I love it when enemies hurl insults at you as they try to kill you. It just makes it so much more satisfying when I inevitably destroyed them. Void Bastards helped me fulfill that emotional need as the enemies call me names like “Dickbag.” There really was a certain amount of sadistic joy I feel when I turned them into a pile of blue goop. Maybe there is something wrong with me…
Void Bastards is a first-person shooter that was inspired by BioShock and System Shock 2 and developed by Blue Manchu. The protagonists are prisoners who have been what I can only describe as “dehydrated and powderized” and have been “selected” to gather materials. Players have to travel the nebula and explore derelict ships for the necessary components for the items they are trying to make. The guide is a HR computer that has just the right amount of snark, sarcasm and general lack of concern for the player’s well-being that constantly makes me laugh. It will task players to build items that will allow them to get out of the nebula they are in. However, the nebula is full of enemies and other dangers. Not only that, players have to keep an eye out for fuel and food.
In a way, I am reminded of FTL: Faster Than Light. After all, I was in space and trying to avoid pirates and other enemies. If I must fight, I was in for a fight to survive. But I would probably die either because I ran out of ammo or because I didn’t make it back to my own ship in time due to my oxygen running out. There was some strategy that I had to formulate in order to optimize my path through the nebula as well as through the ship I am exploring. The levels of the nebula were partly procedurally generated whereas the ship maps were relatively similar to one another. This made it fairly easy to get used to every type of ship that I eventually got to a point where I did not have to open up the map to find the location of the helm so that I could download the “loot map”.
Players loot salvagable parts on the ship which can be broken down and used to create items such as a staple gun (shotgun) or armour. In the beginning, I was running around collecting everything but as the levels got harder, I found myself skipping out on exploring every room of the ship and only collecting what was in my line of sight. In a way, this made it much more exciting because I never became an amazing, god-like, character that can enter a room and absolutely destroy everything. I was running away a lot or taking very precise shots. Ammo in the beginning can be quite scarce after all. I also had to be sure I collected enough food and fuel so that I could keep flying through the nebula. I did get to a point where I didn’t have to worry about that as much. Well, at least, until I died.
Void Bastards does have crafting in this game and I have to admit, I absolutely loved the simplicity of it. All it really contained was a bunch of items that can be crafted but I had to go on ships to find the necessary materials. Fortunately, I was able to click on any of the ships on the nebula map and see if it contained the part that I needed. If it did not contain any of the items I needed or if the enemies were the types I do not want to deal with, I could move on to a different ship instead.
The enemies in this game are fairly entertaining and voiced with a British accent. And because this is a British gaming website where the editors are all British and I am an “uncouth American,” I took great, sadistic joy in blowing up the enemies who were constantly calling me “dickbag” in that posh British accent of theirs. There were enemies that were fairly easy to kill but spawned in large numbers, enemies that I had to avoid at all costs, and gun turrets that could or could not be on my side. Unfortunately, I felt like there was a severe lack of variety of enemies to fight in Void Bastards. Towards the late game, I was getting on ships which spawned what felt like an infinite amount of enemies to go through that I honestly was more annoyed by than anything else.
Speaking of being annoyed, one would think that if I was constantly dying, I would be peeved at losing everything and having to start all over again. Well, this was not entirely true. When I died, the HR computer and my “backpack” would just select a new prisoner to take over. All items that were crafted would not be lost but I did lose anything that I was carrying on the ship. This included any credits, food, fuel, and ammo that I had. Fortunately, I was always given some starting “care package” so it was not a huge loss. What’s also fun is that the prisoners each have their own unique quirks and traits. Some have amazing eyesight and shoot critical hits constantly while others are paranoid and will hear random voices.
One thing that I really loved about Void Bastards were the graphics and art style. It really gave me a Borderlands kind of feel and everything was drawn beautifully. I was constantly amazed by the level of detail the developers at Blue Manchu put into the ships and the nebula map. Even though a lot of the ships did eventually look the same, I still absolutely loved the artwork and appreciated it all. The story is also told in a comic book kind of style and is also drawn beautifully.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Void Bastards. Even though there were some areas that felt a bit repetitive, I did have a lot of fun playing it. The gameplay was very smooth and I did not get bored even with all the repetitiveness. Void Bastards can be beaten in around 13 hours and I can see myself coming back to this game in the future after some time has passed.
Void Bastards (Reviewed on Valve)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Void Bastards is an absolutely beautiful first-person shooter game but the lack of varieties for enemies and maps makes it feel repetitive.