“First-person Metroidvania” is all I need to see to be fully on board with a game. Voltage High Society promises just that. Wrapped in a lo-fi package, it tasks you with braving the unknown and contending with various threats. The game enters Early Access today with plans to stay there for 10-14 months. The game only has its first map sector and a few enemy types, so there’s not a large amount of content at the moment. But the question stands: is Voltage High Society worth it in Early Access, or should you stay away until some kinks are worked out?
Voltage High Society is the sort of game that doesn’t really care if you’re enjoying yourself. You start out in some sort of ship. Your goal is… something. I couldn’t see a map or anything indicating what I was supposed to do. The game’s visuals are meant to evoke something akin to a PlayStation 1 aesthetic but with no visual appeal whatsoever. The game is mostly monochrome, save for various elements, and it’s quite hideous. It’s difficult to tell just what anything is supposed to be, as the world and its elements all blend together into a murky grey hodgepodge.
It isn’t often that I use the word “unplayable” to describe a retail product, but Voltage High Society seems to encourage such a label. You start out with nothing but your fists. There are weapons, but I was unable to find any. The first enemy you come across is a zombie that carries a bladed weapon. Killing it will not drop said weapon. Killing even a level one zombie with your bare hands takes many hits, and it can kill you rather quickly. Defeating enemies will reward you with scrap, which you can also find lying in the open. If you die, you lose all of your scrap, with no way to retrieve it.
In madness, you dwell
When you come across sofas, your game saves, and the last sofa you visited becomes a respawn point. These can be quite far from each other, making it a pain to get back to where you were due to the enemies. Perhaps this gets better when you find a weapon, but that I can’t say with any certainty. Your character is equipped with a flashlight, which is great because much of the game is quite dark. Unfortunately, the flashlight runs out of battery very quickly, and it can be difficult to refill. This is especially unfortunate when you run out of battery in a dark area that you’re unable to leave once your flashlight inevitably stops working.
For these Early Access pieces, I typically try to play for at least an hour before I start writing. Voltage High Society is such a joyless experience that I couldn’t muster that. Perhaps I’m not giving it a fair shake and am missing something important. Maybe this experience is precisely what the developers have in mind. Be that as it may, absolutely nothing that I saw of the game makes me thing that it’s worth any sort of investment, be that of time or money. As such, I can only say that the game is very much not worth it, unless you love wandering around and dying in janky monochrome corridors.