Occasionally I’ll run into an older indie game while looking for the best games for you – because I’m always thinking about you guys. Always. The Void came to my attention just recently when the developers, Ice-Pick Lodge, put out their third game on Steam, Cargo: The Quest For Gravity. Located in Russia, this little team creates some of the most bizarre and unusual games around. While Cargo has its charms, The Void took me by surprise. If you want to see what a whole lot of creativity gets you, then look no further than this first person nightmare. Read on to see why.
Enter The Void
Imagine if Clive Barker and David Lynch had a lovechild and that kid was raised in a Russian internment camp covered in Salvador Dali posters and built based on the notes of Sigmund Freud. Now imagine that kid programming a videogame. Honestly, that fictitious child would probably be missing a few chromosomes, spend most of his waking hours in a fetal position, and be unable to react to exterior stimuli. But if he could program, it would probably come out as the indie game, The Void.
You’re going to have to bear with me since I can only assume that walking through the mechanics and story of this game is rather close to describing a particularly nasty dream. You begin in a world stripped of the one resource that keeps the sun shining and the world spinning: color. Each of the nine realms of this twisted and desolate land is controlled by one of nine sisters who allow passage through their worlds and have mostly forgotten the meaning of clothing. Powerful monsters, known as “the brothers,” guard over the each of the sisters. They are both their protectors and captors since they keep color away from each of the sisters for various reasons. And then there’s you – some naked guy who just happens to wake up on the distant shore of the youngest sister’s realm. To survive, you’ll need to play the part of a brother, manage your way through the void, and escape no matter what the cost.
Color is everything in this game. It’s the way you move, how you talk to people, how you attack, and even your own life. In this crazy wasteland, you pick up color from bits of plants growing from out of the ground, mine it from the rocks, or gather it from certain animals. Once you’ve collected any bit of color, you can – and please follow me here – put it inside you in the form of organs. With your organs, you can then process the color into a useable form where you can attack enemies or cast spells. Here’s the catch: you always need a bit of color inside of you in order to survive. Once it becomes processed, the color comes out, don’t ask me from where, and you can use it until you need more. While inside you, color plays double duty as life and stats. Fill your color belly full of red color and you’ll have more attack. There are colors for speed and defense but there are also other colors for stranger stats such as trusting. Fortunately, the process of color expelling pauses when you hit the real world. It’s only when you transport between areas through the void do you start to bleed out colors like a box of crayons in an oven.
Once you have a little color on your hands, you can start playing around with the world. Enter paint world and the world starts to slow down. Splatter a foe with paint and he’ll take a hit. More paint means more damage. You can also cast spells such as a shield or haste by painting glyphs in the air. Again, the more paint means that the spell will be stronger or last longer. The most important spell you have is to give color to other objects in the world. By infusing withered plants with color, they will pay you back in kind given a little time. And that’s where the resource management kicks in.
Pour out too much color can you might get stuck in an area until the plants bloom. Taking down all the enemies in the area might mean that you can’t mine for color or set up little traps for others. Feed the sisters the color of their choosing and you might not have enough to run away from their big brothers, let alone try to fight them off. Play The Void long enough and you begin to understand how every move you make must be calculated to survive with the smallest amount of color in your body. The thing that kills you in this game isn’t the nightmarish beasts, but starving to death from color deprivation.
Paint By Imaginary Numbers
The game lets you set your own path with several different endings to find as you crawl your way out of The Void. You can side with the brothers or build up your strength to take them all on one at time. Sisters will tell you stories about each other and will occasionally lie to get their way. Pick your battles and keep your color close at hand. You’ll drain yourself to the very last drop just to survive this beautifully nightmarish world.
The Void - http://www.tension-game.com/index_en.php