Today all over the world we celebrate love and in keeping with that theme I decided to check out the newly released The Void Rains Upon Her Heart which is in Steam Early Access. Developed by Veyeral Games and published by The Hidden Levels, this is a new take on the Bullet-hell shmups genre. If you have played bullet-hell games in the past and hated the time it took to get to a boss then this is your saving grace and you should embrace the love this game gives.
You play the heart of a lonely alien girl that is trapped in a cave surrounded by some very bizarre and interesting monsters. She is unable to fight the monsters in question but instead can only offer them love, but maybe that’s all they ever wanted. Loving these monsters won’t be easy but eventually even the most hardened can be swayed to feel this emotion we all crave. The only question is can the alien girl love grow enough to conquer all and avoid a broken heart?
Now I did mention that this title has a new take on the bullet-hell genre and that is because all you will fight are bosses, and there are plenty all with varying difficulty. The story mode of the game at the moment is ten bosses long but trust me there is plenty of content in those ten stages. As you start each stage you will be presented with one or more cards representing a boss. Each will have a level number representing how difficult they are as well as battle stats. The higher the level of boss the more difficult attack patterns they will have, so a high level of the same boss will attack differently than the low level.
When you first play the game the bosses battle stats are not shown on their card because you need to collect various types of Tetrids, each represented as a colour. As you love each boss you will collect motes which all add up at the end of the fight. These motes are then turned in to a specific type of prism. The type of prism a boss will give you motes for is outlined on the battle card, so be sure to keep track of the type of prism you need when selecting a boss. I have to applaud the boss design and there are a couple that stand out for me. The Sentinel 4X reminds me a bit of the Spider Mastermind from Doom with its mechanical spider legs and some deadly attack patterns. The Scrambler is another that will expel Maws and Eyeballs which also attack you. I like hows the Scrambler follows your every move.
Upon defeating a boss you are also given a gift card which will grant you an increase in attributes. So for example you might get an increase on attack power or the ability to shoot behind, these activate automatically. With some bosses they will give you an extra gift if you complete the challenge specified. This can include not taking any damage or getting a specified combo length. These rewards can also range from a plethora of gifts including getting a specific colour of Tetrid and so on.
Gameplay to The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is simple and easy to learn, but tricky to master on the higher difficulty levels. Its a 2D scrolling shooter where your fire is automatic. This lets you concentrate on movement and avoiding death, cause when your heart dies its game over. You have two types of shot called the Focus attack and the Panic attack. With the Focus all you do is hold the X button to charge it up and then let go, this is a slightly more powerful shot. The panic button which is limited will suck up all the bullets coming at you as well as deal massive damage. You can be lucky and defeated…. or should that be loved….. bosses might gift you extra panic attacks to use and you will need them for that end boss. You also have a hidden extra up you sleeve in the form of the Focus where by pressing the A button you will slow down allowing you to get out of a tricky situation.
There will also be a second playable heart that you unlock and the difference with this one is that after each boss battle you health fills back up. I found this good for completing the story the first time and getting to know what the final boss is like. However the difference with this heart apart from it being a little blue, is that attributes are not saved. So where the red heart is challenging to use from the get go, the blue heart will be more challenging to use in the higher difficulties from the get go. I have to admit though I do like this mixture.
Beyond the Story mode you also have Quickplay where it is more of a challenge on obtaining as much Motes from a boss as you can. Do this and you are given a coloured medal for your efforts. In this mode you can level up which will allow you to equip more gifts to use when fighting the bosses. You can only select bosses in this mode if you have radiated there card and the same goes with the gifts as well. Remember the Tetrids? Well it is those you use to radiate cards and for each boss and gift they require a specific amount. This is where replay comes into it as well as being more selective in boss choices during story mode.
Graphically The Void Rains Upon Her Heart goes retro with its 8-bit style art and even today it looks great. It also takes me back to my childhood when these graphics where classed as outstanding at the time. The boss art and design is very striking and colourful, except the void, that’s always going to be dark and nasty. After all that’s what a void does best. The games sound it also very retro with some catchy soundtracks.
The Good Things
- Addictive Bullet-hell Shmup
- Love the Retro Art Style and Sound.
- This would be the perfect entry title if you want to experience shmups for the first time without breaking your controller.
- Its a game full of love…. Monster love.
And The Bad
- Hopefully there will be more added to the main Story Mode.
- Collecting the required number of Tetrids can become a bit tiresome, but played in short sessions its not too bad.
- Only 14 bosses including variations on some which people may find small, but this is a steam early access title so this could change.
- The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is certainly a slightly different take on the normal bullet-hell Shmups that are out there. If you have played previous titles of the genre and thought the boss battles were the best thing then come give some love to the monsters of this title. Here all you will get is boss after boss. I quite like the randomness of the bosses that you get, especially if you have the choice of two or more and they are both a high level. The fact that in story mode if you choose a high boss level in one stage, future stages will be even higher level bosses is also very appealing. This does allow you to control the difficulty to a degree and the rogue-like elements are also a nice touch, which helps keep you coming back for more.
The Void Rains Rains Upon Her Heart is still only a Steam Early Access title so just remember that things can change. Even as it is at the moment, there is still plenty of fun to be had. I do hope that the game gets beefed up a bit with new features which would completely satisfy my love of this shmup. So if you want to show Veyeral Games and The Hidden Levels some love you can purchase The Void Rains Upon Her Heart from 6.00pm GMT today the 14th February for only $7.99 with a 15% week long launch discount.
Roses are red, Violets are blue now go love these monsters so they can love you.