The biggest fear I have is that robots and AI manage to take over the world. Every time I see some engineer making a robot dog thing tackle an assault course or open some doors or unscrew a bottle, I feel it is just a warning that the war of the machines is getting closer. The dominance of AI in our consciousness, news, and talking points down the pub also raises alarm bells. Has anyone seen Terminator? It’s an instruction manual for your Apple MacBook Pro. 

The action-adventure game Full Void deals with the uprising of the machines. With its retro style graphics and sound score, it could well be ripped straight from the 1980s alongside that famous movie. So let’s rage against the machine and see what it is all about. 

full void review 1
There’s pizza in Full Void!

Some games start with a long drawn-out cut scene introducing major plot lines, characters and setting. In fact, there could be times when you’re some fifteen minutes deep into a game before you’ve even controlled anything. But in Full Void things are much more simple – one button jumps and another button works as an action. Then the game starts and you’re running for your life…

You play as a young adult in a hoodie, running in a deserted city. There isn’t yet an explanation for who you are or why the crumbling city has no other humans in it. But there are strange machines with big glowing eyes after you, so you might hazard a guess that they could be the cause. Forever running, Full Void slowly introduces visuals rather than any text whatsoever, detailing flashbacks to what might have happened. It’s only as the game reaches a conclusion do things become clearer. 

In a storytelling way, it reminds of the brilliance of Playdead’s Inside and how that throws you into things, left to learn as you go along. It’s more straightforward than that game, but just as compelling in what it’s trying to do. 

Full Void is simple in terms of those buttons you have to use, but it can be challenging in an old-school way. The gameplay feels much like Another World in terms of how it plays and looks. Your main action is that of jumping across areas or holding onto ledges and pipes to keep alive. You have an action button that will open doorways, to allow access to hatches to crawl through or pull on levers to turn off things or activate other elements. Timing is everything and a split-second decision could result in escape or instant death. 

full void review 2
It looks great!

As Full Void plays out you get access to a friendly robot that fits into your rucksack. With this little guy in tow you can hack into terminals and use this robot, by a clever minigame, to operate levers in hard-to-reach places. Or at one point you can possess other dead robots to help you gain access to other areas. The role of the good robot is also essential to the storytelling and – ultimately – proves to be at the core of some of the heart of the game. 

You will die a lot in Full Void though. But by dying you will learn; you know, much as it always the case in those old-school gaming ways. It’s not Super Meat Boy levels of hardness but it can certainly get demanding in places. For the most part, I’ve loved the challenge in this game, as it hooked me in. 

Full Void embraces the retro visual template to great effect. Each cut scene and frame is perfectly placed, whilst the backgrounds have beautiful colours and neon-dripped landscapes. This is visual storytelling at its best, delivering narrative through what you see in front of you. Even the tiny details in the background guide give you clues to what has occurred. 

And then the soundtrack is minimal but completely immersive. When it kicks in it is brilliant – 80’s synth sounds blazing out. But when things go silent on the score you hear some great sound effects, further adding to the tension. 

full void review 3
Sneaky sneaky

Retro in design and gameplay, don’t let that put you off Full Void. This is a game that is supremely addictive, as a brilliantly told tale of machines versus humans plays out. Complete with exciting gameplay that is simple but challenging at the same time, this is one of those that will stay with you long after it finishes. 

So rise against your laptop and give Full Void your full attention.