Part twin-stick shooter, part rogue-like, and part loot-heavy RPG, Flying Oak Games’ NeuroVoider combines a number of gameplay mechanics to create something unique. Should you brave its new world of trigger-happy robots and permadeath, or is this one fight not worth taking?
Fans of shooters like Nuclear Throne or Enter the Gungeon will feel right at home with NeuroVoider. Players take control of a brain that can harvest robotic parts to form a near unstoppable killing machine. Three different classes are available, each with their own unique playstyle. Those looking to melee their way to victory can utilize the Dash class, which comes with a dash mechanic that utilizes i-frames. Want a bit more firepower? The Berzerker class and its rapid fire option may be up your alley. Those who would want to tank their way to victory can always go with the Fortress class, which comes with a shield mechanic. Classes can be changed between levels (if you have the gear), and all have their benefits and drawbacks.
NeuroVoider gets that much deeper when it comes to its loot system. A number of guns, armor pieces, and mobility parts can all be collected on the battlefield from certain enemies and containers, and can be swapped out between stages. Some loot is more rare than others, with the best gear offering a distinct advantage. Parts can also be upgraded with its scrap currency, offering a healthy amount of customization for each playthrough. A game over means starting from scratch though, so careful planning is critical.
Each game in NeuroVoider spans a set amount of stages across subways, graveyards, furnaces, and more. All levels are procedurally generated, and the same levels often appear multiple times, leading to some repetition. Each level is ranked on size, Elites (number of difficult enemies), and loot, which are determined randomly and can be chosen from a list of three choices before each level. It is nice to have this choice, and its risk-reward system adds some welcome tension.
The ultimate goal in each level is to destroy the generators that are spread around each area. A number of enemies packed with guns, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, and other weaponry stand in your way, and it’s up to the player to get through the masses. Though a map is available, the ability to see where these generators are located (or anything but the layout) would make travel easier.
Making things interesting is an energy meter, similar to the stamina system found in Dark Souls and Nioh. This forces players to plan out their shots, and prevents players from laying on the triggers. It’s a welcome addition, and it adds some depth.
Every couple of levels pits the player against a larger-than-life boss. A spectacle of multi-color bullets and mayhem, these bouts can oftentimes feel a little unfair. Fire comes from all sides, and smaller enemies frequently spawn in each small arena. It feels like each bout was planned for multiple players, so those fighting solo best bring their A game.
Those who do have a buddy or three can take on NeuroVoider with up to four players. Though no online mode is available, there are Daily Challenges that put your best run for the day in a special mode on an online leaderboard.
Rounding out the package are some stellar synth tunes by Dan Terminus. Its upbeat tempo suits the action well – those who found themselves blasting Hotline Miami’s beats will no doubt do the same here.
NeuroVoider embodies the textbook definition of “git gud.” Though some may balk at its challenge and grind, those who stick with it will get absorbed in the search for the perfect run.