- Game: The Void (aka: Tension)
- Publisher: ND Games, bitComposer
- Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge
- Release Date: October 23, 2009 – International Version
- Genre: Single-Player First-Person Perspective Horror Adventure
- Platform: Windows, PC
- Price: around $1, via Steam Holiday Sale 2010
- Summary: A ferociously bewitching experience.
A Different Game Mechanic
I bought this game in the Indie Fright Pack (total cost around $5.00) along with 4 other games, and so far that’s been worth more than the price I got it at.
You play as a soul caught in The Void. The Void reminds me of grey and dankish purgatory or limbo. The goal of course is to escape The Void and become reincarnated, but to do that you must deal with the denizens of The Void: the half-naked pin-up-star Sisters, who are the keepers to the Chambers, and the monstrous Hellraiser-esque Brothers, who are like guardians. There are also Predators, mindless things that wonder the chambers looking for color to feed on. The key to life in The Void, the Sisters, and Brothers is Color, which is valued above anything else.
Color represents your life, armor, stats, and ammo. You gather color throughout The Void. You can also grow Color, or take Color from other beings. To use Color you have to convert it, and while processing Color in your “Hearts”, it becomes your stats which modify your ability to effectively use Color (read Color cost). There are 7 colors, each with their own properties and which can only be used by you if they are in your “Hearts”. You never stop processing Color, so you’re constantly moving and managing it.
As time passes, Color drains from your Hearts and into your Palette, where you can use that Color to manipulate the world. Color is ammo for Glyphs, which you draw on screen with your mouse. There are 21 Glyphs which are the manifestation of “artistic creation force”. They are your weapons for attacking and tools for growing, finding, and gathering Color.
It’s this strange complex game mechanic that keeps me playing: Managing the Color, when and how to use it, seeing its effects on the outcome of the game. For example, Gold increases the Sisters’ trust while inside Hearts, lowering the amount of Color required in opening their Hearts. When Gold is used in the Void, it incites jealousy in the Brothers.
Pin-up Girls of the Void
The one thing I hate about this game is that every time I “give” Color to a Sister, she always writhes like some playboy pin-up girl in a photo shoot. I’m thinking that this game is aimed toward men, because as the girl wiggles about, you get the occasional “nipple shot” or “peek-a-boo-crotch shot.” Thankfully, I can skip those sequences by hitting the space bar. The Sisters are also demanding and keep asking you to do things for them and give them Color like your some kind of Color-Sugar-Daddy. I really want to slap dem bitches, and tell ‘em quit their whining! Damn ho’s!
Easy to Learn, Hard to Master
This game is kind of difficult, and takes a bit to master. I don’t mind this part and in fact, I like this kind of game play. This gives me something to learn, which is more than half the fun. This is bound to annoy other gamers, and I’ll I have to say is don’t be surprised when you have to go back and reload a save game. My advice is to save your game often.
Another case in point: when I first met a Predator, the Sister guided me through battering it with Color. As it died, she applauded me on and told me what a good little scout I was! AWESOME! So I’m killing any Predators I find, splashing Color on them. Later, a Brother reprimanded me, telling me throwing Color around is taboo. Then the Color itself starts whispering, “You’re wasting your soul.” Then from a conversion, I surmise that there’s relationship between Color spent in an area and the Predators that appear. Suddenly, I’m not sure if killing Predators is a mistake or not. ARGH!!!!
The Void is hauntingly beautiful, with a mysterious story, and even more mysterious game play. This game is most certainly not for everyone. I know people who would hate this game and others who would love it. It’s slow paced and sometimes unforgiving, which I can stomach in small bites. Too much time with The Void gave me nightmares or odd dreams. The Void’s rather inventive game play, coupled with a heck of a deal on Steam, make it worth playing.
-Anne @ annetrent.com