Monday 2 October 2023

Full Void Review (Switch)

Indie games certainly go through trends, first everything was Metroidvania and then came the Roguelikes. Now it seems the Cinematic Platformer is the genre of choice. In recent times we’ve had Lunark, Eternal Castle, Library of Bable and remasters of Another World and Flashback to mention a few. Full Void is the next game to take on this approach and, for the most part, it does a pretty good job.

The story of Full Void is told entirely visually. There’s no voice or text so it’s left to the brief cutscenes and general environment to get across the near future world where some form of AI menace has started to enslave humanity and steel away it’s children. You start out running in a forest before heading back into the city as you simply try to survive and escape the ever-pursuing creatures.

The style of the Full Void fits perfectly with down beat colours and a pixel style graphical approach. It gets across the nostalgia of the genre and acts to portray the story and environment well. It also looks very much like its own game and doesn’t take too much from classics in the genre, meaning it is distinctive enough to standout in an ever more crowded market.

 Controls are simple with a two-button scheme which lets you jump or interact with objects. There are no guns or weapons, so you are always vulnerable to enemies and it is very much about keeping away from things. The game responds well so there are few frustrating deaths caused by controls and the checkpoint system is also sensible so when you do die you won’t be repeating huge sections of the game.

The other added bonus is that each death comes with a small cut scene to further emphasise your demise. The only slight blip here is that two or three times (and only two or three times), the story cutscenes turn interactive without warning, often leading to a quick death as you are not expecting it. In one of these you are required to duck, while another requires you to press the interact button to shut a door. These Dragon’s Lair like interaction come so out of the blue and are so inconsistent that you’ll have little chance of surviving them first time which is a shame.

Away from the running and leaping there are also puzzle sections to overcome. This starts out with some simple box moving scenarios and a basic hacking game where you must line up spinning tubes. Before long you’ll acquire a sort of robot thing than can be issued instructions at various control panels. The robot can be used to get through dangerous environments or sent to hard to reach places and then activate switches to make it safe for you to progress. We did find that there were a few too many of these sections and some of them are a bit obtuse but generally our progress was never halted for too long. We aren’t sure the game would lose much without them though.

Full Void is also fairly brief with general play time around an hour. That’s no big deal as such, as the story feels about the right length but there isn’t an awful lot to go back through the game for aside from a few secrets. Once completed the game does let you start from any chapter you like though so you can easily play your favourite sections or seek out a few easter eggs if you wish.

Overall, Full Void certainly works as a Cinematic Platfomer. The look and controls are spot on for this sort of game and the story is interesting and well thought out. The platforming sections work far better than the robot puzzles but there is nothing here that is going to stop you from enjoying the experience. It would have been nice to have more reasons to go back to it after finishing but what’s here is inventive and fun and easy to recommend - as long as you aren’t expecting an epic.

Overall 8/10

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