In a sea of twin-stick shooters, a local-only multiplayer title called NeuroVoider stands out as one of the most enjoyable local multiplayer experiences I’ve had in quite some time. While the inclusion of online multiplayer would give the game a more lasting impression, what it does do is so well done and addicting that I kept coming back to the game for the daily challenges without hesitation. As a brain that hops into a futuristic and fully customized evil robot killing machine, I fought countless foes through procedurally generated locales and collected a ton of sweet loot.
NeuroVoider combines the hack ‘n’ slash genre with twin-stick shooter control mechanics and a sheer number of enemies and incoming projectiles that rival most bullet hell titles. After breaking loose from your tank, and picking your pretty awesome randomized futuristic sounding robot name, you are required to choose a class from the three different ones being offered. Although you may start as the Dash class, with both a melee and a ranged weapon and the ability to dash through bullets without taking damage, you may opt for the defensive Fortress class or the offensive Rampage class. While the Fortress class can create a shield around itself, I found myself drawn to the offensive abilities of the Rampage. Sporting two ranged weapons at the start; you can choose to fire your weapons into an overcharged state, increasing both your firepower and mobility. With that said, based on the items and equipment that you find once you complete a level, you can completely customize your character any way you see fit.
Regardless of your class, you can select from over twenty different skills. These range from active skills such as, healing either your own character or your entire team, to ones that wipe the screen clear of bullets. Others provide a passive ability, like ensuring all looted weapons are melee based or letting you die once per level. There are so many different combinations, you’d be hard pressed to not at least experiment, especially if you have three friends playing the game with you. As you begin your journey, you are presented with three possible areas to explore, each ranging in size, the amount of loot you will find and the sheer amount of elite based enemies. These are similar to the ones you’d find in action RPG games that are bigger, badder, and provide more of a challenge, but also reward the player with more loot. Every five stages you’ll face off against a boss, requiring you to learn patterns fast and deal with additional enemies that are always spawning at the same time. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across the Metaverse levels, providing unique challenges, but also offer some of the best loot in the game.
The goal of each level is to destroy a set amount of reactors while avoiding or killing every evil robot that crosses your path. Your health dwindles quite fast, so you must do your best to dodge incoming bullets. Relying on your selected skills too much can be your downfall, as everything you use depletes your EP> From firing your weapons, swinging your swords to using your skills and abilities, everything depletes your EP. If you overheat, you’ll be unable to do anything but move for a period of time. Health pickups are rare, but there are plenty of other goodies that destroyed enemies will drop. While you can’t change your loadout during play, you can upgrade, equip new parts and repair between levels. Scrap is earned from destroying enemies, so the more enemies you kill, the more scrap you’ll gain. Fixing yourself costs a lot of scraps, so you can also sell any item that you pick up that you don’t want to use. Here, you can see the stats or special effects for everything that you equip. Gear is broken down into rarity, class, and stats.
The majority of the items I’ve found are for the class I was playing, but you will also find items for the other two classes. Equipping these pieces will alter your class, so just be careful if you equip one and find your other item slots no longer have that super awesome new item because the two classes don’t match. The balancing act of using a powerful weapon that may drain all of your EP with a single attack weighs heavy on the player if they haven’t found an adequate core that can support it. Upon death, you must restart from the very beginning of the game, but NeuroVoider does feature meta-based progression for stats. This includes the total number of runs, total time spent playing, the number of enemies killed, etc. However, on the level that you die, you will find a nemesis enemy that includes the equipment that you previously died with.
NeuroVoider is an addicting twin-stick shooter, with plenty of replay value if you have friends or family that enjoy local multiplayer. I really dig the game’s aesthetics, and the slight bend of the visuals give it a classic game feel. There are tons of different weapons and equipment pieces to combine, each with their own unique colors and visual appearance. The lack of online multiplayer is disappointing, but I’ve enjoyed playing through daily runs but would have also liked to see more things carry over to new runs outside of the stat screen. The nemesis enemy is a good step, but failing to reach that level on the next run means you lose everything.
Note: The NeuroVoider review is based on a digital PlayStation 4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.