Brains aren’t really designed to work on their own. They need a body to pull off all the fun things they can think up, and if that body happens to be a robotic one with interchangeable parts for maximum destructive potential then all the better. NeuroVoider sees you as a brain in a robo-body set loose in a network of arenas to take out the AI robot threat, twin-stick shooting either alone of with up to three friends through swarms of bots made from pieces drawn from the same pool that will eventually be made available to you. Admitted, you’ll have to destroy a lot of robots and get lucky with the loot drops to get a nice selection of components, but it’s not like there’s a shortage of targets.
NeuroVoider is a rogue-like twin-stick shooter that arrived on itch.io the other day, and it’s alpha shows off a wonderfully fun, if obviously early, game of metal-blasting action. You start with a weak little bot in a Dash body, comprised of three pieces and two weapons. The head and body control stats such as special item power and cost, while the legs influence movement speed and knockback, plus all three together have individual stats for HP and Energy. Different body types are available, although you can’t mix and match a Dash with Rampage or Fortress so the mix & match opportunities can be limited. Each body type comes with a different special, though, as well as power rating. Dash has a short burst of speed to zip out of the way of whatever bad thing is coming its way, Rampage lets loose a berzerker stream of firepower, and Fortress pulls up a reflective shield. Each ability and weapon pulls off Energy, though, so trying to do everything all at once is a great way to end up running away defenseless for the couple of seconds it takes for the energy gauge to recharge.
The last two spots are weapons, and this is where NeuroVoider gets properly creative. Each weapon and body type has its own design, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll see the same robot twice in a row, especially thanks to the sheer volume of weapons that are available. Guns, rockets, grenades, electro-beams, regular beams, machine guns, laser-swords, chainsaws, and many more are available, if you get lucky enough to find them, and different properties can make two of the same weapon react very differently. An electric death-arc that jumps from one robot to another is nice, but if you get lucky enough to find one with a constant rate of fire rather than a brief wait between one pulse and another you’re probably going to want to hold on to it for as long as its effective. The robot horde gets tougher the farther you go, of course, and the quality of dropped weapons and body parts rises to keep pace. Holding on to a favorite weapon is a great way to get overwhelmed in a few levels, so a regular switching up of tactics is part of survival. Even if you do find a “Prophetic Gatling of Sister Shooting” (or something with as equally weird a name) it’s only got a limited period of usefulness.
At the moment NeuroVoider is obviously alpha, though, with no story and plenty of balancing in its future. Some weapons don’t seem to take any energy at all, for example, despite their immense power. It doesn’t take too many games to find a super-tough enemy armed with one-hit kill weaponry. You get one special ability at the game’s start, either active or passive depending on which of the 22 currently available you select, but choosing anything other than Loot Fest minimizes the destructive potential so much that it’s hard to choose anything else. As for the sensor that lets out a ping with a touch of the X button, I still haven’t found a use for that. Still, he word “alpha” is in there for a reason, and as first releases go it’s a great start that leaves me anticipating its development over the coming months.
As for the future, there’s plenty to come. Bosses, different environments, more weaponry and robo-parts, and even branching paths will be making an appearance. At the moment NeuroVoider is an endless run through the procedurally-generated rooms of what could be pretty much anywhere, whether spaceship or underground bunker, but even with its simple progression it’s still great fun to plunk a brain into a robo-body and shoot your way in as far as possible. Eventually, though, something is going to go wrong as the screen glitches out and your brain flops around on the cold metal deck. A mind may be a terrible thing to lose, but it’s even worse when it’s squished by a relentless kill-crazed robot horde.