For all the genre tags liberally flung at the influx of indie games over the last few years, it could be assumed that a select few terms might have become faux pas, or even derogatory. Despite splintering off into many branches of sub category since its inception, uttering words like 'roguelike' or 'permadeath' can immediately engage as well as distance a potential audience. It is with that cautionary disclaimer that French developer Flying Oak's twin stick RPG roguelite shooter fits, but do not dismiss it for a second based solely on its labels.
The genre of roguelite seems to be a recent trend, almost to the point of saturation. For all the randomly generated levels and amount of ability variations, the best in the genre balance difficulty, addictiveness and enough variety to keep players coming back. The frustration of starting over from scratch countered with an arcade-style 'just one more go' mentality is where the best games sit.
NeuroVoider, then, is a futuristic twin stick 'roguelite' shooter. Replacing the turn-based combat typically found in a roguelike for more immediate, action packed thrills, the elements of permadeath (death resulting in starting from the beginning and losing gear as well as progress), randomly generated labyrinths of enemies and piles of trinkets to upgrade or repair your character are still present, but in this case they take the form of adorable mechanoids in a futuristic, post-party dystopia. With very little story other than that you are a brain trying to escape from the aftermath of said epic shindig, it's straight down to the main objective - destroy reactors and take down enemies.
From choosing the number of players (the game supports up to 4), there are a few more menus to navigate before everything kicks off. Robot speed and agility vs armour and firepower trade off as you are given three classes of character to choose from - dash, rampage or fortress (shield) - and then a further 27 options regarding a special ability, ranging from melee attacks, group or individual health boosts and so on. From there, you have a linear path to follow and are presented with choosing a stage. Based on a five point scale, stages are classed by size, elites (bigger enemies) and loot. At the risk of getting complacent, there is the option to skip a level or generate a new set upon meeting certain criteria.
Controls are smooth, tight and pretty standard - left stick to move, right stick to aim, A brings up the map and the shoulder buttons fire primary and secondary weapons.
Managing your artillery can be key, especially in the thick of it. Batteries deplete, guns overheat and the balance of damage over durability will make you think twice about holding down the rapid fire. Frequent loot drops of varying rarity continually keep interest in an almost overwhelming level of customisation, with the end of each stage allowing upgrades, repairs, forging loot or even changing class.
From random culinary advice to public service announcements, there are nuggets of stylish humour and whether your mechanoid floats, hovers or walks, each has is own little personality which had potential to be upgraded, but would have been great to be narratively explored as well.
Progression can be halted by difficulty spikes, especially when taking on nemesis bosses. Gigantic, brutal mechanical beasts that are almost frustratingly powerful, so it does place an emphasis on manoeuvrability as opposed to trying to bulldoze your way through.
The pace of the action and explosion effects can get immense, but show no technical slow down. From death (which you'll do a lot) to restarting is reletavely seamless, although selecting the number of players every time seems a little unnecessary.
Environments could have done with being a bit more varied in terms of location, as there are a handful of decals, which limit the aesthetic and seem inferior compared to the thousands of enemy and weapon combinations waiting to be experimented with.
It can be a welcome respite when clusters of robots are nowhere to be seen, and it's possible to take in the atmosphere generated by the rich colour palettes and especially the superb soundtrack - a mostly moody, incredibly accomplished set of synth tunes that compliment the dilapidated cybernetic environments perfectly.
It could be argued that one of the draws of NeuroVoider is that you can play it like a twin stick arcade game or an RPG style game, as you see fit. NeuroVoider is all about its options and combinations, but if scrolling through menus is not your thing, that's ok. Whether it's selecting difficulty based on experience or customising your robot, the number of possible outcomes soon ramp up and as a result, there is a decent middle ground for any player to find. Yes, the game can get difficult, sometimes frustratingly so and especially in single player, but remove the Joy-Con, grab a buddy or three and go at causing some chaos, because NeuroVoider is a lot of fun.
The overall presentation is a futuristic pixel art masterpiece, while the synth techno soundtrack is varied, tense, moody and constantly thrilling. Failing however regularly never becomes dull and whether roguelikes, lites or procedurally generated games float your proverbial boat, NeuroVoider has charm, addictive and explosive gameplay with a vibrant cyborg chic aesthetic. Despite ticking a lot of popular genre boxes, it manages to dig its mechanical feet in on its own merits due to frantic action, satisfyingly tight controls and a wide range of customisation through parts and weapons.
While the idea of a roguelike RPG shooter might sound like a bit of a mish mash, NeuroVoider is an immensely enjoyable experience if you want to invest time in the customisation or just go in arcade style, all plasma cannons and laser beams blazing.
Grab the soundtrack right here: https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/the-wrath-of-code
Nah. Not for me, this one.
Well this has moved up my wanted list. Problem is time and money are limited and there are so many games I want!!!
top game. stylish and deep. my older bro is visiting soon and this will definitely be played. the music is good techno
This game is pretty addicting, even if challenging. I've yet to make it pass 30% completion but it's one of those games that has you be like 'oh c'mon, you can get farther than that' and, boom, you're suckered into another round.
Don't have time to read the review just yet... but is it anything like Isaac?
@electrolite77 This one's not for me either.
No HD rumble in this game killed it for me.
@Moon It is pure garbage in comparison to Isaac. I love "The Binding of Isaac" and hate this forgettable, throw-away trash of a game
@Fake-E-Lee That's exactly what I run into while playing this game and what I was describing above. xD
Probably might check it out after getting all the big releases.
I have been playing and enjoying. FAQ: NO, there is no change to the gameplay / upgrade options as you play more and more rounds. (Not that I have discovered yet, anyway.) YES, the game is fun anyway. The only progression is in getting your percent completion a little bit higher, and that is enough for me. I am up to 35% on easy mode.
The game feels a little bit like Hotline Miami in that you can try to play it safe using cover and long distance shots, or you can go in slashing away with melee weapons and see how it all shakes out. The limits on firing weapons reminds me of Graceful Explosion Machine, as well.
I find Neurovoider to be much more to my taste than Isaac, because I prefer futuristic colorful neon robots to gray and brown raster drawings of poop and farts –– but, to each his own!
Hope this game does well, it's ace!
I like this game. I like that your builds change constantly. Sure I might stay with one class and always choose the regen health trait but at least the weapons have different stats. I have yet to beat the game on the hardest setting making it 95% before dying at the boss. One of those games that are quick and play. When I die I know it's because I invested poorly. To sum it up I like and I've put hours into. Totally worth it. Plus the soundtrack is awesome.
This seems to have a more in depth loot system than most similar games. Most of my currency earned has been from selling loot. You can upgrade loot and even generate random loot for a price. You can change classes midgame if you have a full set of loot for that class.
It makes the time between levels really interesting. Most games like this you're only given a few choices of loot to pick up but this is closer to a full rpg loot system.
It's a really solid game and cheaper than binding of isaac.
This just makes me wish Nuclear Throne and Assault Android Cactus were on Switch too. More twin-stick games, more power.
Will buy this!
Is this game hard? I don't like games that get difficult very fast. .
Rocko, starting on easy mode I made it to 30% pretty quickly. Getting past that is tougher... I wouldn’t say the game is punishingly hard but if you have never twin-sticked before it will be a growing experience for you.
BTW I always start with “classy” — the power-up that makes all loot pickups stay in my starting class.
Sorry, but I do have to dismiss this game on the label of being a "twin stick shooter." Twin stick shooters suck! Call me when they add a motion-controlled or touchscreen-based control scheme.
@Drache_Kaiser Oh wait, are there actually motion controls with a single Joycon? How do they handle aiming without an IR pointer on the Joycon like there is on the Wiimote?
I'd love to play this game, but too many games; too little time...
@Drache_Kaiser Because I had to actually start reading the review to find that out. Besides, I always read at least the conclusion of every new review on here.
A reminder word of CAUTION for anyone looking to buy this game for couch co-op... Currently there is NO save feature for multiplayer!!! Sad!!! Not just restarting the level but the whole game.
(There does appear to be a save function for single player)
Hey guys. This in any way similar to enter the gungeon?
@Fake-E-Lee Already bought. Cheers dude
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