Making repairs to the International Space Station probably feels a lot like a puzzle for the astronauts dangling precariously in near Earth orbit. Any wrong move could be your last.
Vertigo Void is a budget priced puzzle-platformer that takes place in outer space. Your astronaut works his way across platforms, pressing buttons and avoiding hazards, all while facing the prospect of certain doom should you make one wrong step.
It is all the work of just two indie developers based in the UK who released Vertigo Void on Steam for two dollars.
The game uses three-dimensional gameplay and the manipulation of camera angles to alter the environment, providing you with new perspectives and opportunities to exploit. But you have to act fast as each of the game’s two hundred levels are timed, leaving your astronaut plummeting to a fiery death if the clock runs out.
Even the best puzzle players will scratch their head at some of these puzzles. It only gets more challenging as you go along. I had to walk away from my computer in frustration more than a few times and I’m not even close to finishing all of the levels.
Some of the challenge is artificial. The controls are cumbersome. They work best if you have an Xbox controller. I personally preferred using the analog stick to guide my astronaut but you can also use the d-pad. The game is actually fairly good at tracking your desired movements but it has tank-like controls that feel like a game from the 90s.
Vertigo Void has a number of different blocks with their own unique properties. Some blocks will prevent you from jumping; some act as a trampoline, bouncing your character forward; others will slowly disappear the longer that you stand on them. There are also hazards that you need to watch out for like flames that send you falling to an instant death.
Even though the levels included in Vertigo Void would be more than adequate considering the price, the developers also included a level editor and the opportunity to play other people’s levels. The level editor is a bit wonky at first but after playing around with it you should be able to make decent levels. You can even test things out to make sure that everything works before saving the level. After testing the level, you jump right back to the level editor to make any necessary corrections, or you can save it. There are already several cleverly designed puzzles available through Steam and all of it is free.
Vertigo Void is not going to win any awards but it is a good value for the price. The large number of levels out of the box, along with the inclusion of a level editor with Steam Workshop integrated for downloading other user’s levels, can possibly add up to dozens of hours of gameplay if you’re really into it.