[Video Game Review] POST VOID
POST VOID l YCJY Games

During my junior year of college, I developed a brief obsession with a PC game called Devil Daggers. Inspired by arcade games of the 90s, Devil Daggers is a first-person arena-based shooter in which players take on an endless wave of demons for as long as possible. Because there is no end to the demonic hordes, the thrill of the game comes from beating your previous survival time and seeing how far you can climb the global leaderboard.

It was only a brief obsession because I had to physically stop myself from playing any more of it. I had become so devoted to one-upping myself at that game that it was starting to affect my studies, and that freaked me out. It also didn’t help that a buddy of mine from high school was also hooked on it at the time, leading to the two of us competing for the better score.

It was only about thirty seconds of playing POST VOID that a little voice in my head quietly whispered, “Oh, no.”

Not in a disrespectful way, but as in:

“Oh, no. This is going to be like Devil Daggers all over again, isn’t it?”

Developed by YCJY Games, POST VOID is a hypnotic throwback to classic fast-paced shooters such as Doom. Originally released on Steam back in 2020, it is now finding a home on consoles thanks to publisher Super Rare Games.

Courtesy YCJY Games

You play as an unnamed protagonist on a journey to a “place of peace” known as The Void. To get there, you will need to make it through eleven levels of violence and chaos, where freakish enemies try to stop you from reaching your goal. In your right hand is a pistol, whereas your left hand is carrying a glass head with a neon-white liquid inside of it. The object is to make it to the end of each randomly-generated level before all the liquid has drained from the glass head.

In POST VOID, speed takes precedence over everything. Many arcade shooters will require you to clear the level of all enemies before proceeding, but that’s not the case here. You can dodge enemies left and right, sprinting past them if it’ll help get you to the end of the level quicker. Killing enemies, however, will refill your glass head with a bit more liquid, adding precious seconds to the clock. It’s a delicate balance that turns such a simple gameplay loop into something dangerously addictive. Players are encouraged to think on their feet, so take out any enemies you can, but never lose sight of the main objective at hand. As you get used to the game’s rhythm, the mad dash through each level and anticipating enemies around every corner simply never gets old.

When you make it to the end of each level, you are given three upgrades to choose from, though you are only allowed to pick one. These can include anything from a compass that points the player toward the direction of the finish line, weapon upgrades, or the ability to slow down enemy fire. You’ll also start to encounter new enemies and obstacles as well. This helps to keep things fresh and I was always curious to see whatever madness the next level had in store. When you die, you are graded based on how many kills you got, how long you lasted, headshots, accuracy, hits taken, etc. Players who like to obsess over stats will likely be satisfied, and the online leaderboard acts as an incentive to revisit the game.

All this talk and I’ve hardly touched on POST VOID’s aesthetic choices. Needless to say, the presentation here is amongst the most distinct I’ve ever seen in a video game. Basically, players are sprinting through corridors at lightning speed while being bombarded with bold colors, flashing lights, surreal imagery, and a frenetic guitar riff. The style will undoubtedly be a turnoff for some. It’s a borderline painful experience to play, let alone watch, and gamers shouldn’t be surprised if they walk away from sessions with a mild headache coming on. If you’re susceptible to epileptic seizures, this thing will practically put you in the hospital. Thankfully, there’s an accessibility mode that turns off the many visual effects, which makes things significantly easier on the eyes.

Courtesy YCJY Games

Honestly, one would only need to watch a few seconds of footage before being able to decide if this is the type of game for them or not. Folks who can get behind the visual aspects may grow tired of the fact that there is only one song that plays during each level on repeat. Oddly enough, it hasn’t gotten on my nerves yet, though perhaps I’ll feel differently after sinking more time into it. Since the levels are short, the gameplay demands your full attention, and because it’s an experience likely meant for quick sessions, the soundtrack almost becomes the least of your worries. Besides, there’s just something about the track that feels so appropriate for this game.

Though I haven’t played it on PC, I’m happy to report that the long-awaited Switch port runs like a dream. During my time with the game, both docked and handheld, the frame rate has remained consistently smooth and I haven’t experienced any slowdowns, glitches, or bugs. The controls feel great, though I will say my trigger finger started to ache after a while (though this is likely a personal problem and not the fault of the game). Some folks prefer a mouse and keyboard setup when it comes to this genre, so your mileage may vary in that regard. Of course, a Switch port means that more people can take this fantastic title on the go, and I imagine it’s perfect for those seeking something quick to enjoy during a commute.

I haven’t reached the final level yet. Although I’m partly worried it’ll develop into an unhealthy obsession for me akin to Devil Daggers, I’m choosing to enjoy every minute I spend with the game, regardless of how good I currently am at it. Its abrasive presentation is just part of an experience that rewards players who are up for a challenge and find themselves on the same bizarre wavelength.

Headaches are temporary, but The Void is forever.

POST VOID was released on March 16th for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. A copy of the game was provided by the PR team for the purpose of this review.

Tom Milligan
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