void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium’s name may sound perplexing at first, but digging deeper unveils how its gameplay is more like the famous Pokemon Mystery Dungeon with a difficulty boost and a darker story. Instead of showing a yellow electric mouse you mean business with your rock-hard Geodude-grade fists, you’re a caring Robot only doing the necessities. Find out how Void Terrarium compares in this review!
Rebooted up as a robot, you’ve come to realize the lonely world shrouded in deadly pollution. Upon exploring some more, you made a huge discovery — a young girl, and not just any girl; the last surviving human! The unfortunate news is, she’s on the verge of death. It’s up to you, as her last hope, to save her by going on dungeon runs and scavenging materials to meet her needs.
The story is brilliant and heart touching, although it can be unforgiving depending on the decisions made. Its events can even be out of your control, but for the most part, there is an alternate ending to cater for the unsatisfied remnants. It doesn’t follow the pattern common in other games, which makes it simple to miss, but carefully thinking about it makes it understandable why it was done that way.
Void Terrarium mixes Pokemon Mystery Dungeon mechanics with roguelike elements. You set out into a dungeon and must locate the portal on each level to climb till the end. Monsters and malicious machinery block your path, and you must overcome them and complete your objectives. It sounds simple, but the true difficulty comes from the various responsibilities given to you: trying to care for the human child through a Tamagotichi-like device, managing your various resources, and fighting off formidable foes. A ‘Game Over’ lurks around every corner if you fail to handle your responsibilities properly. Thankfully, it just prompts you back to the title screen instead of having to start a new save.
Each time you enter a dungeon, you begin at level 1. During your expedition of each dungeon, you will unlock skills upon leveling and gather items in a limited capacity inventory. Upon leaving, only human food and blueprints remain. Even acquired combat skills are sent to the void. While this may seem disheartening, it works extraordinarily well. Every dungeon feels like you’re beginning anew and you must work your way up to the top. It doesn’t take too long and you can quit halfway through a dungeon if you so choose to. This is normally the recommended route when attempting to complete objectives, as there is no real benefit in continuing besides bragging rights and the collection of additional resources.
Dungeons are grid-based environments filled with traps, items, and enemies. The basics are cracked down on early in the game and the controls work exceptionally well with the type of gameplay Void Terrarium provides. Target locking is one of the many examples, which makes battles smooth, followed by diagonal movement, which makes movement fluid through the map.
You begin with a set amount of HP and EN. While HP is self-explanatory, EN is short for the energy the robot possesses. Running out of energy depletes a chunk of HP with each turn. Motion and combat skills drain EN, and the only way to recover it is with scavenged batteries. A lack of items doesn’t always mean certain death. Self-healing is possible with the sacrifice of EN and turns, but it does not come without its risk; during your state of recovery, enemies won’t wait and will likely approach you from the shadows.
A majority of the story dungeon floors aren’t too steep. Each move you make returns a turn for enemies. There’s a lot of strategic thinking involved when attempting to escape the grips of powerful opponents. Sometimes it’s seemingly impossible, but with the proper usage of items, even the impossibilities can be questioned. The wrong turn could have you sandwiched between enemies. They become attracted to your presence like the stale gum that just won’t come off your shoe. Brute force is the alternative option, but can eventually do you in. How you play is dependent on you and there are various skills to help match your ideal playstyle. Items too can become a double-edged blade with contamination. Besides the chance of infecting yourself with a status ailment, it can either drastically strengthen the item or weaken it.
Dungeons are filled with a variety of hidden traps that activate once stepped on. They aim to obstruct you by inflicting status ailments and scattering your items on the floor. Of cause, there are some obtainable passive skills that help deal with these hindrances.
The quantity of traps in this game is high and they get the job done, but a majority of the time, it’s done when no enemy is around to seize the advantage. It can sometimes be seen as an inconvenience rather than a tactical advantage where the odds are against you.
The game has a sufficient amount of enemies and their appearances aren’t the only thing that differentiates them. Some seem like their HP is on steroids while packing a punch. Some explode upon death, leaving behind a poisonous substance to debilitate you. Some even steal a random item from your inventory and attempt to make an escape. The enemies in this game aren’t just about looks and the difference in the power of their attack. It goes way beyond and it’s exhilarating to discover them all. Well, maybe not always to some people, as some faces incite despair.
Robots aren’t unknown to upgrades. In Void Terrarium, they enhance your performance from the start of a dungeon. While these buffs and modifications aren’t needed during the early-game play, you will eventually find them essential by the headaches you may succumb to from trying to progress further. As you progress, they make the game more manageable. The more upgrades you make, the more dungeons would feel like a breeze to play through.
The game offers three types of upgrades — Knacks, Custom Parts, and Crafting Bonuses. Knacks give you more influence over the combat and passive skills you pull from level-up during dungeon crawling. Custom parts let you swap out your default combat skill to replace it with another. Crafting bonuses are permanent buffs you accumulate from crafting items.
To secure most of these upgrades, you need blueprints. These blueprints must be collected and their contents must be crafted for the bonus buffs. Additionally, spare resources can be used to obtain skill removal points, which can be used to prevent the drawing of specific skills while dungeon crawling. Skill removal points are scarce, but it helps give you more control for better dungeon runs.
A decent amount of grinding must be done to cope with the difficulties of Void Terrarium. The various items you collect during your journey are converted into resources, and the majority of crafts demand these resources. Any shortage means revisiting dungeons to gather enough.
You may think if you die often, you may have sufficient resources to cover yourself for a majority of the game; however, this isn’t always the case. There’s a lot of crafting recipes to utilize and it may clash with the resources needed for the main objective.
Child Health Care
Kids must not be left alone. The same can be said about the one you’re raising in this game. A device will allow you to take care of the needs of the human while journeying through dungeons to collect food and other supplies. This differentiates the game from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series and similar games of its nature. It adds to the difficulty when summing up all of the different mechanics that must be taken advantage of during dungeon runs, and poor management will result in the child’s demise.
Feeding the child contaminated food you recover from dungeon runs will make her sick. When she becomes sick, everything you do must come to a halt and an additional dungeon must be done. It’s short, but could be a tight stretch with the lack of time before the child surrenders to her illness. This adds a realistic approach to the game and has been executed greatly, with a range of different illnesses to contract.
Crafting items isn’t solely for the bonuses. You can decorate your Terrarium with the items you made. It can quickly get crowded with the various types of items to place, especially since the view is from a 2D perspective; however, the game provides tools to make it work.
Pointing the cursor at the piece of decor allows you to move, remove or toggle its depth. For the lazy gamer, clearing all items from the Terrarium is but the click of an option to achieve the purpose. Toggling the depth of each item is the most noteworthy mechanic of the Terrarium Editor as it allows you to perfectly organize furniture within the limited zone the game provides you with.
void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium supports auto-saving. When closing your game, the save point is determined based on the dungeon floor you’re on. Any progress made through the dungeon floor will be lost. This opens up the opportunity for reset abuse upon death and you’re almost guaranteed to never be stuck in an impossible spot when loading your save data. However, there is the rare instance when the start of the floor will surround you with enemies you won’t be able to outrun. In those hopeless situations, struggles hit a new high, especially when on a high floor number.
There’s no penalty for death. You’ll be revived frequently for another shot until you get it right. This pushes you to constantly revisit dungeons and as you may die often, you may as well form an attachment with it. This isn’t where Void Terrarium shines in terms of replayability. Even though it’s not brightly, there are two aspects of the game which are worth replaying. They are its Endless Dungeon and getting its alternate ending.
Thanks to the game’s autosaving feature, unlocking the alternate ending isn’t troublesome at all. It’s as simple as loading back up the file and following the straightforward instructions. You probably won’t play it more than 3 times, but it’s additional content, so still worth checking out.
The Endless Dungeon, although optional, offers 200 floors of dungeon crawling fun in which each quarter rewards a rare blueprint. It contains all of the items and enemies from all of the dungeons in the game, which his a bonus for people who wish to grind and complete their Terrarium. It becomes inaccessible in the final portion of the story, which is a bummer because of its severed ties with the best form of replayability in the game.
Soundtrack and Graphics
The soundtrack is incredible with its calming music to help ease the possible frustrations with the game’s difficulty. It makes the tear-dropping moments, both tragic and joyful, more worthwhile, and enhances the effects it leaves us. Mixed in with electronic-styled music, it intensifies the dungeon crawling and combat aspects of the game to make them much more enjoyable.
The game has a beautifully charming art style that blends in perfectly with its sympathetic characters and astonishing music. On the other hand, the dungeon designs aren’t much of a sight to be seen. At most, they reflect their nature of the wasteland. The real beauty comes from the Terrarium with its adorable art style, the little details of actions such as feeding and comforting, and a multitude of text emoji expressions.
It’s unbelievably easy to get immersed in Void Terrarium’s gameplay. Before you know it, one hour can turn to three, and that three could end up jumping to six. The game mixes the mechanics known in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon with some unique of its own to heighten difficulty without making it excruciatingly brutal. Mixed with a heartwarming story and a fantastic soundtrack, the only major things it suffers from are its lack of dungeons and the absence of familiar faces.
void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium gets an 8.5/10.