NeuroVoider - Deep Look

by Alex Fuller

Platform: PS4
(Also available on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, Switch)
Developer: Flying Oak Games
Publisher: Playdius Entertainment
Release Date: 03.14.17 (PS4)
"Those with a passing interesting in either twin-stick shooters or roguelites will find good entertainment from NeuroVoider."
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   Billed as a twin-stick shooter/RPG hybrid, NeuroVoider is very obviously targeted at those looking to enjoy an evening or two blasting away at foes, even more so if they happen to have a few friends over to share in the carnage. Much more of a roguelite than full-blown RPG, up to four players can team in local mutiplayer to carve their way through plenty of hostile robots. The game looks to achieve at what it sets out to do, though all things said, it isn't looking to do a huge amount.

   Players control an escaped brain in a jar, housing their particular rebellious brain within robotic shield made up of interchangeable parts. There are three types of parts — or classes — that equipment dropped by enemies comes in. Players can use it to switch class if they wish, though every part needs be from the same class. Each class comes with a special power — dashing, an all-out attack, or a shield — and in addition to choosing their class, players can also freely select one of more than twenty bonuses to take with them on each run, such an extra life or special ability to briefly slow down time.

   As expected from a roguelite, gaining stronger in NeuroVoider is all about picking up new equipment from fallen foes. Equipment can be switched out after each level and provides bonuses to HP, energy and recharge rate, or attack power. The twin-stick shooter part of the billing comes from the two weapons that can be swapped out along with other equipment in-between each level. There is an appreciable selection from the types of weapons that can be found, including railguns, missile launchers, melee weapons, and more. Each weapon is mapped to one of the triggers, and aimed using the right-sick while the left-stick handles movement.

   On the whole NeuroVoider sports solid, if unspectacular, gameplay, that is stylishly bundled behind nifty pixel-art graphics. The locations look good, working well with the gritty futuristic setting, and the music also complements it. Map generation is another solid aspect, never creating overly big areas, and players can use a custom seed to generate the same "world" each time if they wish. Getting used to the right-stick aiming may take a little time for players new to the genre, but outside of that the controls are simple but effective.

   There isn't any real plot, and nothing is said in-between the introduction featuring a highly suspicious tutorial guide FAT-32 up until the end, while bosses and even the levels themselves are simply just there because. Assuming players can survive, each run has twenty levels, including four boss levels. Excluding the bosses, players get to choose from three randomly-generated options that vary in length, number of elite enemies, and amount of loot within. Within each section of levels, players will also come across a special level that can be chosen to provide an extra challenge (such as hordes of enemies or darkness) but grants far higher rewards.

   Full runs should take around four to five hours, though getting through a full run will take many attempts as the game is very challenging, even on the easier difficulty setting. This is particularly so on bosses, which see NeuroVoider quite happy to head close to bullet-hell territory. Players can save and return to a playthrough though, but since it is a roguelite, dying after loading will still eliminate all progress.

   Those with a passing interesting in either twin-stick shooters or roguelites will find good entertainment from NeuroVoider, and it looks like a highly enjoyable local multiplayer title. However, those who don't will more than likely not find the game doing anything to persuade them otherwise.

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