Perhaps 2023 will go down as the year that everyone realized we need more 2D narrative platformers. Inspired from both Another World and Limbo, this year both Planet of Lana and Full Void seem to aim for the same crowd. But where Lana was poetic and emotional, Full Void is darker and pixelated. Is it worth your time? Let’s find out in our Full Void review.
We are not provided with many story details at the beginning of Full Void. As opposed to Lana where a fictional language is used between characters, there is no dialogue in OutOfTheBit’s platformer. An interesting choice going all in on the narrative, even though nothing much happens here. We know that our main character is looking for his brother and that he’s up against a mysterious robotic threat. The world in Full Void has clearly gone to heck, because of misuse of technology.
As this is a narrative platformer, we’ll have to solve puzzles, dispose of enemies through clever use of traps and time our jumps correctly. That’s mostly all there is to Full Void’s gameplay. The overall sense of “deja vu” might indeed be strong at times, as there really is nothing original or new here. The one new feature is the introduction, halfway through, of a robot that we can guide with our PC to solve some puzzles. Basically, the robot will obey all the single commands we tell it.
In the short time we’ll spend in Full Void we’ll move through different scenarios, from sewers to a robot factory and tech offices. Unfortunately, the look and feel of the city seem to be mostly an afterthought. After the first few scenes, we’ll spend time mostly confined inside buildings. Especially considering the final dedication before the credits roll, there would have been several opportunities to build upon that juxtaposition between past and present.
While the sense of loneliness in the world is just right, we’ll be spending more time figuring out puzzles rather than wondering how everything went to hell. This is a bit of a missed opportunity for the game, building upon that would have given the game a unique identity. Instead, once you’re past the first twenty minutes, Full Void settles back into a familiar rhythm of enemy chases, puzzles and platforming.
The gameplay is overall okay, with pacing that never really allows a moment of respite. Controls are a bit too stiff at times, but not a dealbreaker. There are a couple of “because videogames” moments which were slightly irritating. For example, having to use a particular chair to climb to a vent, because the other chair was in another room, parallel to the one you needed to use and, obviously, the game would not let you use the third dimension.
The pixel art is definitely a stand-out, going for a sort of “upgraded 16 bit”, with several cutscenes (mostly in the first half) which definitely help the player immerse in the dystopian world. Not much going on sound-wise, except when the soundtrack underlines a chase scene, most of the game is spent in silence with some ambient sound effects.
Overall, Full Void is a fine platformer. It does not do much with its few unique characteristics, unfortunately. It seems content to just bring back some of the familiar scenarios of other entries in the genre. If you love your platformer to be 2D and retro, you’ll definitely feel at home. But, chances are, you will probably be struggling to remember Full Void six months from now.
Full Void: Full Void is a short but entertaining 2D platformer, seemingly content to bring back familiar scenarios and mechanics from past games, rather than try something unique. – Damiano Gerli