GDC 2019 Hands-On IMPRESSIONS: Void Bastards

Friday, April 5th, 2019

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Void Bastards | Logo

Publisher(s): Humble Bundle (ID@Xbox title)
Platform(s): Xbox One, PC (Steam), Mac (possibly)
Release Date: Early 2019
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Void Bastards is a very clever mash-up of FPS and rogue-like gameplay. In this game, you lead a bunch of prisoners through space in order to collect supplies, obtain fuel and ammo, and make new weapons and tools. The majority of the gameplay itself takes place on the various stations as you use fuel and food supplies, etc to move between locations on the map. When you arrive at a new location on the over-arching galaxy map in Void Bastards and choose to explore it instead of moving on from it, you will first see a map of the new area that details the locations of enemies, supplies, and your entry/exit point. All of this becomes relevant as you pick your weapon loadout and then head in.

Void Bastards | Nebula Map

You move from point to point throughout space in Void Bastards, consuming items with each space jump. (Image provided by Blue Manchu).

The FPS aspect is quite fun as well. When you are ready to enter, you pick your main sidearm, you pick your larger weapon, and you pick your distraction device/shield/grenade-type item. All three of these rely upon ammunition that you’ve previously picked up in prior areas you’ve explored. In other words, it is real easy to wind up with both no ammunition and no supplies if you aren’t careful. The shooting combat is really smooth, and the enemy AI is fairly intelligent to shoot you if you come across them. However, since you are stuck with what you can scavenge in Void Bastards, you have to make a choice between shooting everything you see, avoiding the parts of the ship that are occupied by enemies, and just running away from them. This turns what would ordinarily be a run-of-the-mill shooting game into a deeply strategic FPS title that is not commonly found in the industry. Gun violence, as I saw when I ran out of ammo during my demo at one point with a weapon, is not always the answer to solving your problems.

Void Bastards | Shooting

You won’t get anywhere if all you do is shoot. You need to strategize your weapon choices, your ammo, and if it would not be better to just dodge the enemies instead. (Images courtesy of Blue Manchu).

Finally, Void Bastards is gorgeous to look at. I don’t know what it is about cel-shaded games, but those tend to be some of the most beautiful games out there, and Void Bastards is no exception to that rule. It balances the perfect amount of vibrant colors with details to make the different environments seem alive in dark space. If anything, the one thing that I wish I could have seen more of is the storyline and more of the crafting system, though I have zero doubt that I couldn’t only because of the practical limitations of a gameplay demo than anything else. Speaking with the developers, the storyline for Void Bastards will take twelve to fifteen hours to complete.

Void Bastards | Station

Plot your path towards items that you need and towards/away from enemies before you dive into a new area (as seen above). Also, you can use the items you scavenge from your missions to build new weapons and items on your workbench (as seen below). (Images courtesy of Blue Manchu).

Void Bastards | Workbench

Overall, Void Bastards was extremely fun to play and to strategize about, and I cannot wait for this twist on the FPS genre to come out for the Xbox One, PC, and possibly Mac platforms.



Are you excited for Void Bastards when it comes out? What kind of dream weapons do you want to make in the game?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.