NeuroVoider (Switch) Review – Pure Fun to Go
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Flying Oak Games
Publisher: Plug in Digital
Release: 7th September 2017 (Switch)
With the Nindie Summer Showcase taking place, the importance of Indies for Nintendo´s latest console was outlined once again. Sadly, most of the shown games will only be available next year, meaning we still got some time to go, until Travis and others Strike Again. One of those Indies wanting to fill the gap is NeuroVoider, a little Roguelite 2D Shooter now ported to the Switch along all features needed for a great Switch experience.
NeuroVoider focuses completely on its roguelite gameplay, so don´t expect any story or explanations here. After completing the little intro, where we learn, that we´re jumping brains in giant robots, we don´t see anything else from the overall “plot” until the end. Nothing too dramatic, since Roguelites tend to revolve completely around the gameplay but considering the silly beginning and smart humour, there would have been potential for more.
As every roguelite, NeuroVoider only offers one mode, the normal run. Our goal is to reach the endboss, by overcoming the three other ones, and 16 different stages in total. Once we die, we lose both our mech and every part we collected so far. Yet, in contrast to others, we have the chance to recollect our lost gear by killing the enemy, which killed us. Pretty classic for any roguelite and by far nothing special.
However, NeuroVoider biggest and only feature, the mech customization aims to spice the mix up. During our progress through the levels, killed enemies often drop loot, in form of new parts for our mech. After each stage, we can equip the different slots of our mech with the freshly collected stuff. From new legs, that make us faster, to bodies, that give us more life and energy, or even whole new weapons, everything can be found.
Especially the weapons allow us to deeply customize our mech, from fast auto-guns, shotguns, disk launchers, rocket launchers or railguns, every weapon-type is available. In combination with the three different mech classes, each with their own playstyle and strengths, the choice of weapons heavily impact our experience, since all weapons drain our energy faster or slower. The fast Dash class for example doesn´t necessarily have a lot of health, so fast, low energy guns would be the weapons of your choice for it. The fact each part changes the appearance of our mech is also a great feature. The combination of the sheer amount of parts and the visual feedback is a great way to show progression.
Unfortunately, the rest of the NeuroVoider isn´t nearly as unique and the limitation of the tiny team size get quickly visible. On the one hand, the gameplay purely consists of the most basic 2D shooter you can imagine, forcing us to shoot and evade enemies, finding loot and destroying generators. Additionally, each class is equipped with two special abilities but even them are very safely played, offering nothing truly unseen.
On the other hand, the enemies, level designs and even mech parts repeat themselves way too quickly. While levels are randomly generated along random enemy placement, during my first hour I already saw nearly every environment template, room design or enemy. Same with the parts, because there are only ~6 different weapon types, which are randomly named and dropped.
The bosses try to spice the mix up a bit, by throwing quite difficult stages at us, full of little enemies and the giant bosses, endlessly shooting at us. Sadly, nearly every boss functions the same way, shoot at a certain part so the shield goes down, then shoot at another part to deplete the health. Everything NeuroVoider has to offer can be seen in 1 hour and after I fully completed my first run after 4 hours I was bored with it. Luckily, due to the implementation of a great couch co-op, NeuroVoider can still serve as a great fun for in-between when you´re with friends.
Additionally, NeuroVoider is a great looking game. Not only is the pixel art of the environments pretty amazing but the mechs themselves can also shine with some great details, at least the bigger ones. Combined with the distinctive art direction of the whole game, NeuroVoider can nail its presentation pretty well. Topped by a rhythmic soundtrack, which may repeat itself a bit too often, and a flawless port, running at 1080p/60fps without any drops, NeuroVoider technical framework couldn´t be better.
NeuroVoider definitely isn´t a “great” game, too few to see and too much repetition are the burdens it constantly has to fight. Yet, its amazing sense of progression, customization options and overall presentation make it a blast to play for some hours or just some time on between. The co-op is also a huge selling point on the Switch, making it the ideal game to play with some friends, since it´s super easy to understand and execute. At the end, it may not be a revolution but does exactly what it wanted to be.
[A Review Code was provided by Flying Oak Games]