The Void review

Don't be afraid. Hold our hand and step into this year's most imaginative PC release

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Guarding these damsels are the brothers – towering figures of flesh and metal that have crawled up from the darkness beneath the Void to regulate the use of the vital colour. Brothers guard sisters, using their horrific physical presence to crush any hint of insurrection or wasted colour, but the sisters remain completely in its thrall, incapable of refusing any proffered gifts.

You have to find a way to live within the rules set by the Void’s inhabitants – bowing meekly when a brother looks your way, but following your own agenda, offering your own colour to the sister when their brother’s attention is elsewhere. There is a real sense of carving your own path in this unreal dimension: early on, you’re too weak to stand up to either side. But develop your abilities, and you’ll be able to retaliate against attackers.

In stripping away the semi-relatable situations of most RPGs, The Void has cultivated one of gaming’s purest roleplaying sensations. There’s no good/evil dichotomy here: with no party to please or semblance of society to conform to, helping an ostensibly vulnerable sister or conforming to a sceptical brother’s whims become acts of personal choice.

There’s another presence in the Void, who’s provenance isn’t directly explained. Predators exist in the chambers around the sisters’ central grottos. Eyeless and vicious, they attack without provocation. They eat colour, and are drawn by its use: splash too much around and they’ll invariably appear. As you uproot shoots of colour, draw glyphs and mine your own colour, you’ll notice an increase in hungry local denizens. Again, The Void is happy to let you do your own thing with this information. Lethal close up, most predators are simple creatures – give them a wide enough berth and they’ll leave you alone. Decide to cleanse one of your chambers, and you’ll have to burn more colour, perhaps drawing more of them in.

If you do choose the killy option, you’ll find the combat system simple, if a touch unsatisfying. Holding Ctrl slows the world to a crawl, giving you time to swirl your mouse around various glyphs. Offensive symbols come into play later in the game, but standard colour, lumped onto a foe in sploshes, is more than enough to take down an average predator. Keep piling it on and most will fall eventually, but be warned – this is wasting colour in the eyes of the brothers. As they’re blind, and you’re new in their world, they assume that you’re a brother too. Wasting colour shows them you’re different and makes you a target.

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DescriptionAs a game, The Void demonstrates that the PC is the most exciting gaming platform. Independent in development, game mechanics and spirit, this creative adventure title simply wouldn’t work anywhere else.
US censor rating""
UK censor rating"12+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)