We're looking for new writers to join us!

A Void Hope

A Void Hope

Written by Elliot Hilderbrand on 2/29/2024 for SWI  
More On: A Void Hope

A Void Hope follows a couple as they each try to navigate through a city that is falling apart due to some mysterious sickness that is affecting more and more people. What is real, what is perhaps a fever dream, what are the limits of love being able to overcome anything?  It sounds deep, and when you sit and think, especially after finishing A Void Hope it feels like a sorrowful, melancholy, and emotional trip for a game that lasted under six hours.

I took A Void Hope for one reason. In the developer press email sent out it says that A Void Hope is best enjoyed in a single sitting. I love that idea. Being able to sit down, immerse yourself into a game for a few hours, and then look back on the experience. The older I get, the more I enjoy a short, well-thought-out journey. I am sad to say I did not finish A Void Hope in a single sitting, I took two. I think more people will be like me and take a second, or maybe even a third sitting to get through all A Void Hope has to offer. I know trying to advertise a game as “something to enjoy in a couple of sessions” doesn’t sound as appealing as a single-sitting game, but I think I made the right call playing this in two. Once I started, I knew I wanted to fully clear every level, not just get through them. I have no idea if the outcome plays out differently if you don’t, and getting through every goal does require more effort, but I think it was worth it.

A Void Hope’s story is engaging, even if it does more of a show than a tell when it comes to plot development. Most levels have you searching for a memory to relive. Typically that is when you learn more about the relationship between these two characters. Not every level has a memory, and so coming across one to push the narrative became something I looked forward to. There is a small twist about halfway through your playthrough; you’ll know it when you get there, and I found that to be the best place to take a break between my two sessions. It was close enough to the halfway point of the game, and looking back, I felt like it was perfect. Taking a break gave me a day to sit and think about the plot; I even found myself trying to guess what might happen next. I don’t want to explain much, other than what you can read in the small description of A Void Hope on Steam or the EShop page. Go into this blind, I think you’ll be happy you did.

A Void Hope does a great job of giving off the vibes it is going for, on a couple of different levels. The retro pixel art look is great. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing that screams new-age. This feels straight out of a Super Nintendo Game from my past. There are a few instances, like climbing stairs, that I found frustrating, but again, it feels like a SNES title. Besides nailing the retro look, the music here is excellent. The creepy vibes and slow build-up on each track get me every time. I knew I was in for a musical treat when I turned on A Void Hope for the first time. I was on the main screen, stepped out to grab something to drink and came back to a song that hit me just right. Music in games is something I often overlook, but it is impossible not to notice the killer soundtrack here. Each level had me looking forward to hearing what came next. The music doesn’t vary in style, but I was fine with that. This is a creepy, dark, and sad game - the music fits that.

I was a bit surprised to see how much A Void Hope feels like a traditional, old-school platformer and at the same time, a mini-Metroidvania. Platform puzzles were never too crazy or difficult, but still challenging enough that there were a few instances where I had to try three or four times to make a jump, or the electric box I was spouse to shoot was hidden well enough I went past it without noticing. Again, it feels reminiscent of older platform games from my youth and felt like nostalgia done right.

At one point, the linear path of the levels splits in two directions. It doesn’t matter which direction you take, eventually, you will need to complete both levels, but this is where the Metroidvania parts kick in. As you progress through each level there are certain goals you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes it is as simple as clearing the level to watch the memory cutscene at the end of the level. Other times you have an item you need to acquire or a computer you need to hack. Sometimes you have all of these goals in one level. In the first few levels it is easy to complete each goal for that level on the first playthrough. Eventually, you find that you need an item you haven’t come across yet, something that is located on a level you don’t have access to just yet. This is where you can finish the level, but will have to come back at some point to fully clear. The best example is the crowbar. You can’t pry open the nailed in windows until you get the crowbar, but you don’t come across the item for several levels. I didn’t mind needing to backtrack and replay parts of levels in order to fully clear them, but it does also feel a little unnecessary. Like trying to expand how long A Void Hope takes to complete.

A Void Hope resonates with me. I’ve currently been going on a horror kick; books, movies, tv shows, and - without trying to - video games. The feelings I got from playing I think, are exactly what A Void Hope was trying to get from me. A dark atmosphere both in what A Void Hope looks like, as well as the soundtrack come together in harmony to elicit feelings of despair and sadness, something A Void Hope wants you to feel for these two characters. I was impressed by how it was more shown than told to me in my almost six hours to completely clear the game.

A Void Hope is one of those games that you want your friends to play through, so you can all talk about it later on. Platforming that has a great old-school SNES feel, with a story that is better shown than told. I found each level to be unique enough, especially when accompanied by the soundtrack, that I didn’t feel like I was replaying the same level again and again. My only complaint is the need to replay some levels in order to fully clear such a short game harshes the vibe, but only a little. Play it when its dark or cloudy out, when you’re in the mood to experience something with feeling; A Void Hope was clearly made with love.

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

A Void Hope A Void Hope A Void Hope A Void Hope A Void Hope A Void Hope A Void Hope

About Author

I'm pulled towards anything that isn't driving or sports related; having said that, I love a good kart racer. I Can't get enough RPGs, and indies are always worth a look to me. The only other subject I pay any attention to is the NFL (go Colts!).

While writing about games is my favorite hobby, talking is a close second. That's why I podcast with my wife Tessa (it's called Tessa and Elliot Argue).

View Profile