NeuroVoider – A Roaring Great Time in the CyberPunk Robot Apocalypse – PAX East 2017
The machines have won, and there is nothing left of mankind, not even DNA. There are no time-traveling heroes coming back in time to prevent the end of humanity. There is no virulent kill-code that can end the domination of steel. There is no masterful control station orbiting the Earth that, should it be destroyed, will end the machines. Mankind is done, and the combat machines dominate all, hoping to spread throughout the cosmos.
Just when there is nothing left, hope lies in a small green tub deep within the metallic cellars of the machine-world of Earth. In this fluid tube lies a brain, the very last human brain from the special known as homo-sapiens. With the help of a sentient robot, it breaks free, helplessly flopping over to an assembly system. That brain finds a new home, but that home that body is not of flesh and blood, but cold, combat ready steel and shiny quantum circuitry.
With systems woven into this brain, this sentience is given new life, with cutting edge firepower, sharp senses, and an abundance of combat capability. Human has now become a machine. In the battle to save what is left of humanity, the last human will become the very enemy he will fight, a war machine. This is the world of NeuroVoider, from Flying Oak Games, and the newly found indie gaming label Playdius games.
My first experience with NeuroVoider came as I approached the PLAYDIUS booth at Pax East 2017 in March. It was the final day of the massive, game-filled convention, and I had really wanted to see this particular game in action. Moments after the doors opened, I managed to find a spot and play a two-player game with the developers of NeuroVoider.
From the very onset, the game was truly something special. In the mere moments that the game started, I was already hit with an extremely profound presentation, made by a team of people that truly embraced and understood what they were doing. As the game took place in a dystopic world run by robots, the game featured a roaring cyberpunk soundtrack, an incredible retro visual style, and the Terminator-like gameplay feedback, where players felt like they were a hulking, walking battle tank that could destroy entire armies.
From a local multiplayer perspective, the game was amazing and an absolute blast to play. I couldn’t wait for the rest of the game. As I flew home and logged onto my PlayStation 4, I primed my system for NeuroVoider and prepared myself for one of the finest twin-stick action shooting experiences this year.
NeuroVoider is a twin-stick shooter with Rogue-like elements. As a brain, players hop into their machine of choice and reign vengeance across 15 stages in a bid to end the tyranny of the machines and give humanity a shot at coming back. Players choose from one of three classes. The dash class is extremely nimble, and light on armor, but can be useful for making quick, successive strikes with weapons such as the cutter. Rampage strikes a fair balance between strength and mobility. Finally, the Fortress class essentially makes your body a slow, but an incredibly destructive machine, able to withstand a lot of damage.
Players can secure weapons on the battlefield from the remains of their slain enemies. NeuroVoider makes the game a more accessible than other rogue-like games, that the weapons can be universally fitted, regardless of class. In other words, you can choose the small, nimble dash class, and still have a highly-damaging liquid flamethrower for a right arm and a tactical rocket launcher on the left arm.
Speaking of the weapons, NeuroVoider has a LOT of them, including different tiers of weapons, and even the rare glitched weapons. Rail guns, shotguns, acid throwers, green-fire napalm blowers, and glitched tactical nukes. Players should take into account DPS, as well as energy consumption and reload time, which could mean the difference between life and death. At the beginning of every level, players can interchange their machine with several different parts. The visor will change durability and energy recovery, the core measure energy stores, their weapons in the left and right arms, and finally, their feet for transportation. The combinations are quite satisfying as players can create a walking, four-legged tank or a floating missile platform. Players can test their weapons and forge new parts. Additionally, should enough currency be collected from the battlefield, they can repair their units.
Playing NeuroVoider is cyberpunk euphoria. The gameplay is to imagine an incredibly frenzied dystopic nightmare, where players witness robotic abominations, but they stand as the most fearsome machine of all. Players will have white-knuckles, attempting to survive the laser-field chaos, but fist-pump in a small cheer for every single use of their fearsome weapons.
The stages are very well made and vast, encouraging players to explore every corner to grab ahold of sweet loot.Wth a pulsating soundtrack from Dan terminus, NeuroVoider turns players into a wrecking force, saving the dystopic Earth from the maniacal and deadly machines. The overall experience feels like something pulled straight from cyborg starring films, like Ghost in the Shell and Robocop to The Terminator. It’s a challenging but exciting experience.
NeuroVoider supports four players local co-op so you and three other brains of the human race can fight against the machine dictatorship. Players can take on all the levels and bosses in this mode, but if one machine is destroyed, their brain is all that remains. It can temporarily disable a machine, but they won’t return to their robotic forms until the end of the level. The game also has a significant difficulty curve, and players will die multiple times. However, with three different game modes, there are plenty of ways for players to learn the concepts of the game. Arcade mode is for those unfamiliar with these style of games, the Rogue-Lite mode is for fans of rogue-lite games, and Voider mode is for those who dare the hardest of all challenges.
If there is any real drawback I can make to NeuroVoider is that I wish that there could have ben an online co-op system. The game is a lot of fun, if very challenging, in single player, but to have three other machines by your side is a lot of fun. At Pax East 2017, having one other player fight alongside me was fun on that note! Online co-op would probably make this game even more accessible and appealing for players.
Also, I would have wanted to see more objectives to change up the experience. Each level has players hunting for reactors, then teleporting out of the area, and onto the next level. Occasionally, there are special levels that involve a self-destruct sequence or annihilating a small army. More objectives ould have been beneficial.
Despite these small gripes, NeuroVoider is an absolutely fantastic twin-stick shooter and a great cyberpunk action game, the best I have personally played since Neon Chrome from 10tons Ltd. From its incredible visual and audio presentation to the exciting, challenging combat, NeuroVoider is a cyber-attack on the senses that players will want to experience again and again.