A Void Hope - Switch Review

"A bold leap for Elden Pixels, and one I feel has paid off."

A Void Hope - Switch Review
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You don’t need us to tell you how difficult it is for the games industry at the moment. Each week, it seems a different AAA studio is reporting losses, but what is less commonly reported is how this affects the indie games industry. Mikael Forslind, Elden Pixels’ CEO and Designer, hasn’t held back on the website formerly known as Twitter, often writing about the financial plight that he and his colleagues find themselves in. It’s a worrying trend, and as a self proclaimed Elden Pixels fanboy, these developments have been extremely troubling to follow. However, despite all this, Elden Pixels’ latest title, A Void Hope, is being released on Nintendo Switch and Steam and it looks really intriguing. I can’t wait to give it a go!

The Good

Intriguing, you say? Well, yes, allow me to explain. Mainly because A Void Hope is unlike any game that Elden Pixels has been involved with to date. Up until now, they’ve been known for developing and/or publishing metroidvanias (many of which I’ve reviewed for Switchaboo). However, while A Void Hope does share some similarities with their back catalogue (2D platforming, pixel art), the actual gameplay is vastly different. A Void Hope plays out almost like a 2D survival horror, mixed with a puzzle adventure game, mixed with mystery exploration gameplay. The story follows a couple, Gilda and Keegan, whose lives are played out amidst some kind of viral outbreak. Once infected, the town’s inhabitants become zombie-like creatures known as Empties. You learn more and more about the couple as the game progresses, but the story is incredibly compelling. It’s deep, dark and moving, set against a backdrop of love, loss and hope. There are twists and turns, and it is by far the most ambitious story I’ve seen in an Elden Pixels game.

A Void Hope has some of the best pixel art out there (special shout out to artist Alexander Berggren), but that’s what you come to expect from these guys. The sound track also oozes class and is full of chip-tune, 80s inspired, synthy goodness. There’s a real feel of Stranger Things meets The Last of Us here, two media franchises that have done OK for themselves, right? All in all, the atmosphere and tone in A Void Hope hit the mark and really don’t look out of place in the current zeitgeist.

As previously mentioned, this is NOT a metroidvania. There is no interconnected gameworld in A Void Hope, but rather a series of levels that you can select from an overworld map (like in 2D Super Mario games). This approach does keep the backtracking to a minimum, and while you will need to retrace your steps on occasion, it doesn’t feel boring and you can transport around the levels pretty quickly.


  • Deep, rich and moving story
  • Pixel art and soundtrack working in harmony
  • Minimal backtracking

The Bad

A Void Hope is certainly more puzzle than action, which fits the overall tone of the experience. However, the environmental puzzles are pretty repetitive. Most of them involve pushing blocks around, allowing you to reach higher platforms. Some of the puzzles are really well thought out, but the variety is sadly lacking.

Something else slightly disappointing in A Void Hope is a lack of inventory. You don’t collect many items along the way, but when picking up anything new, there isn’t even an explanation as to what it is, nor a menu to look at. It meant I found myself not really sure what I had picked up and what it could be used for. There are icons on the pause inventory, but you’re unable to interact with them (unless I’m missing something).

Lastly, your main weapon to fight back against the Empties is a zapper-like gun. It’s quite slow, which is fine with some of the zombie-like Empties, but as you progress further in A Void Hope, the enemies become more agile, even flying like bats in some cases. At some points, the gun was completely useless, and the one-hit kills made for some pretty frustrating segments where I died A LOT.


  • Repetitive environmental puzzles
  • Lack of inventory feels shallow
  • Feeble weapon and one hit kills make for some frustrating gameplay at times

Final Score: 8/10

It’s been widely reported (though not fully corroborated) that the original Final Fantasy was so-called as an allegory to it being Hironobu Sakaguchi’s last chance saloon in the industry. So here we are, reviewing Elden Pixel’s latest title, A Void Hope. Is there any meaning behind that?

I sincerely hope not, because A Void Hope is a bold leap for Elden Pixels, and one I feel has paid off. It’s an engrossing, if slightly dark, narrative experience that will please any horror fan. The games industry would be a sadder place without Elden Pixels, so, everyone, please back your beloved indies!

Thank you for checking out our A Void Hope Switch review, thank you to Elden Pixels for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: