Is this worth a shot?
Voxel Shot has an interesting premise – an arena battle title on one side, and a racing game on the other.
Very few games tend to blend those two together, but Voxel Shot’s simplistic controls and gameplay seem to lend easily to both. In the arena battle mode, you’ll have a set amount of time to run around and shoot down as many zombies as you can. There’s a good variety of zombies, from animals to weapon-wielding ones, and from giant boulders and explosive ones. Weapons are littered around the small map, and again these are varied, from miniguns to axes and sniper rifles. You’ll have to manage your ammo to ensure you can get as many zombies as possible. You can also utilise vehicles to run the zombies down, from police cars to segways. The racing section, meanwhile, is a simple kart racer, complete with boxed powerups.
I did say that the controls were simplistic – they are, but they aren’t fully intuitive. The game uses a similar motion controls aiming system to Splatoon – you can use the Y and A buttons to spin left and right, but lean the controller forward and back to look up and down. The problem is that the game quickly loses the default medium height, leaving you staring awkwardly up into the sky. It’s a problem that’s worsened in handheld mode, where you’ll need to jar your neck in order to ensure that you can still see the screen.
Playing this game in tabletop mode or on the TV is the recommended option. You can reset the medium height by pressing the left stick, but another button would have been better served for this – you want to be focusing on running around with the left stick and you need to be pretty accurate with clicking it in order to avoid erroneously moving in a direction you didn’t want to straight into oncoming enemies.
Presented in the blocky visuals which Minecraft made super popular, Voxel Shot displays everything through cubes, from buildings to vehicles. This makes the run and gun battling quite a simple affair – there’s a big space to aim for when you’re looking to get headshots, and mastering that mission doesn’t take much practice at all. The thing with this style of visuals though is that they always feel more basic than they are – since Minecraft they’ve become a subgenre of their own, but when you see games elsewhere pushing the bounds of possibility, this style tends to feel like something less.
You’re given three objectives on each level – both the arena battle and the race – so you’ve got something to do each time. The problem is, the game feels like it should be a tech demo. You set scores for your playthroughs on each stage, but every stage is available from the start, and there’s little to no reward in terms of unlockables to incentivise those scores. You can literally jump right in to whatever you like from the start, and then once you’ve played through each of the four stages and the two race tracks, that’s it; you’ve seen it all.