.I.D. gives you control of Alpha and Omega, who you are travelling through time to eras of ancient land with. You will find yourself in ancient epochs such as feudal Japan, the ice age or the medieval era – in order to obtain sacred stones (“shards”) that will give you the necessary power to defeat the invaders and save Earth from an alien invasion. But hurry up, the invaders are trying to get those shared before you!

Your Character, Your Game

To navigate through this side-scrolling action adventure game, you can select a character with different abilities and opposed pros & cons. The specific characteristics will determine the games’ style – and actually there will be even different routes throughout the game which provides a totally different game experience:

Alpha, the female PLOID, has strong jump and speed powers and let you experience the game as a high speed platformer.

Omega, the male PLOID, does have a blaster and is equipped with more health, so that the games feels more as a shooter platformer.

Sounds Great, Doesn’t It?

Yes, actually it does. But! As an experienced gamer, I consider this game quite challenging. So challenging, that I did not see much of it – regardless of my character choice. I was looking forward to enjoying more of the game and actually wanted to find all the shards, but due to the design decisions made, I even found my gaming experience a bit frustrating at some point:

  1. You have only 5 lives. When you clear a world that contains at least 3 different sections, the game gives you a password. That’s a nice old school touch and I find it charming since I grew up with typing in passwords in my games. But from seeing the Game Over screen, then to all the credit screens in V.O.I.D., over to the password room, then setting up the introductory screens for the world you want to travel to – you will find yourself roughly over 1 minute later back in the certain world, you could not clear earlier. And then you may have to master all the sections again – until you will get to the section, you could not manage some minutes ago. A specific save point or password for a very certain section would be appreciated to not play sections over and over again.
  2. The world I could not manage is World 2 – Atlantis. To clear the first 2 sections most efficiently, Omega, the PLOID with the blaster, is the best choice here. But in section 3, an underwater passage, Alpha would be the better choice, as you need precise and quick platforming. Unfortunately the game does not allow you to choose a character per section. So either I struggled a lot with the platformer expert Alpha in the first two sections and lost some valuable tries, or I managed the first 2 sections easily with Omega, only to suck in section 3. From a story point of view it does make sense when only one PLOID is time travelling to a certain time era, but I would consider the game more manageable if you could change your character as you please.
  3. It is not that crucial, but I do not understand why the game wants you to pick a PLOID in the character screen, even before you go into the password room – where you will be travelling to certain world, just to select your character again.

 

Benny Kong’s Verdict

I like the story of the PLOIDS  and the concept in general, that depending on the character you select, V.O.I.D. provides a totally different game experience for you. That’s a pretty cool approach indeed! The graphics are set in a 8-bit through 16-bit style and are charming for a quick arcade platformer, whereas the music also puts you back in time. V.O.I.D. is delivering a quite solid platform experience from this point of view and has a lot of potential, but:

Although I really wanted to enjoy the game much more, I’m either too bad to proceed any further or the game is just too hard.

After dozens of unsuccessful tries in section 3 of World 2 – Atlantis, the difficulty of V.O.I.D made me putting it down. I lost my motivation to keep playing the same stages over and over again – only to see the Game Over screen in the same stage each time again. Instead of offering you an instant re-run of the same world or even the stage you lost your lives in, V.O.I.D. lets you restart the entire game. Via a password option you will get roughly 1 minute later to the world you failed in.

A “Funky Mode” is needed, or maybe a re-consideration of the main game design aspects to make it more beatable for a broader audience – and to get you quicker to the point in the game that you could not manage.

I really hope that the developers will provide an update at some point, as I really think, that V.O.I.D. does have a lot of potential and it would be worth for the majority of gamers to experience much more of the game than – in my case – just World 2.

At time of reviewing, V.O.I.D. (Version 1.0.0) might be only to the liking of platform experts or speedrunners, that are looking for a tough challenge.

 

Buy V.O.I.D. from the Nintendo eShop US or the Nintendo eShop Germany.

 

* I would like to take the opportunity to thank JanduSoft again for the provided copy that I won via a contest on Twitter