void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium - Switch Review
The weirdly-titled game I’ll refer to as Void Terrarium is just as strange as its title suggests. In this dungeon crawler you’ll be hunting for supplies to take care of a human child in the middle of a toxic hellscape. Does this peculiar combination have any merit or will it fall flat?
This game is a weird blend of dated elements: a better title for this game might have been Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Tamagotchi Edition. The two games come together to form something truly strange. You control a robot (affectionately named Robbie) in an empty wasteland full of dead bodies and toxic waste (think Wall-E meets a nuclear winter).
Your goal is to spruce up your settlement for the lone human survivor and take care of her like a pet. To gather resources, you must traverse randomly generated dungeons and defeat hostile robots in order to gather supplies. The dungeons, control scheme (right down to the button layout) and aesthetics seem to be copied and pasted straight from the aforementioned Pokémon spinoff series. I just wish it was as fun to play. The leveling system makes progress pointless: you revert to level one every time you enter a dungeon, meaning any perks you gained or attacks you learned from leveling up on your last attempt disappear after each completion of, or premature departure from, any dungeon. The protagonist also has an arbitrary battery level that has to be maintained in order to survive. It’s basically a hunger mechanic that depletes any time your character moves or attacks. This limits any incentive to explore since you’re out looking for materials. You’ll also be randomly called back to your home base any time the human gets sick or hungry, only to be sent back out for supplies to help her feel better. The combat is less varied and interesting than other games like it, but there is a good amount of enemy variety.
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Essentially, the dungeon crawler aspect is half-baked and the pet care aspect is a chore. There are moments that the game is fun, but then your battery will run out, you’ll be called back to home base to clean up your human’s poop or you’ll be overrun by a horde of monsters because this game makes level grinding impossible.
The randomly generated stages are quite standard for a dungeon crawler like this. Enemies, traps and loot are scattered throughout and your goal is to complete all the floors to meet whatever goal the game has given you. The backgrounds for different dungeons tend to look the same, so it all feels like one big cave. The randomized stages stave off the monotony for a while, but it doesn’t last.
Story / Personality
The story is the high point of Void Terrarium. Story events take place in a 2D home base, which is a lot clearer and more aesthetically pleasant than the dungeons. This makes the story seem more of a priority, which is a double-edged sword: the humorous ramblings of your nihilistic computer friends are hilarious and the crisp 2D graphics in these moments encapsulates the effort here.
Graphics / Art Direction
The dungeons are significantly less to look at which makes an already bland dungeon seem even less appealing. Void Terrarium seemingly puts more effort into the graphics than gameplay and even then, most of the effort was placed on the home base/pet care aspect. The atmosphere created in these fleeting moments is amazing, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed when I entered the next dungeon.
Music / Sound Design
The music is another aspect that really stands out. The eerie techno style blends really well with Void Terrarium‘s overall theme and could stand well on its own. It reminds me of the study music that was popular on YouTube for a while, a blend of instrumentals and techno sounds that stays calm, even when you’re being beaten to death. It’s really pleasant overall.
Final Score: 55%
Void Terrarium seems like a good (albeit weird) idea that is executed ineffectively. These two drastically different styles of gaming should be able to stand on their own in order to be effective in a collaborative style game like this, but sadly what we got was a game that focused too much on the idea and not the execution, so neither aspect of the gameplay feels substantial. There are moments where I had fun and there are no significant performance issues to speak of, but there are far better games in both genres that make this one feel unnecessary.
Thank you for checking out our Void Terrarium Switch review, thank you to NIS America for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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