31 Oct 2011

Back in Block: Voxatron

It wasn’t too long ago that I gazed upon Voxatron with the eyes of a small child, taking in the lights and colours and musical beats and wondering what it would be like to sample such retro delight. Thankfully, fate stepped up to the plate, the Humble Voxatron Debut was announced and I purchased the alpha version (and thus all subsequent updates) for a snip of the future RRP.

Besides the price plummet there are two advantages here. Firstly, I don’t need to remember to purchase Voxatron once it hits the netwaves. Secondly, I get to see and feel it in action right now.

After a full playthrough of this twenty level version of the game, I find myself in two minds about the experience. It’s beautiful and bold in its presentation and there is a certain old school charm; the way enemies flock to you like vultures on carrion, the bip-bip-bip of your pea shooting limbs as minotaurs and hippo-things crumble to voxels. However, that may be why it hasn’t instantly grabbed me. Voxatron is pretty much as I expected it to be. There have been few surprises.

Having said that, it’s thoroughly pleasing to play. The environments are varied and there are a couple of trickier boss fights that give a taste of how the game may expand on the traditions of arcade shootering given half a chance. There’s also the destructability which, if not a surprise, is certainly an interesting little hook. Everything in the world deteriorates with blaster fire, collapsing trees and pillars if you knock out the supports. You’ll even explode on death, taking revenge on those who ended you and severely pockmarking the world - this provides no advantage, but has a tendency to look fantastic.

Certainly, I have no right to judge it having only played the demonstration and there is a part of me which suspects that Voxatron reserves a couple of tricks up its sleeve. It also comes with a level editor which immediately extends its appeal and is bound to result in a wave of community-generated madness in wake of the game’s release.

As mentioned, Voxatron is pay what you want via the Humble Bundle for the next two weeks. You get the alpha now, full game on release.

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