Often the decision to buy or not buy a game is a process you want to take your time with, where you want to weight up the pros and cons of a particular game, and take in all the opinions and footage you can find so you can be as well informed as possible before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Other times, you might just see a game and know that you want to play it, and make snap-decision on the spot. This is what happened for me when I saw the Post Void trailer. It’s an acid trip riff on the style of early first-person shooters, a kind of Fear and Loathing in Castle Wolfenstein 3D. I had to pause the trailer because I knew that I wanted to play it, and when I loaded up the Steam page, and saw that it was only $2/£1.56 with the launch discount, regular price $3/£2.33, I just bought it there and then.
It has a kind of warped reality, handcrafted feel to it, where the world bends around you as you progress through each level, and all of the enemies and weapons and HUD elements have an otherworldly feel to them. Clearly, the game is drawing on the likes of the original Doom and particularly Wolfenstein 3D for the basic environment and level design, but there’s an off-kilter vibe hear that’s perhaps more in line with something like Hotline Miami.
There’s a frenetic feel along similar lines to Hotline Miami, too. Your health is represented as a liquid in an idol you’re clasping in your left hand, gradually draining from the bottom. It’s constantly dripping away, getting refilled each time you kill one of the various enemies the game throws at you. This means you’ve not got time to hang around, as you’re forced to keep moving onto the next enemy to kill.
There’s a total of 11 levels in the game, with heavily randomized elements. It’s structure as a somewhat rogueish permadeath game, so if you die once it’s right back to the beginning. As you reach the end of each level, you’re presented with a choice of various different upgrades to help you take on the increasingly difficult enemies.
I think most people will know if this game is for them or not after a few seconds of the trailer. Clearly this is not a big-budget game, and the impulse purchase price reflects that, but I think the extremely expressive aesthetic, the tight feeling movement, and unique setting and tone make it easily worth the asking price. I’ve only been able to make it to the fourth level so far, but I will definitely be jumping back in to see how much further I can get.