By Steve Baltimore / June 6th, 2019
|Release Date||May 28th, 2019|
|Genre||First Person Shoots|
|Platform||PC, XBox One|
It’s very rare for me to pick up a First Person Shooter, but when a chance to review Void Bastards came along I jumped on it. I loved the cell shaded art, and the premise of a rouge-like space shooter really appealed to me. Add the fact that this was inspired by two of my all time favorite FPS games, BioShock and System Shock 2, and I knew I had to give this one a shot.
The story of Void Bastards is really simple. You are an inmate that is traveling through space boarding random ships looking for components, fuel, loot and anything else useful. You are doing this at the whim of an HR Computer that promises you freedom when the job is done. The tasks it gives you are simple but mostly end in disaster, meaning you end up having to travel further and collect more items. One good example of this is you build an ID card only to have it not work without a new computer, and when that’s built it melts down.
While the story is simple and a bit silly I loved the comic style it was presented in. That’s something that is not really done these days and I felt it really gave the game a lot of artistic flair. This went along with the cell shaded art style really well. I would have to say the overall presentation here is one of the best I’ve seen in gaming in a long time.
The gameplay here is not hard to figure out, but there are a lot of ways to approach each of the randomly generated ships. To start with your character will be generated at random, and you will get a new one each time you die. These prisoners will each have different traits. Some will be good and others not so much. They will give you things like improved sneak or more defense but you may be detected easier by enemies. I died a few times and even if I got a character that wasn’t as good as my previous one, it didn’t hamper me very much.
The next thing to do is figure out which ship on the map you want to board. The map will usually give you a couple of different ways to go and you can move one point at at time unless you have some warp keys which will let you go further in one turn. The map screen will tell you what resources you will find on the ship, what kind of enemies you can expect to encounter, and any other random effects going on there. Some ships will have effects that use more oxygen, be covered in nuclear waste, exposed electrical wires and lots of other really bad things. You will need to plan accordingly before you board to make sure you don’t die a horrible death right off the bat.
Planning for exploring each ship is made a lot simpler since you get a map of each ship before you board it. It will show a complete layout of the ship and what facilities are there. This let’s you plan out a route to explore the ship, and see if there are important things there like a health bay or an oxygen station. This is not foolproof since it doesn’t show you where all the hazards are, but you can hack some of the ships systems once on board to do just that. It will cost you some merits (cash) that you find in-game but hacking these systems can be very helpful. This is especially true for the security computer which will turn off all the crazy security bots.
Upon exiting each ship it’s time to sort through your spoils. Aside from the fuel and food you’ve collected nothing else is wasted either. Parts are sent to your workbench and everything is broken down into components to build parts with. You workbench works a lot like a skills tree. You will need to find parts to unlock the initial item, then find parts to upgrade it or build similar items of that type. There is also a part locator you can use that will show you on the space map which ship has the part you need to complete that build.
I loved this part of the game. Building new weapons to dispatch all of the crazy, British-voiced aliens in the game was a ton of fun. You will learn quickly which weapons work best on which aliens and this will likely help decide which ones you want to upgrade first. I decided to look for other equipment first, and since I was running out of ammo often I built an Ammo Subsidy right off the bat. That’s really the beauty of this game, there are lots of different ways to play it to fit any play style.
I have to say I had a lot of fun with Void Bastards. The artwork is here amazing. I loved all of the different designs for the enemies and comic book style cut-ins are just a pure joy as well. The quirky British voices the aliens have and just the overall silliness of what you’re doing gives you a big smile. The shooting here is pretty tight and there are a few different difficulty levels to choose from, if FPS games aren’t really your thing. At the $29.99 price you get a nice 15 hour campaign that has New Game + so you can keep collecting and killing bigger aliens. This might seem a little steep, but PC games go on sale often, so if you wait for sale you’ll get an even better value here. I would recommend this one to anyone that has a passing interest in rouge-like or FPS games. This is one very unique title. It does have some quirks and you will get screwed over by the rouge-like nature of it, but there’s nothing else quite like it out there.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Void Bastards is part of the ID@Xbox program.
FPSHumble Bundlerogue-likeVoid Bastards