When it comes to video games I am equally attracted to both the box art and the title itself. ‘Void Bastards’ immediately jumped on my radar when I was reading about it last year and recently I managed to pick it up in the sale for the reasonable cost of twenty sheets.
It’s available on Nintendo Switch (where I’ve been playing it), XBox One, PS4 and Steam so just about anyone can get their sweaty paws on it.
You play as one of an infinite supply of dehydrated prisoners who is brought back to life because the spaceship is on the fritz, stranded and floating in space. Your task is to use your widdle wocket to fly to derelict vessels in the area, steal everything that isn’t nailed down, hopefully find some useful item that you can use to smush together with something else to make a better item and, eventually, fly the fuck out of there.
Played from a first-person perspective, as you infiltrate the various spaceships you encounter enemies and other environmental hazards such as radiation, fire and oil which makes you slip everywhere. Sometimes the generator is down so you have to turn the electricity back on before you can start sniffing around for junk. Sometimes the lights are off and you have to peer through the darkness hoping not to trip any alarms. Each vessel is randomly generated, using the same series of rooms mixed up each time, so whilst it can be repetitive you can never guarantee what you will get every time.
Movement is responsive and fluid. The graphics are cartoony, cell-shaded and fits the feel of the game perfectly. Progression is measured by certain milestones broken down into smaller achievements such as making weapons, armour and other items. You need to keep your supplies of fuel and food topped up otherwise you’ll be stranded for good or die from starvation. Your time on each ship is limited due to the small supply of oxygen (usually less than ten minutes) granted so you have to be fast and you have to be precise.
The only real downside, other than the aforementioned repetition, is the humour. The game sadly isn’t as funny as it thinks it is. There’s an enemy called a ‘Janitor’ who walks around and when he hears you approaching he shouts, “Gary! Is that you?”. Smaller enemies called ‘Juves’ call you names such as twatface and dickwad in their nasal almost Mancunian accent. The AI on your spaceship tries desperately to ape the peerless deadpan narration of ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ with not great success. If you can get past this, you’ll find lots to enjoy. It’s a shame though because ‘Journey to the Savage Planet’, a similar game in structure and tone, is a lot funnier.
8 voids out of 10