Void Terrarium in the test: Rogue-like role-playing game made in Japan

Fortunately, the game from Nippon Ichi Software has the additional title Void Terrarium, otherwise you could use the original title void tRrLM (); think it is not a video game, but the location of the federal trojan. Void Terrarium has been available in Japan since January 23 and has been largely positively rated by the trade press. Masayuki Furuya was responsible for the title, that at Nippon Ichi Software already as director and character designer for games like A Rose in the Twilight and also with one complicated title tagged LtoL # NiQ: The Firefly Diary was responsible.

The hallmarks of the games are the special character design in Japanese Chibi style (big heads on small bodies) and the beautifully told stories. If the older titles were still platformer-like, Void Terrarium goes rogue-like with role-playing elements in a different direction.

Furuya tries to create a unique gaming experience with the title through his style and the mixing of rather unusual gameplay elements. In this test, we would like to clarify for you whether this works and whether Void Terrarium is as well received as in the Far East.







The display of Toriko's condition is nicely visualized and with its pixel look is strongly reminiscent of the earlier Tamagotchis.



The display of Toriko's condition is nicely visualized and with its pixel look is strongly reminiscent of the earlier Tamagotchis.

Source: PC games




Anyone who has the privilege of growing up in the nineties easily remembers the hype triggered by the pocket watch-like devices from Japan, the Tamagotchis. In the equipment that was extremely progressive at the time, you could raise and care for your own little animal. It had to be fed regularly, as otherwise it would ingloriously bless the timing. But that was not a bad thing, unless you had built too close a bond with the late Tamagotchi because you could get a new buddy at any time (nowadays you would probably be asked to checkout via Microtransactions). Nippon Ichi Software came up with the idea of ​​incorporating the Tamagotchi principle, which was an absolute hit in the schoolyards of the nineties, into a video game.

To what extent has this concept, which is derived from the Japanese word for egg and the English for clock, been implemented in Void Terrarium? The premise is simple: As a sorted out backup robot, you stumble across a post-apocalyptic, deserted world about a girl who survived a fatal fungal infection (Last of Us says hello) and sought protection in a terrarium. Together with an artificial intelligence you take care of the little Toriko from now on. So you have to provide them with food, clean the terrarium and find medicine in the event of an illness – in the spirit of the source of inspiration.

The resources can be collected in a well-known rogue-like manner in various dungeons. The artificial intelligence with the name Factory AI is always there to advise you: If you find it difficult to find a certain item, it usually gives a suitable description of the level of a certain area. In general, the sometimes complex systems of Void Terrarium are well explained in tutorials.







As soon as the energy bar (top right) goes to zero and you have no batteries on hand, you can start the expedition again.



As soon as the energy bar (top right) goes to zero and you have no batteries on hand, you can start the expedition again.

Source: PC games




When exploring, you have to pay attention to many different indicators. In addition to your normal HP display, which is not only threatened exclusively by opponents, but also by countless traps, your energy value also plays an important role. Every action in the dungeons costs you points on the energy bar. If this goes to zero, you are basically delivered. It is therefore extremely important to look for batteries on longer trips into the winding tunnel systems. The vital energy can be replenished with them.

The fights in Void Terrarium are not really action-oriented, rather they take place in a kind of turn system. All movements you make are registered as a single move. The enemy hordes, which mostly consist of killer robots and mutated animals, respond to all of your moves with their own actions. In combat situations, the attacks always take place alternately. Most of the time, the fights end up in crazy chases because you are quickly overwhelmed and the search for the next warp point is the only way out. Because this is also a rogue-like, you start your expeditions again and again at level 1. Rank rises let you choose from random upgrades and status improvements in a good role-playing manner. If you are lucky, you will also find some weapons and modifications that guarantee a faster demise of the frenzied killer robots. If you reach the last level of a dungeon or are processed into scrap prematurely, your level progress will be reset and all your collected items will be chopped up into crafting materials.

Mixing these two game concepts works surprisingly well in practice. Gathering resources and food in the dungeons is very rewarding in the long run: you can not only feed Toriko, but also provide the terrarium with a whole range of upgrades. The furnishings are not just optical. You can use them to secure certain bonuses on your status values, which can facilitate the start of the expeditions.

The Tamagotchi-like display, which informs you about the status of Toriko, is also well visualized. You can call up all important information at any time using the touchpad. Anyone who rode the Tamagotchi hypewell at the time will immediately become nostalgic when they see the ad. Here, the developers with the pixel look were very much guided by the template. Fans of the virtual animals should be very pleased.







The fights are very static. Most of the time you stand in the same place and press the X key.



The fights are very static. Most of the time you stand in the same place and press the X key.

Source: PC games




The combat system, however, works less well. The control of the small robot feels bulky and the slow lap principle means that Void Terrarium is also slowed down. The fights consist only of pressing the X button. Together with the repetitive opponent design and the visually hardly different dungeons, boredom quickly arises. Too often it happens that you are overrun by opponents and the expeditions have to start all over again. This can definitely cause moments of frustration.

The title also has some shortcomings graphically. Although the 2D sections in and around the terrarium look chic due to the unique character design, the dungeons leave a lot to be desired optically. Why, for example, you didn't make a nice side-scrolling adventure from Void Terrarium with the existing 2D assets? Instead, they rely on a rather ugly and complicated dungeon crawling concept from the top-down view. Unfortunately, a lot of potential was wasted here.

Atmospheric game world with an interesting background story
Nice art design
Sophisticated Tamagotchi principle
Many crafting and customization options
Fighting offers tactical approaches …
… but also become repetitive very quickly
Uninspired dungeons
Unsightly graphics in the 3D sequences
Moments of frustration included

Interesting game concept that unfortunately becomes too repetitive

bargain


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