App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Style isn't everything, but it can go a long way toward making a game much more enjoyable than it might otherwise be. This is certainly the case for Void-X, a very straightforward and simple horizontal shooter that has an unbelievably confident aesthetic identity that feels great to play around in as a result.
Void-X presents a black and white, pixelated, rain-soaked cityscape backed by a gentle and dark drum and bass track. A plain text prompt blinks in the center of this view with instructions "Tap to start." Doing so launches a ship you control into the foreground where you tap and slide your finger around to auto-fire at enemy aircraft to try and take them down and maximize your score.
Shots coming from your ship are green, while enemy fire is red. If you dodge and shoot your way through a few waves of enemies successfully, you then encounter a boss fight which rewards you with additional health and a powerup for your ship before moving on to a more difficult stage. If you die at any point in Void-X, your score is totaled and you have the option to start the game over from the beginning again.
Soak it in
There's no checkpoints in Void-X, nor is there any currency or upgrades to carry between runs. In fact, there are virtually no additional options, modes, or things to do in the game besides adjusting your control sensitivity, turning the music on or off, and playing the one mode it has.
This barebones approach all feels purposeful, though. Void-X is all about setting a specific tone and having you do one specific thing within it. A sort of ominous cool envelops you while you slide and shoot and keeping the focus on exactly that frees you from distraction and makes this simple game a fun, no-frills challenge worth playing repeatedly.
Style over stability
I really respect Void-X for committing above all else to its specific look and feel, but there are some aspects of this game that are surprisingly rough considering the game's apparent attention-to-detail on the surface. Most of these problems crop up if you switch out of the app and return to it. Sometimes, Void-X may be unresponsive, or the music won't play. In some instances I've returned to the game on the pause screen but the action of the game is still moving and playing out underneath the menu.
To be fair, Void-X isn't the kind of game where you'll really want or need to be hopping in and out of it in the midst of a run. Even my longest individual sessions have only managed to be around 10 minutes. This doesn't excuse technical issues like this, though, so they are worth calling out here.
The bottom line
Void-X is a game where it's style is the substance. There's nothing special or unique about its side-scrolling shooter action besides the way it looks and makes you feel. This is 100% ok by me, though. The tone of Void-X is right up my alley to the point that it serves as a nice escape into another world where everything is simple, manageable, and cool. I don’t really need a game to do much more than that to leave me satisfied.