We all have heard the saying about not judging a book by its cover and this tends to apply to all different kinds of media with video games being no exception. I have often found myself pursing through Steam or the Eshop in search of that next hit, but if the screenshots don’t captivate me right away, I tend to back out to continue my search. Post Void is one of those games.
At first glance it had a lot going on in the screenshots, something that would usually be off-putting for me. This was one of those times when I decided to ignore that feeling and jump right into it, and thankfully it was worth it.With a visual presentation that can come off as over stimulating to some, this was an experience that I am glad I took part in.
The story for Post Void is strange, and it does not go out of its way to hide this. The game starts by stating “First there was a void…. Then there was a headache”. From the cryptic intro, it seems as if our character is searching for the void in order to find some kind of peace. In a time known as ‘POST VOID’, there is violence to be found around every corner, and our protagonist has an arsenal of weapons and abilities in their hands to take on the world. Oh yes, and their head. With head in one hand and gun in the other, we are set off on a high adrenaline and visually bizarre journey at extreme speeds.
Our head isn’t just an interesting story narrative, but also serves as both a timer and our health meter in the game. With corridors full of dangerous enemies, our objective is simple. Get to the end of the level with some juice still in our head. The juice spills out once the level starts and will continue to drain until we jump into the glowing pool located at the end of the level. There are a multitude of disturbing creatures to help speed up that process, with designs ranging from humanoid figures with guns to speedy little gray creatures that stay hot on our heels as we run through each level. As we gun down monster after monster, our head fills up with more juice so that we have a little more time and health to make it to the next pool. Since the action is fast and frantic, you will definitely see the starting level frequently until things start to click.
Our head serves as a narrative device to explain why we are running on limited time as well as representing our health pool. The goal of each level is to reach the end in as little time as possible since that counts towards our overall score. The head that we carry is filled with a liquid that is constantly draining during the level and once it’s out, the game ends and we get to see results telling us about our performance during our run. While running through the maze-like levels, we will run into a multitude of strange creatures that are out to make sure we don’t see the end of the level. These monsters have some interesting designs with some taking the shape of a humanoid figure with a squid for a head who are armed with guns to little gray monstrosities who will stay hot on your heels as you search for the end of the level. Taking out each enemy will grant us more liquid in the head so it’s important to take out these creatures as we progress. With time and enemy attacks draining the health pool at an alarming rate, being able to refill the head without tracking down additional items is a huge bonus since that would take away from the games focus on clearing the level as fast as possible.
One thing to note is that there is no, ‘Heads up’ … , display to be found here. Besides the idol in your hand that indicates health, there is nothing else to distract you. The gun does have a set amount of bullets before you have to reload, but there isn’t any ammo counter to rely on. I found myself slamming the reload button after downing each enemy, just so I wasn’t caught off guard. By the time the gun play started to click, however, I found myself landing headshots consistently, which both kills enemies in one shot and lessens the amount of time spent reloading. There are no ammo pickups, so each weapon has an unlimited amount, but reloading can put you at a disadvantage when the enemy around the corner can start draining your health away the moment they catch sight of you.
This game focuses on high action and does not slow down at all. Once you start the level, the music kicks up, and you are in a constant run to the end. With a button press, you can do a drop slide as a way to try and dodge the bullets flying at you, but this is only a band-aid solution. I found myself focusing on getting accustomed to each enemy’s height and trying to keep my cursor in that general area, so I could land headshots without slowing myself down in order to save some life.
Once you finish a level, you are given the choice between three different upgrades before moving forward. These upgrades are random each time and adjust how things play out. There is an upgrade that gives the head more juice, which means more life and more time, while there are some that give you different weapons. I found myself taking more health and faster reloads when given the option so that I could fly through enemies with my starting weapon without being too concerned about my health. Levels progressively get harder so that little bit of extra health was necessary for me. Each time you die, you start at the first level with no upgrades, and soon you’ll find the one that fits your needs.
Now, the obvious thing that stands out here is the art style of Post Void. It is like an assault on the eyes with all the moving pieces and colors that don’t mesh well with one another. Wallpapers seem to move on their own as you rush down each hall, and each shot from the gun causes this bright flash that may be disorienting. Upon dying, you are met with a result screen showing you how you did, but not before you are greeted to some severe flashing screens. It is extremely important to note that if you have any issues with flashing lights and struggle with motion sickness, this is one to either take in small strides or avoid completely. Fast-paced first-person shooters are hard for me to stomach as is and with all the flashing lights to be found here, I was only able to play in small sessions before having to back out to recover. There is an accessibility mode to reduce some of the flashing effects, but this also includes a note telling you that this is not the way that the developers have intended for this game to be played. This feels unnecessary since most players who utilize an accessibility mode are aware that they are altering the developer’s intended experience and almost feel like they want you to feel bad for utilizing it.
Post void is an interesting fps and does a wonderful job of expressing that high speed arcade gameplay that is hard to find. There is something fun to be found in the ability to boot the game up and jump straight into it without having to worry about losing progress. Since it keeps track of your best times and scores, it is rewarding to see yourself progressively get better. Once I turned on the accessibility option that turned down the potential seizure inducing flashes, I started to have more fun with the game. I just wish the developer didn’t feel the need to tell me that I was going against their intended experience when the intended experience would have caused me to put the game down right away. The flashing lights, high speed antics, and extremely loud and obnoxious one song soundtrack can be off-putting for those who are just glancing at this game, but underneath those unpleasantries is a game that can be fully enjoyed with some minor adjustments.
Xavier grew up playing classics like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Silent Hill, so the indie scene has been full of love letters for him.
A perfect day for him includes hours of grinding out levels and exploring creepy hallways in scary games.