I’d like to start out by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to decide if I like a game I’ve been playing. There were times where the writing and the storyline in Void Terrarium just made me roll my eyes at the obvious attempt to pull at your heart strings. But then I was victorious at finally making it through a seemingly impossible run through the gauntlet of the rogue-like dungeons and I was excited. Back and forth my opinion would go, sometimes swearing into the air about the absolute absurdity of the battle sequences to the way the game actually does get you to care a little bit about this creature you’ve discovered that sort of looks human but has some weird growths coming out of its head.
This interaction between your little robot resurrected through a chance encounter at the very beginning of the game and this strange little humanoid girl becomes the focal point of your adventure, but also starts to get really annoying at the same time. Sure, you play on because, honestly, you just really want to find out what is truly going on and what this creature really is, but being forced to sweep poop and feed it before you enter the dungeons pretty much every time got really old really fast. While you aren’t really punished much for failing during a run through the overhead gauntlet, there were more than enough moments where I had little to no chance of completing the missions I was sent in to accomplish. The game would make the argument that each time you went in, you weren’t really failing if you were killed, but I got really tired of the whole “failure is always an option” tour into the random mazes you’re thrown into.
Saddle this with the terrible writing and slow as molasses story progression and I felt, more often than not, like I was just wasting my time trying to play through this interestingly frustrating title. I really had a hard time finding a rhythm or feeling like I was furthering the story. Because of this roguelike gameplay, you basically start at level zero each time and you lose most of the items or upgrades you find. Add in an insane bump in difficulty fairly early into the game and my frustration just built each time I was thrust back into the mazes. It just didn’t feel like a rewarding experience to play through or to keep going even just to find out what happens with the story.
If you are a gamer who really feeds off this rogue ‘don’t retain much’ type of gameplay, then this one should satisfy that part of you that craves this type of adventure. I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I really wanted to. That’s the real hidden secret within Void Terrarium, you really start feeling like you’re trying to force yourself to like it.
There are a lot of good things that I can point out. For instance, when you do get fortunate and you get a sweet upgrade to your little robot, it can become really fun pounding on the little nippers that come out of the woodwork to destroy you.
Then other times, you are confronted with unavoidable death just because you get completely surrounded by every single enemy you’ve ever seen, but all of them in one room. If they surround you, you’re dead very quickly. An example of this is the rocket turret things that absolutely pummel you with each square you move in the grid. If you hit the button to attack, it’s a move. If you walk forward, it’s a move. Each move you make has an equal movement of your enemies to come attack you. There are traps on the floor that you can’t see unless you attack the air in front of you. Unfortunately, you can’t rotate in place, so if you change direction, you are stepping on the trap instead of being given the opportunity to punch the air to see if there is a trap there. Naturally, you just spring the trap and you are either electrocuted, poisoned, warped to a completely random place in the maze, or some other unavoidably horrible outcome. Most of your victories or losses are just completely random and gives you little ability to exert some sort of skill to avoid these pitfalls.
Overall, I would say that there are a lot of things to love about Void Terrarium. If you enjoy the apps on your phone where you care for a digital creature and are rewarded for your amazing parenting skills, then you will enjoy taking care of this creepy girl thing. If you are more like me and find it to be more trouble than it’s worth, then I do give you the recommendation of skipping this one and putting your money toward a more rewarding gaming experience.
There are some choices you need to make during your adventure as well because you not only need to keep up your health, but you also need to keep an eye on your battery charge. The question becomes whether you pick up another battery and hold on to it or you keep an upgrade that you think could really come in handy against the enemies. It does add a level of strategy that can bring a whole new level of inventory maintenance beyond just picking everything up and keeping it. Basically, if you find a grenade, just throw it and get it out of your inventory and reap the rewards of destroying some poison emitting cretin that could remove a fourth of your health bar. You will most likely need that battery pack soon as every time you use a special attack, it drains your energy pretty far.
The music is the redeeming quality that really brings this title back from a lackluster score. It really does help when your auditory senses are tickled with the immensely cool electronic music that gets your foot tapping a little bit. It almost completely makes up for all the frustrating battle sequences that make you want to throw your controller out the window.
Void Terrarium Review
- Graphics – 7.5/10
- Sound – 9/10
- Gameplay – 4/10
- Lasting Appeal – 6/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
With roguelike overhead maze levels that don’t punish you as much for failure, you can progress the game ahead every time you enter the gauntlet. If you’re really into taking care of a digital creature, searching for food to feed it and enjoy sweeping up poop then you’re in for a real treat. If none of these things sounds like fun, then look elsewhere for a fulfilling gaming experience. For what the game boasts to be, it does it quite well, it just wasn’t my personal cup of tea.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.
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