Voxterium

Ill start off by explaining the background of this games’ origins so to speak. Have you heard of Ludum Dare? Ludum dare is a “regular accelerated game development Event”, where developers have 48 hours to create a game based on a theme suggested by the community. Lots of indie developers can be found partaking in such events, including some well-known faces such as Markus Persson, or more commonly known as Notch. Partaking in this event requires skill, creating a game in 48 Hours is not an easy task, as many developers would tell you, a good game could take several years to perfect.

Picardy third Entertainment, ever heard of it? No? Well in all honesty, neither had I, and that’s the root of the problem. In such a competitive industry, it is difficult for new independent developers to stand out against the big guns,  such as Bioware, Activision or Bethesda. And that’s what we, we being Games-Tec, want to try and change, by showing Indie Developers off to our growing community, in the hope they get the the recognition they deserve. Starting with Voxterium, the game I am reviewing today, which was created by Ross Pinkstaff (screen name: Kitch), the head of Picardy Third Entertainment.

Lets go back in time to 1978, do you know what was released in that year? Space Invaders, the very game which helped develop gaming from a novelty to a global industry. Now you ask, why do you bring up Space Invaders? This article is about a different game? Well bring up the aim of Space Invaders in your mind, what is it? To shoot all the enemy ships and not get shot yourself, with the game getting progressively harder and the ships get closer and closer. The same concept is applied in Voxterium, except given a cool 3-Dimensional twist.

Instead of ships, there is a virus. To be specific, a computer virus. Security has failed and it is up to you, to contain the growing virus until the security is back Online. It starts off with a single cube in the middle of the computer space. This central cube is the virus. It quickly expands filling the space and its your aim to stop it. Armed with a laser shooter, and a fully 3-Dimensional space to move about in, you take control. The controls are simple enough, to zoom in or out you scroll, to shoot, click left button, to move, you simply move the mouse in the direction you want to rotate about the centre cube, (however these controls are inversed). The centre point of your screen is fixed to the centre of that first cube. This adds a further degree of difficulty as to hit all parts of the virus growth you have to move around it, you cant stay in one place. (I’ll mention at this point, I would have liked an option to turn inverse controls off.)

Unfortunately for you the virus has a self defence mechanism, it fires out explosive cubes, which kill you upon contact, but these are easily identifiable by the Skull-&-Crossbones on them, and depending on your difficulty are still difficult to out manoeuvre. Also, by striking certain cubes of the virus (which can be told apart from the rest by their bright red colour), you get power ups such as double gun or big guns. My personal favourite: BIG GUNS. Using this effectively will enable you to cut down the virus growth to bare minimum again.

To win the game, simply destroy all of the virus. Simple enough? Well let me warn you now, unless you play on Noob difficulty, its pretty damn hard! I’ve played the game quite a bit and I’ve yet to actually do so.

Now to you, the reader of this article, the game may look boring, and I’ll admit it has its faults, for example on the easier difficulties, its becomes easy to predict the Bomb outbursts and avoid them, but these faults are outweighed by how addicting this game actually is. The simpleness it possesses, really has stuck on me. Its been along time since I’ve played a simple game which is so entertaining, and I am grateful to Kitch for producing it.

But wait there’s more! Kitch has a second game in the works, a sequel, Voxterium: Revision. This game seems to have everything which I wanted in my mind to make the first even better, think if Kitch can make Voxterium in 48 hours, think how much better it could be when he has more time to produce it. Now from the footage that is available, there are more enemies to avoid than ever and the game looks even more spectacular with an array of new lights and colours.

The game itself looks like a possible 3D competitor for Geometry Wars, the popular XBLA game. Perhaps Kitch should try and release it there? I know I would buy it.

So, where do I stand on Voxterium? I feel this game has real potential if taken in the right direction, so much can be developed from this and it is a really clever original game.

To get the game yourself go to:

http://bit.ly/zNiA8a

To see Kitch’s Blog and updates/videos/news on Voxetron: Revision go to:

http://bit.ly/w9C5Uz

Or follow him on twitter at:

http://bit.ly/znq0Mk

 

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