You run. You gun. You die. You respawn. It’s a tried and true loop, and even when you slap on a coat of seriously eye-searing psychedelic paint, you know exactly what you’re playing. Frequently referred to as Boomer Shooters, these high-action, twitch-reflex, headshot poppin’ FPS games bring to mind yesteryear’s best (referred to these days as boomer shooters) like Doom and Wolfenstein, and POST VOID is not about to let you forget where its inspiration lies. And yet, I can honestly say POST VOID is a different kind of beast than any regular boomer shooter, and certainly handles a bit differently on a PS4 controller than on the tried and true mouse and keyboard.


This Is Your Brain On POST VOID


Just a quick trip, in and out

Right off the bat, I can tell you that POST VOID has a very specific way it operates. Much like its boomer shooter brethren, it doesn’t need any level-up systems or RPG elements, it just has you, some firearms, and rooms full of enemies to kill. You’ll be dropped in hard and fast into the world of POST VOID, with only a gun and this odd idol in your other hand. The gist of the story here is, well, you went and lost your head! All your life juice is now spilling out of your idol-head-thing, so now you seek a flower in paradise for that reason (I think). It’s written almost like a poem, and admittedly is as nonsensical as the rest of this weird and wild world, so there’s probably plenty of room for interpretation, should you seek it.

This idol is your health meter, and as you can see, it doesn’t have a bottom, meaning it’s leaking the entire time you’re holding it. You can kill enemies to add a little more life juice to it, but a reminder that this is still your health meter, so getting damaged by enemies makes it spill out faster. You’ll be heavily persuaded by the game to get to the end of the level, marked by an oasis, while killing just enough foes to keep from dying. This is 100% a rough fight against time, and POST VOID makes no attempt at holding your hand past the tutorial.

How you do from here is entirely on you. Just as long as that idol hasn’t drained, you’re still in the game. This can lead to some snap-reaction moments mid-combat. There’s a bunch of very tiny enemies that, while they don’t drop much life juice, you have to quickly decide if you want to spare 0.2 seconds to end that little critter and slurp up just a half a second or so of extra time, or just move on and hope you find something easier for you to gun down before you wind up dead yourself. Fight or flight abounds here, and done in the best way possible.

Now, on to how you kill said enemies, and it should be apparent from the start how this will end. You have a gun, infinite ammo (there isn’t even a graphic telling you how much ammo’s still in the clip), and you can even get other guns by way of the randomized upgrades you can choose from after hitting an oasis, such as an Uzi, shotgun, or, if you intend on getting close and personal, a knife. I never once felt one was better than the other, they all have their pros and cons. I personally encourage trying different weapons to get a feel for how you want to approach the combat, because the gun is only a third of the battle here. The other two-thirds are the other upgrades you can pick up at the oasis. Some of them are upgrades to the character, like a buff to the size of the life jar, or making it so colliding with an enemy doesn’t slow you down as much. There’s also gun upgrades, like quicker reloads or rubber bullets that will bounce off the walls. For what little it seems like, their customization really matters here, and each player will have to experiment to find out what works best for them.

That said, I can safely say from my own experience, should you be able to stomach POST VOID’s harsh challenge, the gameplay loop is so damn elegant in its simplicity that it works exactly the way it should. This is raw, undistilled FPS gameplay in all the right ways. POST VOID only wants you to hop in, fight for your life at a breakneck speed, die, then repeat. No loading screens. No slowdown. No specific way to play this game besides “don’t die” and that’s all you need to get going. Even when you beat it, you can keep playing for higher scores, faster times, or just to enjoy some mindless carnage for a while.




The only thing getting high here is the muzzle jump from that SMG

Most of this sounds relatively tame, right? There’s a little bit of RNG involved, but you get a quick idea of what’s being expected of you, and with the corridors you’ll be running down being semi-procedurally generated, there’s no real rehearsal to keep in mind. The best medicine for improvement here is hopping in, potentially getting your ass handed to you, then running right the hell back in for another round.

Where this gets turned on its head is how all this is presented in sight and sound. Every inch of these corridors will be doing the wave, literally. It’s how the floor is set up, so if you get motion sick easy, you’re gonna want to sit this one out. With the speeds you’ll be going (i.e. dead sprint, 24/7), this constant wobbling and waving can throw someone off pretty badly. Add in a rather intense strobe from dying, an absolutely neon-drenched color palette (sans the later levels), and completely nonsensical enemies laden with body horror and strange mutations, and you have a recipe for a seriously bad trip for anyone with sensitive eyes and ears, and one hell of a difficulty curve for anyone starting off that can stomach all of that.

There are accessibility options in mind, stuff that subdues the strobing effects so others can give POST VOID a go that might not be so inclined to have their retinas fried. It’s discouraged by the game itself, since the whole concept of the game hinges on this trippyness to go with the gameplay, but the fact that it exists is welcoming, and it’s encouraging that the developers would want anyone to be able to hop into POST VOID to get some classic frenetic FPS action. There’s also time to mention the soundtrack, which, I don’t know if it actually has an end here. I’ll be the first to admit that, while it’s a damn good song, it gets old after a while, and I booted up my own songs to play instead. The art director and co-founder of YCJY Games, Josef Martinovsky, even made a playlist of songs he’d have put in the game if they’d had the license for it.

For all the positives in such a simple but elegant run-‘n’-gun trip, there’s a couple of tripping points. Mainly just that this is a seriously unforgiving game, and not everyone’s gonna be all in for that. You will be held accountable for any screw-ups you make by probably repeating the whole session over again. There’s a good chance after a string of failed runs, someone might feel fatigued from the fast-paced FPS crossfire, and that’s an absolutely reasonable reaction. The best joy from POST VOID comes from the hop-in, hop-out, quick-run gameplay that doesn’t require setup, letting players play a couple minutes or maybe a whole hour if they have the stamina for it. Enjoy it in moderation if that’s your cup of tea, but realize that POST VOID can be a very tough-to-swallow pill. I can’t even put a video in this review and not warn people that if you are easily overloaded by the senses, you’re not gonna have a good time here. If you don’t feel comfortable with what’s been described, please consider yourself first and foremost before hopping in here.

I’m sure you’re wondering how this handles with PS4 in mind. Well, thankfully it was handled well, and by that, I mean vertical and horizontal sensitivity settings. I will say, it took me a few rounds to find the right balance between the two, but if you find your sweet spot, while not quite as fluid as the good ol’ mouse and keyboard, what’s here works well enough. Small enemies are definitely a bit more of a bastard to deal with on controller though, and I had significantly more issues with them. I did also have to remap the reload to one of my vacant fingers since it’s automatically set to the square button, and this is not the kind of game you ever want your thumb leaving the camera stick. Something else to note is that it’s remarkably trickier to use the SMG in this case, as you will constantly be needing to re-center your aiming reticule due to the recoil, and let’s just say it takes a bit of practice and dexterity to pull that off in a game that’s constantly on the go like this. The controller definitely adds a layer of difficulty, and while still very much viable, will require a lot more practice than keyboard and mouse controls.


Ending On A High Note


As long as you don’t let POST VOID short out your synapses, this really is one of the truest forms of FPS gameplay. If you long for a true drop-in, drop-out FPS game and don’t mind the wavey corridors and searing color palette, there’s so much fun to be had with just a semi-procedurally generated corridor maze, some wickedly warped baddies to kill as fast as you can, and a few RNG buffs here and there. POST VOID definitely won’t be a feasible trip for everyone, but if you can stomach the demanding gameplay and get a grip on the PS4 controls, you’ll probably wind up pretty hooked on this digital drug.

Final Verdict: 4/5

Available on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PC; Publisher: YCJY Games, Super Rare Games; Developer: YCJY Games, YCJY Games AB; Number of players: 1; Released: March 16th, 2023; MSRP: $5.99

Full Disclosure: A copy of POST VOID was provided by the publisher.

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