Review: ‘Void Bastards’ and ‘Outer Wilds’ explore potential of outer space

Outer space is a place of infinite possibilities and hard realities. It can be a setting that invites the fantastic with lightsabers and the Force, and it can also be a sobering locale bounded by science. That’s part of the reason it attracts the imagination.

Two indie titles, “Void Bastards” and “Outer Wilds” tackle different aspects of space-faring. The first game is a tongue-in-cheek, rogue-like effort that puts players in the shoes of inmates who are forced to jump start their prison ship after it becomes stuck in the Sargasso Nebula. On the other hand, “Outer Wilds” puts players in the middle of a peculiar solar system with a star on the verge of going into a supernova. Thankfully, the protagonist is stuck in a time loop.

“Void Bastards” is the better game between the two. It’s a more focused project with a twisted sense of humor as players try to repair their ship, the Void Ark. The process seems Sisyphean as they deal with one setback after another.

Players survive by boarding other vessels and scavenging for material while fending off citizens lurking aboard. They choose from three categories of weapons to do each job, but players have to pore over the ships’ randomized layouts, inhabitants and hazards.

A vessel could be on fire or it could have its power shut off. Players could encounter powerful aliens or annoyingly weak ones. Because there’s a variety of combinations, players have to plan ahead for each encounter. They’ll also have to weigh the risks and rewards of staying aboard to rifle through one last room versus fleeing if they’re health is low.

If players die, their character stays dead and the uptight droid on the Void Ark rehydrates a new prisoner, who has a different set of talents and characteristics. This randomization on both sides creates a game with plenty of replayability and new sets of challenges.

“Void Bastards” works because it presents players with problems and offers tools to overcome them. Even if players roll a hero who has poor traits, they can fix things through gene therapy ships. If they’re running low on ammo, they must adapt their tactics and take new weapons into battle.

It’s a game that rewards exploration of gameplay, and that variety keeps “Void Bastards” from being repetitive. They offer fresh challenges as players accomplish every objective to escape the Sargasso Nebula while also powering up their gear.

While “Void Bastards”

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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