In a world of minimalistic graphics and red skies, do you have the courage to brave a seemingly infinite number of levels filled with obstacles and enemies, blasting and outmaneuvering your way to success? If so, then you have come to the right place.
Void 21 is an infinite indie arcade game with procedurally generated levels and a leveling system in which you control a continuously moving and upgradeable craft in an attempt to dodge progressively unlockable obstacles and enemies, or even kill the latter, helped along by equippable systems which enhance the experience. The recipe is one which has been used before to great effect and unsurprisingly it works well in this case too.
Let us start with the available game modes. Everybody starts off with 4 training missions which introduce different mechanics (movement, enemies, upgrades, attacking) and when finished will unlock the other modes. Daily run is the main game mode and it features 30 unique levels everyday which feature enemy difficulty scaling in relation to the player’s experience. Endless Play is, as the title suggests, an infinite level, completely unique each time you start one. Finally, we have Seed Picker, a mode in which you can choose between 36^8 (around 2.8 trillion) possible sections you can race through.
The game levels consist of a track containing many lanes, riddled with randomly generated vertical columns. As you complete levels, you receive experience and unlock new equipment, enemies and obstacles. The enemies are usually geometric shapes which have different abilities, from a sphere which tries to actively block our path to a giant box with a massive amount of health. The main property of enemies is that they can be destroyed using the ship’s weapons.
The obstacles are various and challenging, requiring you to occasionally slow down so as to navigate them safely. A few early examples are a giant fan which takes up an entire section of the track, a wall with one small opening which constantly moves and another type of wall with an even smaller opening, this time stationary.
The upgradeable ship modules are the core, the engine, primary and secondary guns and 2 special slots reserved for gadgets (shields which give you an extra life, one which traces 2 lines ahead of your ship so as to identify if there are obstacles in front of you, etc.). Depending on the selected track and the challenges which await, player may want to consider testing different loadouts so as to identify which will perform best in that situation.
Graphically speaking, everything is simple and functional and yet manages to create a certain atmosphere which doesn’t overload your senses and has an overall nice aspect. The graphical options are quite plentiful for such a title (even the FOV is modifiable) and the overall performance is excellent. The music is fitting to a title focused on speed, meshing well with the gameplay.
There are a few downsides which I have to point out before I close this review, which can be corrected and are not game breaking. With such great performance, I believe the game can handle more graphical artifices which can further improve the atmosphere. On certain levels, there are long stretches on some lanes where you do not encounter any obstacles. An interesting idea would be for the music to slightly alter in relation to the obstacles which you will encounter if you stay on a certain course. The ammo should not be endless, or at least it should be rechargeable after a few seconds of constant firing depletes it.
All in all, Void 21 is a good endless arcade shooter which has few flaws which can be skipped over but if fixed could transform the title into a great one, increasing the challenge and the feeling.
Void 21: GOOD (shite, mediocre, good, excellent).