Void Bastards is a rogue-lite FPS and it’s definitely more of the former than the latter. In it, you travel through space boarding other space stations collecting as much loot as you can before making your escape. If you’re killed, you’re given a new character and sent back to the start of the game but you’ll keep all the weapons and loot you collected during the previous run. The more levels you succeed, the deeper into space you go and the harder the game becomes.
At first glance, the game looks great, but does it have the gameplay to back it up?
- Impressive comic-like visuals
- Great in short sessions
- Rewards risk-taking
- Samey procedurally-generated levels
- Repetitive gameplay
- Hit-and-miss humour
Levels are procedurally generated which should offer an endless variety of layouts but due to a lack of variety (they’re just corridors and rooms, after all) most levels end up looking and feeling very similar. This makes the game feel repetitive and doesn’t help in the early stages of the game where you spend a lot of time grinding to enhance weapons and equipment in order to succeed.
Similarly, the humour in this game can be hit-and-miss and while sometimes, I let out a hearty chuckle, hearing the enemies shouting “I can see you dickwad” just isn’t that funny the fiftieth time you hear it..
Even though the gameplay and humour get repetitive very quickly, the game does have charm and some interesting mechanics that keep you invested such as restoring power to a space station, a cat bomb that patrols the halls of the ships until it detonates, or locking enemies in certain rooms to keep them out of your hair.
As you upgrade your weapons and armour, the game encourages you to take more risks to get loot and this is when I found the game to be at its most enjoyable. There were several times where I stocked up on ammo and got greedy trying to get that last bit of loot and ended up running out of oxygen. While it can be a little annoying, I’ve only got myself to blame.
As I alluded to earlier, the visuals are one of the best things about this game; it looks like a comic book with its flat shading and white border. When enemies are near, onomatopoeic text will appear with a clomp or pat to help describe the type of enemy and movement they are before you encounter them. When your eyes aren’t rolling at hearing the same joke again and again, they’ll have something wonderful to look at.
Despite the negatives, I still enjoyed my time with Void Bastards once I got into the flow. It’s a stylish, first-person rogue-lite shooter and even though it’s grindy and repetitive at the start, it’ll probably win you over with its stylish aesthetic and pick-up-and-play gameplay.