Out now for the Switch and PlayStation 4, void* tRrLM2(); //Void Terrarium 2 is the sequel to void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium, which we reviewed back in 2020. We checked it out on a PlayStation 4 Pro for this review.
When NIS America announced it, we imagined walking into a video game story and asking for void* tRrLM2(); //Void Terrarium 2 by its full title. If you could even get through it, we’re pretty sure you’d get some weird looks. The name scheme’s consistent with the first game though, and Void Terrarium 2 also works pretty well as a name for the game, which is a direct sequel to the first one.
If you remember the first game, then that’s probably not a massive surprise, as protagonist Toriko was already the last human left on earth and it’s up to you (and Robbie the Robot) to take care of her. From that perspective a prequel could have been an interesting approach as well, but instead you’ll be partnering up with the same A.I. and robot that you did before – though you have a new tank at your disposal and will be venturing into new areas of a world that’s still extremely contaminated.
Something that’s new is that your A.I. companion has figured out a way to insert you into a virtual reality environment and explore memories of the world around you from before things went awry and the infection started to spread – a bit of a prequel approach after all. Interestingly enough, this story inside a VR world doesn’t unfold in 3D, but rather in an 8-bit NES-like top-down style. It’s also a part of the game that can feel pretty dark, exploring things like questionable experiments and basically society unraveling as it’s unable to deal with the pressures that this new threat brings with it.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Toriko’s isn’t doing too well with her health, so you’ll have to take care of her as you scour the world for food and supplies while at the same time finding things with which you can upgrade your tank and abilities, both cosmetically and through blueprints for items. In addition, when you return after a dungeon crawling sections with Robbie the Robot, you’ll get some crafting materials that can be used towards upgrading him with permanent upgrades, like the ability to carry more items or heal quicker.
But while this makes combat easier, having to go on multiple runs (of the same dungeon sections) for items does feel like a bit of a grind, even though Void Terrarium 2 definitely feels more streamlined than the first game. The fact that levels are procedurally generated and that the items you have at your disposal are randomized also keeps things interesting, as you can’t just keep using the same battle tactics over and over again.
Ultimately Void Terrarium 2 is too similar to the first game to draw in a substantial new crowd, but those who enjoyed it can’t go wrong here. The art style is once again lovely and it’s nice to see a bit more narrative world building in the VR flashbacks, even though the subject matter is a bit darker than the delightful art style suggests.