When I first looked at Blue Manchu’s Void Bastards I knew I had to get my hands on it. The comic-style art, and rogue-lite gameplay seemed to suit what I look for in a game down to a tee. Rogue-lite shooter; silly adventures in space; killing everything in sight. Where could I go wrong?
In Void Bastards, you take on the role of a prisoner mid-transport when the ship breaks down. It’s now you’re job to board other derelict vessels in search of parts for your ship, all while collecting other necessary supplies and fighting off space pirates and other unsavoury guests. I absolutely love this kind of story. I’m not some grand hero at the beginning of the game, or in this case, at all. I’m a nobody, destined to die in space if I don’t do something about it. Using the supplies I find, I’ll have to craft my way to safety with new weapons, gear, and items, each enhancing my abilities and progressing the story. All the while managing what scarce supplies I actually have.
Starting a new game, I was greeted with a narrative told through comic-like panels, sprawled out as if written and drawn on a page. This really fit the tone of Void Bastards very well, since it’s generally pretty funny in terms of story. The narrator is great, and delivers hilarious messages throughout your play in a sophisticated tone, which really drives home the deadpan comedy from a ship AI.
Combat in Void Bastards, at least in my case, was rather simple. While this isn’t really a deal breaker, I do think the game suffers a bit from it. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, I found myself really enjoying the run and gun style of combat that Void Bastards delivers. My criticism comes from a place of love, Blue Manchu! I just wish there were more weapons and a more complex combat mechanic. Just personal preference, honestly. Overall, the game play and combat mesh really well together.
Void Bastards also has decent crafting systems that allow for you to upgrade and improve your equipment in the game. This takes the place of the traditional leveling system that you’d find in most rogue-lite games. Personally, I think this is what helps Void Bastards stand out in a market that seems to be over-saturated with games of the same genre. The upgrades were all well balanced and seemed to fit the game’s overall themes. Honestly, the Bushwhackers seemed to be my favorite items and I found myself deploying them often to deal with annoying enemies like Tourists, and larger enemies like Screws.
If you’re into the rogue-lite genre, like atmospheric immersive sims like BioShock, System Shock 2, or just a dose of humor in your FPS, then I highly recommend you give Void Bastards a shot. With its appealing comic book art style, excellent soundtrack, and gritty space aesthetic, I think you’ll find yourself right at home.
You can pick up a copy of Void Bastards on PC and Xbox One for $29.99!