VOID POST | Review – A crazy and psychedelic roguelike FPS

VOID POST | Review – A crazy and psychedelic roguelike FPS

I love to die. I know, said this it may seem strange and, in fact, it is: but if there is one thing I love in video games, it is dying. Die anyway, maybe from a camera error like in Elden Ring, or not timing right between one detour and another in Sekiro, or not avoiding a punch to the snout in time in Sifu, or not defeating Hades in Hades , or take them this hard on any roguelike video game I've ever gotten my hands on. If there is one thing POST VOID has taught me, it is to take death with even more philosophy than before, to accept it and yes, even to desire it.

Strong words, you say. And you are right: they are. POST VOID, however, has no time to waste: it slips like a corpse on the river. Or rather, we are that corpse on the river, who do not even realize that we have an external vision as we exhale our last breath. When I pressed the start button and tightened the black band on my forehead like any Johnny Lawrence, I already knew what to expect. I had heard about POST VOID, its deaths and rebirths over the years, but I have never faced this challenge before today.

Over the course of these days, taking advantage of its arrival on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, I chose to measure myself as anyone who loves this kind of production would do. And I lost count of the deaths like I never have before. In fact, someone could walk away quickly from a product of this caliber, and would have all my understanding, because in fact POST VOID is the demonstration of how much patience is needed before trying his nightmare made of bullets , deaths and despair in profusion. The point, however, is not its complexity. The apex is another: its construction, its being crazy and boundless, its being monstrously old school, but with a measured approach to the present.


A power that splits the screen by disintegrating it, brutalizing whoever holds the pad or the joycon while a deafening metal music accompanies the pain, then replaced by a dull noise, by opaque, white, gray and black images, c with illegible signs straight out of the Hammurabi code of any video game manual. Although it was released in 2020 for PC only, winning praise from specialized critics, its arrival on consoles was necessary. Necessary because even the users of PlayStation and Nintendo Switch deserved to end up in this abyss made of pixel art, violence and illusion. Dying is not an illusion. It has never been so with more famous works, and it is not even so with POST VOID, which represents the pinnacle of an entirely independent madness born of men and women who on any evening, on any day and at any moment they are looked at, they put the Briscola aside and they look into each other's eyes, nodding to each other, as if to say: “Yes, let's do it”. And they did.

There is no story that matters

--> In the sense that in POST VOID, in reality, there is no plot. Not even a lore. If you are looking for a video game of this type, know that it actually follows a decidedly more classic path, embracing that typical unmistakable style that made the years of the cabinets phenomenal, from which it takes the best elements. Having said this, the term "Void", in English, has a precise meaning, and the literal translation in Italian is "Vuoto". Combine the two words with "Post," which means "Before" in Latin, and you'll find that meaning one meaning leaves room for a lot of various interpretations. During my experience inside it, I wondered who the protagonist was, why he was in this strange colored world and why there were creatures of all kinds eager to massacre him with gunshots, explosions, curved daggers and turrets which, in addition to forming holes and numerous holes on his body, represent much more than the classic enemy to be killed.

The Void, a place dominated by dark supernatural entities, is suspended between time and space, and its veil is torn, as if a space-dimensional knife had slipped into the flesh of the Universe with an attempt to fillet it. If the latter expands as you read, imagine what happens when, instead, that everything so acclaimed by Stephen Hawking becomes a prison made of bars that are impossible to overcome. As one cycle continues, another ends, and so on, until the end comes and the beginning becomes another prelude to pain .

--> No fairy tales here. No stories with happy endings, because there is little to tell: nothing is beautiful, nothing is moving, everything is real and it is also legitimate. Described in this way it might seem like a royal rumble in which it is possible to use blunt objects and get away with the referee, or the madman who orchestrated that ordeal of pain taking direct inspiration from Saw, Freddy Kruger and Pennywise. Imagine ending up in a room with these three figures and making the mistake of leaving alive. There would be nothing to do: you would never get out on your legs, also because they would be cut in two by the Nightmare villain's gardening shears.

Nothing so macabre happens in POST VOID, but the gist of the speech is this: the Void, an ethereal place divided between reality or madness, is the very representation of a structured context without having a precise meaning, because the development team created it in such a way as to leave the player dismayed. The first impact, in fact, distressed me a lot. I wondered where I was, and once I figured it out, I died without firing a single shot. Yes, I was immobilized, as if the hypnosis created by POST VOID had numb my synapses for an instant, preventing the neurons from connecting to each other. I tried again, and I died. I shot one enemy, killing him, but another was waiting in hiding, ready to make his appearance.

Dead again, I sigh and shrug. I laugh, but I don't know why. When I realized that I was doing everything wrong, I realized that the Void is not a purgatory, it is not a heaven or even a hell, but it is the end. Not counting that the character carries a little head on his left hand that leaks a strange white liquid that corresponds to vitality, I have ascertained that this is a great dream. You die but, as I said before, it's all part of the game.

POST VOID: tragedy, death and resurrection

As I mentioned before, POST VOID is a FPS with roguelike elements that take full advantage of the genre of many other productions. Not comparing it to other video games, I'm talking about a work that takes the best of the genre, enhancing its qualities and demonstrating, unlike many others, an original and completely exclusive approach. In this sense, I don't remember other productions such as POST VOID currently on the market, unless we are talking about Hades and other video games of this caliber.

The production involved, however, is enhanced thanks to a gameplay as simple as engaging, structured in such a way that the player, as a good sacrificial victim, takes advantage of every passive or active bonus that happens to him while exploring the various levels, but losing them once he awakens at the starting point. Equipment that is lost becomes unrecoverable, and the randomness of what you get depends on fate. What turns out to be phenomenal as well as intelligently structured is the gunplay, which performs its symphony of pain in a masterful way, crafting a good rhythm and proposing various ways to kill enemies, net of the speed of movement.

If it could draw a risky parallelism, POST VOID for pace and intensity is close to Ghostrunner, the hardcore slasher FPS developed by All! In Games in 2020, which demonstrated what it means not to worry about pushing the user away to follow your goal. As everyone knows, however, things went well for Ghostrunner and, at the same time, even POST VOID did not betray the expectations. Running is necessary, running is hope, running and moving quickly could save your life as you move within the game areas. In fact, having passed the Acts, which determine the continuation of each area and the continuation of the adventure, you will encounter much worse and more numerous enemies.

Crouching could be the best solution to avoid sudden blows of enemies and turrets, like shooting wildly and protecting yourself before a shot lands. However, I did not talk about another aspect of the game structure, represented by the aforementioned little head which, if hit, can cause a catastrophic explosion and kill the protagonist instantly, creating a classic chasm. POST VOID is a time trial in which going fast, willy-nilly, is mandatory: stopping decrees death, wasting time leads to the end of everything and not being careful to avoid anything suddenly arriving from every corner of the levels, means automatically a slow, painful and brutal death, the same one that, I assure you, could accompany you for most of the experience.

The pace of the game, in this sense, is exhilarating and engaging, capable of lead the player by the hand in a run to the next white area to reach another area, which becomes a safe place for two seconds until it's time to shoot again. The variety of the Acts, in fact, allows you to interface with different nightmare creatures capable of sowing discord, panic and a lot of pain. Each phase, which stands out in not particularly long-lived intervals, gives you the opportunity to choose which weapon to equip and skills to use, such as increasing the weapon's damage rate and much more. Despite using the UZI (a kind of machine gun already seen in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), I have often opted for a different solution, preferring the shotgun in full Doom style, massacring enemies.

Advancing inevitably means prepare countermeasures, tactics and even remember the number of enemies, elevated places to jump and where to go. Often there will be additional secondary routes to follow, sometimes it will be enough to memorize the places already visited, and on as many occasions preparing properly to face whoever you will face will be the norm. What does it mean to run , shoot and avoid being killed by countless opponents ? It means being patient, accepting that, sooner or later, death is inevitable and the only way to make fun of it is to choose the best weapon.

There aren't many other pieces of advice that I could give to someone to survive in the complex and crazy world of the Void, which captures anyone who can't escape from it and leaves no room for anyone who tries to escape from these corridors composed of death, tentacles and nightmares of all kinds. A pistol can save, but it is better to be armed instead of a shotgun, so as not to run the risk of finding other snake heads in the way. Even if it will be inevitable and cannot be avoided, especially during the final Acts.

An experience that shines even on consoles

I admit it, I didn't know what to expect from POST VOID and partly I was sure he would disappoint me. Instead, it went so well that concluding it was as if I had put the word “End” to a story that I didn't feel like finishing so soon. When I read the word roguelike, I admit I get excited, because my mind goes back to video games belonging to this genre that have brought so many innovations and new approaches to the panorama. POST VOID is no exception, and how could it be otherwise? There is death, which is inevitable for anyone. There is a context, which is the end of the world. And there's a little head that suddenly explodes, a real co-protagonist. Net of some small uncertainty of pace in the final stages and a real variety of weapons that would have on the contrary brought further freedom of approach, what fascinates above all is the excellent value played on the implementation and refinement of the pixel art chosen for the 'opportunity.

It is never easy to manage one and fit every aspect so that everything has its own logic. POST VOID, in addition to packaging a brilliant technical side (which however does not reach thirty frames per second), offers one of the best artistic directions of the last year. Tested pad in hand, the port used is not the same as the PC version, but that doesn't mean it's bad news, because it offers a total vision and amalgamates in detail with other aspects of the work. It is never easy to be able to capture attention, and often it is even difficult to find the right words. Dying also means this .

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