23 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 7.4 hrs on record (4.1 hrs at review time)
Posted: Jan 30, 2019 @ 9:56pm
Updated: Jan 30, 2019 @ 9:56pm
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is a 2D forward facing shoot-em-up/bullet hell game that is essentially a series of boss battles strung into a roguelite experience each playthrough. The game is still in early access and has seen a continual series of updates/content additions since it was first available. The Steam store page clearly describes their goals for the final product, and the developers have been working steadily to realize that final game. What they have achieved so far is an excellent game with a lot of unique gameplay and replay value, and certainly is very fun.

The game reverses the usual fight and destroy story line that is commonly seen in shmups and instead, you control a protagonist's heart that is used to shoot heart bullets to love those monsters that are coming after you. Of course the way the game is played out is similar, but the game uses the story and this premise to tie it all together.

What makes this game stand out is, of course, it's roguelite model within the game. Each run allows the player some choices to choose easier or more difficult battles in order to shape the run more for the needs or wishes of the player. In addition, there are 4 different difficulty modes (2 available in the beginning, with 2 more that are unlockable) that will allow anyone to have a good experience. The ways to earn points and unlock further things are all explained within the game proper.

The story is mildly interesting and ties the game together. There are some random events in the beginning that really slowed down the gameplay itself though and I was rather bothered by this. Of course this became less as the game progressed and I played more runs, but every once in a while, you still get a dialogue that lasts a while and all I wanted to continue the fights. Don't get me wrong, the story is interesting, with plenty of exploration into the psychological states of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations. I just found the dialogues may be a bit too long at times and I really didn't want to read through a lot of it before getting into the next fight. Kudos to the developer for wanting to make an effort to explore these topics--fairly extensively too.

The bosses, as they really are all bosses, are monsters of different shapes, sizes, and patterns. What is interesting about this game is that each monster also has a series of different load-outs based on their levels. As I mentioned above, you can choose what level monster you fight, so progressively picking increasing level fights will show you the same monster but with drastically different abilities. The game never lets you feel completely in control of the fights, because there are definitely some curve balls from each monster.

With replaying of the game, you will currently be able to unlock many gifts and monsters by your own performance. You will also further complete achievement requirements in order to unlock some items as well. This system is designed quite well and the continual notification of getting another achievement is often rather satisfying. I am not sure how many will ultimately be there, but currently there are about 194 achievements, many of them associated with another small part of the overall game unlocking. You will start with one character and another one will unlock as you play. There are plans by the developers to have 5 playable characters in the finished product, each with multiple endings. Ambitious goals but things for the players to look forward to.

Bottom line is that this game features many already polished aspects within its current Early Access build, there are many small nuanced features that will take a player many runs to get used to and to take full advantage of. Overall the game is very fun and any fan of shmups and bullet hell games will be in for quite a treat. Even though it is still in an Early Access stage (current version 3.9), it will have enough content to well warrant the very reasonable and current price of 9.99 USD.

Gameplay
Series of consecutive boss fights through every run that has a steady RNG buildup with roguelite features that are unlockable from fights and from player action in between runs.

There are a large variety of boss types with different load-outs based on the level. Their actions differ also based on how you attack them and break off parts of their bodies.

The game also gives the player a Quick Play mode that will allow you to take on any boss that you have unlocked throughout your gameplay so far.

The heart bullets fire automatically and you can perform charged shots or use this function to stop your own shooting.

You may gain assistance from helpers as you play on as well within the run.

Controls
Works well with controller, I tried briefly with keyboard and also had no issues.

Graphics
Quite nice pixel graphics with really nice monster designs and variety of things thrown at the player during any one single run.

Music
The soundtrack is pretty nice, sets a high-intensity mood for the whole game.

Audience
Anyone interested in forward facing shmups and bullethells will have fun with this. There are 4 difficulty settings when you start each run, and you will often have opportunities to choose to face stronger or weaker enemies in between fights.

Keep in mind that there are some non-sexual cartoon-nudity that the game tells you up front upon launch for the first time and asks if you wish to keep it uncensored or to use a fog to blur a few pixelated lines in the graphics. Playing uncensored, the game does not feel to have much cartoon nudity at all.

Pricing
Base price of the current early access version is 9.99 USD, which is completely reasonable for a game with this much content.

Positives
+Pure arcade style fun of going from boss to boss and skipping the tedious small enemy progression
+Short runs overall, good for any schedule
+Nice monster designs
+Energetic soundtrack
+Controls well
+Exploration of heavy psychological states
+Already a lot of content, with more planned
+Good price point
+Multiple difficulty settings with in-run adjustments

Negatives
-Game's story will be a deterrent for some people, especially when the random events seem to interject within runs and disrupt a run's rhythm, with sometimes rather lengthy dialogue
-Could use an increased variety of starting weapon that may change the way the gameplay feels--currently only the continuous straight forward shooting single string of hearts start each run (some RNG modifier to begin would be nice)

Conclusion
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is a heavy-hearted but fun-filled 2D forward facing shmup/bullet hell game that is got plenty of content with more coming. I can see some room for improvement, and more content is still in the works. I would definitely recommend this game.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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2 Comments
YQMaoski Mar 15, 2020 @ 7:21am 
@cemcdnld, thank you for reading my review. :D I actually just brought the game out and played a couple of runs about 3 weeks ago, and had every intention of playing more to see the changes. It's nice coming back to an Early Access game a year later and seeing positive changes. The game is still as fantastic as I remembered and I will pay attention to what you have mentioned. I will go in and cross out no-longer relevant complaints from my review after playing more. Cheers!
cemcdnld Mar 15, 2020 @ 6:15am 
Have you considered updating your review now that it's a year later? There's now an endless mode (with two different modes within that. And your negative about not having a different starting power has been addressed with (currently) four characters that all lend themselves to different playstyles, two of which start with a different starting-weapon other than the hearts (feathers and stars respectively). You can also store up one-time abilities over the course of one or more runs, that you can then activate at the start of a future run, to help you have a better chance of getting further in the higher difficulties. I'm not affiliated with the dev in any way. I'm just a player that's been around since before this game was on steam and since your review is the top review that is the most liked and most seen (and most thorough and well-done), Anyhoo, thanks for reading this far. Cheers. :)