Void Bastards: A roguelike that will reconstitute you from powder

Void Bastards

In the cold of space, an uncaring machine makes decisions for a crew gone insane by re-hydrating prisoners in order to fix itself so that it can go home. Perhaps the characters in Void Bastards don’t have the greatest time – they are essentially disposable in this rogue-like title – but as a player you might enjoy their mortality.

Published by Humble Bundle and developed by Blue Machu – a collection of developers with a background for System Shock 2 and Bioshock – Void Bastards challenges players to use the lives of prisoners (who are ultimately disposable) in a roguelike strategy game to escape the Sargasso Nebula.

Void Bastards uses cell-shading and 3D visuals to create a comic book style over this ambient horror styled science fiction shooter. In the game, you will explore decrepit derelicts, attempt to salvage supplies and escape with your life each time to help repair your ship that is stuck in the dark nebula.

You won’t always succeed.

The plot of Void Bastards essentially that a prison ship has become stranded in a dark nebula. The reasons for this are largely unexplained but apparently the crew went insane and abandoned ship. Now the vessel is unable to jump out because it requires authorization from one of the crew (who are now insane and already moved out). That means getting a laminated ID from an authorized crew member to get going.

The ship’s machine intelligence lacks robots to do this, instead it has an unending supply of dehydrated prisoners. Thus, it starts hydrating them and preparing them for sorties into the dark of space against unknown horrors to collect things such as fuel, food and other supplies needed to build equipment for surviving in the strange terrorscape that is the dark nebula.

Players quickly discover that prisoners are fairly disposable – even the machine intelligence on board the ship treats them with extreme indifference – however to bring back supplies, they must at least survive forays onto the ship and back to their shuttlecraft.

Ships in Void Bastards are procedurally generated, although there is a general idea of what to expect on them before landing on board. Problems that crop up on board derelicts will not always have straightforward solutions – although it’s possible to shoot through things, bullets and supplies are limited – so it’s also possible to stealth past some enemies, combo hazardous effects, or use the environment.

This will work to provide a lot of replayability for the game as players progress through the darkened halls and face of against the previous crews and automated systems of these ships lost to the void. Not all strategies will work on every ship, so each time some “poor bastard” launches himself or herself into the void, she’ll be operating by the skin of her teeth and the strength of her equipment choices.

Good luck, you glorious bastards, you’ll need it amidst the dead hulks of the Sargasso Nebula.

Void Bastards was released May 28 and is available for PC (via Steam and Humble Bundle), MacOS and Xbox One.