Voxatron 0.1.6 Alpha Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Voxel technology
  • (4 more, see all...)

Voxatron is not like other games. It doesn't conform to what the market wants. It's like the cool kid who wares cool clothes before they become cool.

Voxatron is developed by Lexaloffle Games and it features no particular story. It's just a reson to have fun, although sometimes I wonder why are independent developers so determined to alienate users by implementing difficult control schemes; more on this subject later.

Installation

This game costs money, therefore there is no download available. Customers can buy the game from the official website were the developers offer it in many formats: DEB files, tar.gz archived binaries and RPM files, all for 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

The installation needs to be done from the terminal. We've installed it on Ubuntu 11.10. Users might need to install additional packages, but we didn't have to. Keep in mind that the game is still in Alpha stage so bugs might be present.

Gameplay

Voxatron doesn't has a story per say. It's the kind of game you build a story for, in you mind. Users control an avatar (not that kind), in a 2.5 environment, with the WASD keys and shoot with the IJKL keys or the Arrow keys. This kind of control scheme was also used in The Binding of Isaac, a great game we've reviewed a week ago.

The problem with the control is that it’s not sufficient to press the correspondent key to shoot, as the character has to face the right way. This means that if your running from up to down and some enemies attack you from the left, you have to press left one time. It will not make your character turn left, it will just turn him in the right direction, and then you shoot.

Anyway, back to the gameplay. The player makes his way from one level to another, from one arena to another. The difficulty grows almost exponentially with each level, so if you’re not a patient man set out to learn a different way of playing game, just for Voxatron, you might feel frustrated after dying 20 times in the fourth or the fifth arena.

It’s not just mindless shooting after all! Players can find upgrades for the weapons, or new weapons, although everything has limited ammunition besides the main gun, which can only be described as a pea shooter.

There are a lot of interesting items. Although the game has a scoring system, I didn't cared to much about it, because getting sushi and chocolate from the ground for points seemed useless. I was more interested in the weapon used to fire in three directions or a freeze bonus that would stop everything on the screen.

Voxatron also features a comprehensive level editor, and there are quite a few fans out there already building tons of new levels.

The game itself is constructed on voxels, but I’m not sure it’s the same voxel technology used 10-12 years ago. I bet not many of you remember that voxels were first introduced in a little game called Delta Force, a game that spawned numerous other titles since then.

A voxel is a three dimensional pixel. In the case of Delta Force, the entire world was built from tens of thousands of voxels, giving the impression of normal graphics, at least for that era. In theory, if you cram enough voxels into a scene, it shouldn’t be possible to differentiate it between wire frame graphics and voxel type technology.

The problems is that the procedure is really processor demanding. In Voxatron, the voxels (if it’s the same tehnology) are quite big and make up a world which seems to be constructed from Lego pieces. Everything can be destroyed and this can work both ways. You can either hide behind a wall to stay safe, or you can terminate the enemies that hide themselves.

The game is quite taxing on the finger. The arenas become progressively difficult and I'm certain that players need to spend a lot of time in front of the PC in order to master the controls and finish this game, although I would like to meet a person capable of such a feat.

The Bad

As I said before, Voxatron has only one major problem. The controls are difficult to master and most of the time I died because of them. Moreover, some levels are built in a puzzle fashion and you can't shoot your way out of them, most of the time it involves running in circles and shooting the other targets.

The Good

Besides being a fun shooter, Voxatron is also a puzzle game, in some instances. Some rooms are not as quite clear cut as users might think and sometimes it takes some time to get the solutions. Also the physics system is fun and the fact that everything can be destroyed in a level makes the game a lot challenging that users might imagine.

Conclusion

Voxatron, like many other indie games launched these days, is a throwback to the 90's. It takes us back to the time when games were games and today's men were boys. It's not an amazing title, but the ensuing melancholy is enough for most of us.



user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 2
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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