I really love the fast-paced nature of old-school arcade shoot-’em-ups. The simple graphics, high tempo audio and straightforward concept leave you wanting more. I’ve reviewed some great shooting titles in the last month, so when I was offered Void Gore, I thought, let’s see how this one stacks up. Developed by Panda Indie Studios and published by Eastasiasoft Limited, this is a game that keeps simplicity at the core of everything that it does.
You exist in a strange universe where spaceships enter a gateway to hell. The aim isn’t just to destroy demons and cleanse this evil place of its gruesome occupants. No, you are also there for the gold. Wave after wave of unrelenting monsters will float towards your vessel. You are tasked with destroying them any way you can. Fire laser beams and missiles, and destroy them with your ship’s shield. In short, eliminate them before they decimate you.
It is fast-paced and super addictive.
As you learn the fundamentals, you will find the pacing of the game too fast. Demons whoop your ass repeatedly, and death is just around the corner. You gather miniscule amounts of gold and upgrading your ship is but a distant dream. Once you get used to how your enemy’s move, and you improve your vessel, you progress further and further into the unlimited waves. The cash rolls in, and you constantly hit the high score. It goes from being a casual experience to an addictive nightmare in moments.
Improving your ship isn’t an easy task, and you must decide which path to go down. You will eventually improve every aspect, but to start you will need to tailor your ship to your gameplay style. Improve your weapons, add missiles, increase health or speed and more. You’ll chuckle with joy as your weak craft becomes an unstoppable juggernaut.
Power-ups and no big bosses.
Alongside permanent upgrades, you will be blessed with temporary power-ups. These match the selection available in the store, but they enhance anything already purchased. Your destructive machine takes a turn for the better and becomes stronger than an ox in a split second. I enjoyed it when I was challenged by the high difficulty setting in the early stages, but being able to mow down anything in my path was such fun, and I never tired of it.
What I found strange, though, was the lack of a main boss. You will see many evil and demonic beings, but nothing that will be special. It’s seemed an odd oversight from Panda Indie Studios, as the gameplay never progressed further than the manic bullet dodging hell that is seen from level 1. This was especially noticeable when you had purchased all the upgrades and flew through the stages with no care, and very little challenge.
Straight from an arcade!
This won’t win any awards for the prettiest title going, but it certainly looks the part. With its grisly colour palette and dark tones, it does well to represent an evil environment. The screen is surrounded by a psychedelic border, which alters the higher you score in a playthrough. The 2D tabletop perspective worked brilliantly, and the movement from South to North made it easy to follow the action. A pixelated art style matched the genre well, and though it is dated, it worked really well in this context.
The audio is also in keeping with the history of the genre and works well with this hellish theme. High-tempo, aggressive music plays throughout. The anger from the songs enhances the demonic nature of the environment, and demands that you push yourself to get the high score. The sound effects are good, but nothing more than I expected. The audio was a resounding success and helped to keep me interested as I refused to put down my controller.
Shoot, weave, shoot, weave!
Attack, dodge and defend, get these things right, and you will run riot in this game. It’s easy to pick up, simple to play, and straightforward to master. You will be challenged when you don’t have all the upgrades, but this is part and parcel of this game, and if it was any easier, then it wouldn’t be fun.
The shoot-’em-up genre has a massive fan base, and one reason is the desire and ease at which you can return to play. With unlimited waves, and a mighty vessel to upgrade, I can see that this has some replay value. However, with no NG+ mode or additional challenges, the developers are relying on you loving this to keep wanting to play. I think you will enjoy it, but how many times you’ll want to play it, remains to be seen.
Does it compare?
How does Void Gore sit amongst its peer group? Very well, mostly. It’s fun, quick, and requires a small amount of tactical thinking. The endless fast-paced gameplay will push you to your limits, yet it’s a shame it didn’t develop further. I would have liked to see big bosses, as this would have given me something to focus my time on. Do I recommend you play this? I do! It’s a solid title with few negatives. If you fancy trying it, a copy can be purchased here! Can you raid hell for its gold? Will you be able to improve your crate in the sky, by upgrading it to a full battle vessel? We shall see, but in the meantime; earn some gold, destroy demons, and stay alive.