NeuroVoider presents itself as yet another twin stick shooter RPG but manages to bring some unique elements along with a retro-style gameplay that has been sorely missed.
Set aside from a medieval or a common zombie apocalypse setting, NeuroVoider decides to drop you in a futuristic setting with a humorous plot. Players will take the role of a brain that is locked in a pod, which has the sole purpose of destroying the robots that are having a party upstairs. A few seconds later, you are asked to choose one of three robotic bodies. In this short tutorial, we get to know the main classes of the game: Rampage, Dash and Fortress.
Right after this wild series of events, Flying Oak Games introduces us almost immediately to the action. The pad buttons correspond to the two weapons we can carry at the same time, which act independently from each other. R1 allows us to produce a burst attack for a brief moment, and L1 is exclusive to an ability of our choice. These range from shields, the possibility to slow time, restore a small amount of health, increase movement speed, and many more. There are 27 to choose from, and each can play a huge role in the hardest levels, especially if we plan on enjoying the game along with three friends in local co-op.
Once we are ready to rock, we get to choose one of three randomized levels. These differentiate themselves on three factors: Size (how many enemies will appear), Elites (how many special enemies we’ll encounter) and Loot (mostly chests and general drop). There is a default number of levels for each run, and sections are divided by a boss encounter until we reach the final stage against the NeuroVoider.
Enemies come in packs, each with a different pattern, size, and equipment set designed to stop the player from reaching the goal
Much like many other titles in the genre, the levels are procedurally generated, set in a number of varying scenarios. Additionally, we can select up to three different difficulty settings, something that isn’t very common but opens up the possibility for newcomers to experience a lighter version of the game if desired. That doesn’t mean that NeuroVoider is an easy game, though. Enemies come in packs, each with a different pattern, size, and equipment to stop us from our goal.
Each level has the same objective: get in, survive the robotic swarm, and destroy the generators (the quantity is randomized). Thing is, apart from our health, there is an EP bar that you always have to keep eyes on. This functions like a stamina meter but isn’t restricted to special abilities or dashing. All weapons have a unique EP cost to use, and our robotic friend can overheat for a few seconds if we are not careful, leaving yourself completely vulnerable to incoming attacks.
This is when the weapons and the systems around them show up. NeuroVoider’s customization relies on both factors: the structure of our robot and the weapons we use. The first can be changed between three sections, which are basically the head (Vision), the upper body (Core) and lower body (Transport). Each has different attributes that will increase or decrease our general stats based on our HP and EP levels. These, however, are restricted to each class, but can be easily be recycled into Scrap if we are not planning on changing the class. Scraps are the coin of Neurovoider, and it can be used for boosting equipment or buying new kit, but this is a gamble: pay a fee of scraps and get a random item in return, whether it’s a weapon or body part is up to the game!
Finding and mixing weapon combinations to suit my playstyle provided some of the finest moments in NeuroVoider.
Weapons, on the other hand, are the core of NeuroVoider. Shotguns, automatic rifles, plasma guns, small swords, big swords, laser guns, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, flamethrowers… there really is a gun for everyone. Each carries a unique (and often very funny) name, along with stats that can be upgraded later on. In the lobby screen that appears before entering the next level, you can compare current equipment with the loot just obtained, or even test the weapon to see both its fire rate and the EP consumption until it overheats.
Finding weapon combinations that suited my playstyle provided some of the finest moments in Neurovoider. One can think that opting for a long range/short range combination is the smartest thing to do, but both the classes and the special ability can really change the way we play and react to certain situations. For example, a scenario that can occur during co-op play is that a player takes on the role of the tank, whilst also being able to heal themselves. Then, a second player can choose the Dash class and opt to focus on melee/short range weapons, with a huge focus on speed and damaging the enemy. The third can serve as a DPS with two long range weapons but also opt for some group healing skills. This creates a fantastic team synergy.
There are many ways in which players can fuse and experiment the tools that NeuroVoider provides them, but it can take some time to get used to. Not much of this is explained at the beginning, and it took me a few hours until the game really clicked for me. After that, I always come back from time to time to try and set a high score in Daily Run mode, or to try to reach the final stage of the campaign. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet, and I can still hear the blasting soundtrack by Dan Terminus upstairs.
The game has been reviewed on Playstation 4 with a copy provided by Flying Oak Games. Diego Arguello spent 10 hours destroying objects and recycling robot parts for his own advantage. NeuroVoider was published by PLAYDIUS Ent., Plug In Digital and it’s also available on Steam and Xbox One.