Pop Voxel: Humble Debut For Voxatron

By Adam Smith on October 31st, 2011 at 5:57 pm.

Go go, tiny voxels

Jolly voxel-based isometric shooter Voxatron is now available, in its alpha form, as part of an Indie Humble deal. Not a bundle, just the offering of this one game, which is debuting today, at a price of your choosing. After this, it will be available for $15. I’ve been playing for a couple of weeks and reckon it’s worth every cent of that pricetag, but if you want it cheaper, now’s your chance. The graphics are lovely, as you can see in the new trailer below, but it’s the completely destructible world that most often made me want to applaud with delight, either dramatically when pillars collapsed or in the smaller detail of walls chipping away during fights. Imaginative and fun, this is a fine deal.

The actual game isn’t quite as odd as the trailers imply. It’s a shooter with a sense of adventure rather than an action-adventure, but it’s enjoyable stuff whatever you call it and should only get better with time. For your money, you’ll also receive access to a level designer, all future updates and an upcoming monster editor, so you can make horrific and adorable voxel villains.

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73 Comments »

  1. nimzy says:

    Is there a black hole gun? Please tell me there are physics-based weapons in the game.

    • Dominic White says:

      Every weapon is physics based – even your basic peashooter knocks small chunks out of walls. There’s even a Build weapon that fires climbable blocks into the level.

    • Gnoupi says:

      And there are “boom!” pickups on the ground, too, which are nicely damaging in a wave around.

  2. DevilSShadoW says:

    I literally just received the email from the humble bundle informing me of this game whilst clicking on this article. Must be a sign!

  3. Teddy Leach says:

    I am so amazingly bad at this game.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yes, same. It’s the kind of game in which you end up running backward while shooting to survive, and the current control scheme makes it really unpleasant, since you have to go towards the enemy to lock the direction.

      Other than that, great game engine, great potential for fun!

      But I really hope for a different control scheme, to be able to enjoy it more.

    • Meneth says:

      @Gnoupi: You can aim with the mouse, but since there’s no crosshair, it’s pretty hard to actually hit anything.

    • terry says:

      Yeah, this is the problem I’m having. It’s not that the lock system is bad, it’s just wildly inconsistent about where it locks. A 360 pad made it more tolerable, but directional fire would suit me a lot better.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Yeah, I think that’s why I’m rubbish.

    • nobody says:

      Numpad is set up by default to allow 8-directional shooting. I’m finding that to be the most comfortable way to play. (Of course, if you’re on a laptop, you may need to plug in a full-sized keyboard to make this work.)

    • mwoody says:

      It would be less of an issue if I hadn’t spent the past few weeks playing the Binding of Isaac, which is this game with better controls.

      My god, a voxel-based Binding of Isaac sequel that included a procedurally generated overworld would own my soul…

    • terry says:

      Ah, thanks nobody. Much better. Only now I’ve got stuck in a room *smacks head*

    • nobody says:

      Same thing happened to me. Escape brings up the menu, from which you can choose “restart room.”

      I was enjoying this enough, but I now have a few significant complaints:

      1. It’s *much* shorter than I expected.
      2. The lava jumping isn’t all that much fun from the fixed-camera perspective (though the next lava room with the building power-up was a treat)
      3. There’s not really any sense of exploration. It seems to be completely linear, which isn’t a demerit in its own right, but given the look and feel of the game, I’d expect something resembling more of an adventure.

      I’m hoping 1 and 3 are on the to-do list for being taken care of as the dev moves from alpha into final release.

    • Gizoku says:

      Here’s my (admittedly basic) Joy2Key config.

      Left Stick = Move
      Right Stick = Shoot (works in all 8 directions)
      Right trigger = Jump

      http://www.sendspace.com/file/3rp9b3

  4. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Threw ‘em a dollar. Windows, 100% to devs of course.

    It’s refreshing to see the 1:2:3 ratio of Windows:Mac:Linux payment still holds. Windows gamers have a bevy of titles to choose from and thus value games less, while the poor freetards take whatever they can get. All remains right with the world.

    • owenj says:

      Ha! Keep fighting the good ( and completely a non-waste of energy / time ) fight sir!

  5. TillEulenspiegel says:

    The Humble Indie whatever seems to be the best thing that’s happened to Linux gaming in ages. Am I wrong, or have all their games been Windows/Mac/Linux compatible? It’s a great policy, encouraging indies to work with the cross-platform libraries they should’ve been using anyway.

    • Meneth says:

      To be in the bundle, a game has to be cross-platform, so yes all the HIB games have had Win/Mac/Linux support.

    • Premium User Badge

      Petethegoat says:

      @Meneth
      Not entirely true, for the first couple of Bundles especially, many of the games were ported specifically for the bundle. I don’t know if that is still holding true, but I would assume so to some extent.

  6. terry says:

    This is really fun, but for some reason my fire button keeps sticking :(

  7. PixelProspector says:

    FINALLY!!
    When you like shooters… or platformers… or arcadey stuff… then I highly recommend to get this game…
    It’s fantastic :))

  8. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    The pay what you want just keeps on coming, and i keep paying, which is the most important thing.

  9. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Great game but the mouse aim controls while my preferred option are TERRIBLE.

  10. Ankheg says:

    Ok, I recognized Schwarz and Cristopher Walken parody. Who’s others? Michelangelo (TMNT)? And?

    • DickSocrates says:

      Michaelangelo is probably right, though he was just a generic surfer dude in the first place. Sean Connery is one. They’re all pretty bad.

  11. hjd_uk says:

    Been looking forward to this little gem, Sold!

  12. Dominic White says:

    This is a really fun, simple little game that is well worth a couple bucks. That’s all I really have to say.

  13. Bhazor says:

    Y’know, I would probably give a higher ratio to charity (and pay more) if the charities they represented weren’t so… fringe…y. I mean I understand the whole sick kids getting toys and that it’s great and all. But do you have any idea how many malaria nets I could buy for the price of a Nintendo DS? I still don’t really understand where the EFF money goes. Am I paying for these guys to give *talks*?

    If we could volunteer a charity or if they included some less fringey stuff (Red Cross, Marie Curie, Anti-malaria Foundation) I’m sure we’d see them a higher percentage and fewer $0.01

    • Tams80 says:

      It’s the whole “gamers giving to gamers” thing. I know what you mean though. I’d rather give my money to MSF or other similar charities.

      I don’t give any of the money I pay for the Humble Bundles to the charities anymore though. I just pay less and therefore have more to spare for when I do donate (though to be realistic less money probably ends up going to charity).

    • nobody says:

      I feel similarly ambivalent about the huge sums of money going to Child’s Play over other charities, but you should know that the EFF is a lot like the ACLU. Sure, they give talks and put out position papers, but they also work to lobby politicians and, even more importantly (like the ACLU), take on court cases pro bono. They’re an important counter-weight to, for example, the motion picture industry, which spends huge sums on wooing politicians and seems to manage to write their own legislation. Check out their work at eff.org.

    • Vinraith says:

      Just zero out the humble bundle charities and send something to the charity of your choice. The Humble Bundles remind me, sometimes, to get off my ass and give even if it’s not to the charities the Humble Bundle includes. Which reminds me, I’ve no interest in Voxatron, but I should probably go kick Oxfam and the Nature Conservancy some cash…

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I usually give to EFF during the humblebundles. Child’s Play is kind of a retarded charity, though, so I never give them anything.

      They really should get new charities, though. The fact that they don’t kind of supports my suspicion that the charities don’t make the bulk of the money during the bundles, but rather are more just a marketing gimmick to get people to give more to the developers.

      They are probably scared that if they got more popular charities the devs wouldn’t make as much.

    • tempest says:

      EFF is important because of stuff like this: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/10/sopa-hollywood-finally-gets-chance-break-internet . Go on, take a look at what’s behind that link. It will curdle your blood. And that’s happening right as we speak. That’s why EFF is important.

    • alundra says:

      I fully agree that the kid’s charity is not that hot and that others would be important, but the EFF does a lot more than talks, as has been mentioned. If you donate remember the slider bars, give it all to the authors and the EFF, if it’s your choice.

      I’m becoming increasingly weary of the hib, not only the decreasing quality but this, are they turning it into a launching platform for games??

    • johnpeat says:

      It astonishes me to see someone here knocking Childs Play…

      The “malaria nets” argument is fucking stupid – we could buy malaria nets instead of a lot of things but if we apply that logic to all charities, 99% of them will cease overnight…

      You make Childs Play out to be something extravagant and unnecessary but it’s helping sick kids get better faster and with less pain medication – what, exactly, offends you about that??

      Then there’s the effect Childs Play has on the gaming industry. Not only does it promote gaming’s positive benefits for healing (see above), it also shows the gaming industry in an amazingly positive light pretty-much worldwide.

      It’s actually one of very few things that you – as a gamer – can point to and say “there is something my hobby does which is 100% positive”

      So as I said, I’m just flabbergasted someone with an interest in gaming could knock it – it’s mind-bogglingly fucking stupid, in fact – be utterly ashamed of yourselves and wake the fuck up.

    • MD says:

      Well, I admit I was sceptical, johnpeat, but you hurled just the right amount of abuse to convince me!

      Seriously though, you obviously feel really strongly about this, so can you give a bit more of an explanation of your support for Child’s Play? the “helping sick kids get better faster and with less pain medication” thing, is that referring to something non-obvious that I might have missed, or to the effects of games and toys on recovering children? If the latter, can you elaborate a bit? I assume the implication is that boosting the kids’ spirits also has some positive physical effects, and has been shown to reduce the amount of medication they require? (I’m not trolling you or anything, genuinely interested.)

      Your other point, well that’s a matter of individual judgment, but personally I have no desire to put my money towards a PR campaign for the games industry. If I want to ‘support the industry’ I’ll do it by paying people to make good games.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think the Eff is incredibly important, our current digital / copyright laws make no sense, and effort spent changing them now will mean less of a fight against inertia in the future.

      This is just my personal experience and not scientific at all:

      Having spent considerable time with a loved one in a hospital I can also say that Child’s play is not nearly as superfluous as it seems. Video games are wonderful tools for pain management at the very least; when you’re immersed in a game sometimes you can forget that there’s a giant hole in your stomach or what have you. It’s better than using some very addictive drugs that beat the crap out of your liver. Even cost wise, my loved one used less painkillers when involved in an immersive activity, which at several dollars a pill and god knows how much for the liquid drips could easily have cumulative effects outweighing the cost of the system itself.

    • alundra says:

      @johnpeat

      Do you kiss your beloved ones with that potty mouth of yours?? Instead of throwing insults right and left to try and communicate with others, work in your manners for Christ sake!

    • johnpeat says:

      I’m sorry but the fact a ‘gamer’ would describe what Childs Play does at ‘a bit retarded’ calls for some plainspeaking (suggesting the EFF does nothing but ‘give talks’ seems similarly devoid of what they do too tbh).

      There have been a number of studies done which show that kids who are occupied/immersed in playing a video game (or similar e.g. VR, interactive books etc.) require less pain medication than kids who aren’t (I’ll let you Google them, there are quite a few articles)

      More importantly, the people who work in kids wards will tell you how much the kids benefit in terms of being happier and recovering faster.

      End of the day, Childs Play was setup in response to people condemning videogames as violent/immoral etc. etc. so it’s purpose is quite clearly to show gaming in a positive light but it’s direct benefit is sick kids – how that could be a bad thing I’ve no idea!?

      End of the day, these kids might not be dying of malaria in the third-world but that doesn’t make pumping them full of painkillers whilst they have a thoroughly miserable time in hospital any better does it??

      No-one is forcing you to support it of course – but the least you could do is look at what it does and what benefits that has both of the kids and the gaming industry as-a-whole because writing-it-off as ‘retarded’ or assuming it’s just about ‘giving kids toys’ is daft, to say the least…

      As for the EFF – please read their site and see what they do – they are often the only thing standing between us and the people who’d tattoo us with numbers and feed us shit.

    • rayne117 says:

      Vinraith:

      That’s not really the point though is it? Sure you COULD just go donate to another charity and nothing to Child’s Play, but there’s not much exposure for the other charities then. Which is kind of the point of putting Child’s Play up there.

    • Bhazor says:

      Again what exactly am I paying for when I donate to the EFF? Am I really just paying bedroom activists to write emotively worded pseudo economic “Hollywood eats our children” style essays? Am I funding political donations/lobbying that just perpetuates the corrupt system? If I gave $50 to them what exactly would they do with it? A grassroots movement is only worth funding if theres a need for on the ground logistics, supporting a sit in for example or supporting people who are striking. At the moment all I’ve seen are hobbyists with vested interests and the same kind of emotive unverified claims that they oppose.

      As for Child’s Play. Sorry I still don’t buy it and calling me names won’t help me change my mind. By all means hand over unwanted games/consoles/whatnot that you have available, thats just sensible. However, given the choice between spending $50 on toys or $50 on say dialysis, treatment or research into better less additive drugs then it isn’t even close.
      Yes games can distract kids from their pain.
      So can having the operation their family can’t afford.
      So can a hug.

      My original point was that if they used better charities they might see fewer $0.01 donations which given that Paypal eats that penny ends up costing the team money in bandwidth. Certainly I’d say the existing stigma for the penny pinchers would be far worse if they were essentially taking money from MSF or Oxfam. Though as has been mentioned that may also cut the developers taking.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Bhazor If you think the pain-relief aspect of gaming is just “distraction” you’re wrong (and you’ve not even bothered to read-up on what you’re telling people not to support).

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20024064-1.html

      There’s significant evidence that immersion in games actually changes the way the brain deals with stress, anxiety and pain in a fundamental way – you’re actually rewiring a child’s brain to ensure less discomfort and quicker recovery – it’s therapy and it could even replace the need for some far more expensive forms of treatment.

      It’s wonderful that you’ll donate your broken/worn-out hardware/software but we can’t be waiting for you to decide you no longer need it (and hospitals have to pay to have pre-owned stuff tested so it’s not constructive or useful anyway). They don’t want your tat anymore than they want your bed as an operating table.

      As for using the money for drug research – yeah, the pharma industry is dead-short of cash and needs all the help it can get to make more drugs. The cost of a DS and a couple of games will pay for about .001sec of their research…

      and all that before you even begin to grasp the positive benefits Childs Play has for gaming as an industry/culture/hobby – it’s astonishing you can be so ‘obtuse’.

    • johnpeat says:

      and as for the EFF – the fact you seem to think they’re some sort of organisation of psueds or a goverment lobbying company suggests you’ve not even read their website (and your lack of awareness of their past work suggests you’ve been on the Internet for 20 mins and are already trolling it).

      Their website contains plenty of material – if it’s above your reading level we can send someone around…

    • Bhazor says:

      And onions cure prostate cancer.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-207275/Onions-fight-prostate-cancer.html

      The studies you mention all have many flaws.
      1) There is still no solid measure for pain, everything is subjective. The cold water endurance test favoured by the American Pain Society in particular is very flawed.
      2) Theres a big confusion between VR and games. Certainly what they tested with we wouldn’t recognise as a game. One study in particular seemed to have much more in common with sensory deprivation than any Italian plumbers.
      3) Most studies seem to only test videogames compared to nothing. Ignoring the greater effects that could be achieved with human interaction/breathing exercises etc
      4) They still class it as a distraction. Maybe more effective than say television but certainly not as a miracle cure. Certainly no marked improvement over a couple of paracetemol.

      Why should I care about it just because it’s attached to the games industry? If they want more respect tell them to stop making so many crap games that deserve the mass media scorn. Again, go ahead and give a childrens hospital toys. Its common sense.

      I’ll admit I didn’t know much about EFF before last night. They have done a lot of good to our rights as upper middleclass suburbanites. Still not the most deserving charity in the world though.

      Also can you at least be civil or I’ll just block your posts now.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Bhazor I’ll try to be nicer when you try to be smarter – is my motto in life really…

      I show one of a dozen different bits of proper scientific research – you show an article from the Daily Mail which, at best, distorts and misrepresents some – you definately lose on that one!

      For me, the fact that the people working with the kids say the kids are happier and recover faster is enough – giving toys to kids is a shoe-in for feelgood factor for anyone surely? We’re gamers – we give games – that’s just how it is – malaria nets is Bill Gates’ job – each to their own.

      “Why should I support this just because it’s attached to the gaming industry”

      No-one is asking you to – however you are suggesting that it’s a charity not worth donating to and/or questioning it’s validity re: the Bundle and that’s what I’m calling out.

      The Humble Bundle started-off as a way of marketting games and making money for charity at the same time – so they chose charities connected to gaming. It would have made no sense to support Oxfam or Amnesty and those charities aren’t short of opportunities to promote themselves anyway!?

      If you can’t see why we (the people who consider gaming our passion, hobby and even job) don’t want to promote our own interests tho – then I’ve no idea why you come to this site?? Is it just for the cheap game tips? :)

  14. Universal Hamster says:

    Control issues aside, thats an absolutely stunning wee game.

    • Tams80 says:

      Aiming with the mouse is an absolute pain with no quick reference to where it currently is. It is a great game though.

    • Universal Hamster says:

      Yeah I tried the mouse aiming for about two seconds, it doesnt work, youre much better off using the keys exclusively.

  15. Nazsha says:

    Am I the only one who can’t turn off the auto-jump?
    It says “Z/X to jump”, but it doesn’t seem to do anything for me!

  16. jokomul says:

    Awesome game but I suck at it. I find the controls completely unbearable. I wish I could control aiming/shooting with the mouse…

  17. Vexing Vision says:

    “Don’t worry Sir, I’m from the Internet” in the trailer just made me buy a game I have zero interest in.

    Well done, Mr. Rosen. Well done.

  18. CLD says:

    Well, this is going to be the first Humble Indie Bundle i won’t buy. Most of the bundles until now had games that were already released and had good reception. There’s not even a demo.

    • Urthman says:

      I’ve been drooling after this game since the first screenshots, so I’ll definitely be grabbing it.

      But I too am a bit disappointed to see the Humble Bundle being used to sell an alpha game given the incredibly high quality of full-length, polished games they’ve offered in the past: Trine, World of Goo, Braid, Penumbra.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Ditto. Not buying.

      I’m a bit confused as to why the Humble people would tarnish their brand like this. If they will release a bundle for a single alpha game it just seems like now they are whoring themselves out to the highest bidder or something. Especially since there have been quite a few indie devs in the past who wanted in on the humble bundles, yet were rejected.

    • TensaiBoy says:

      Blocks that Matter and Binding of Isaac will most likely join this bundle
      http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=32293000&postcount=8

    • johnpeat says:

      More people need to get Blocks that Matter because it is – frankly – brain mashingly fucking hard and I need more people to realise this :)

    • MD says:

      There’s always the ’1 cent demo, pay more if you like it’ option. I know there’s probably a bit of an automatic guilt reaction to paying the minimum, but I’m sure they’d prefer you to try it and potentially give them money later, than not try it at all and give them no money.

    • Matzerath says:

      At least with a just-released alpha I can be sure I don’t already have it, unlike most of the last few bundles.

  19. mwoody says:

    I wish the game had some way to differentiate between an actual edge wall and one that would scroll if you moved toward it. Like it would fade out on scrolling edges rather than have a solid break, or something. Or have impervious (and transparent in the front) edge walls.

  20. neolith says:

    Instabuy!

  21. Donjo says:

    Looking forward to this… really annoying ad though…

  22. Armante says:

    Thanks RPS :) Got me a copy immediately. Money to devs in this case.
    I’ll second and third the complaints about the control scheme, so if the devs drop by and read any of this, please take note we would like a variety of options to control firing!

    Great little game by the way, the voxels and complete distructability is awesome

  23. Inglourious Badger says:

    Hmmm, ok, bought!

  24. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Right, another unfinished game that I supposed to pay for.

    • Donjo says:

      Well, if you don’t pay for it now the developers will call round to your house and help themselves. It’s mandatory and they’ll turn your pockets out the easy way or the hard way.

    • johnpeat says:

      You can wait until it’s finished and pay $15 if you like – no pressure…

      berk…

    • Teddy Leach says:

      If you don’t want to buy it, don’t. It’s that simple. It’s so unbelievably simple. There should be no problem with that one simple thing.

  25. Jim Dose says:

    Bought it! Nice game, even though I hates them forever for beating me to making a voxelated Robotron. Industrious jerks. ;)

    I’m adding my vote for twin-stick shooting. That’s my only complaint so far.

  26. Wetworks says:

    Kind of surprised this game doesn’t give you any bombs or grenades. The amount of destruction you could do to the environment and enemies would be a lot of fun.

  27. mwoody says:

    Y’know, a voxel version of Atomic Bomberman on PC would pretty much make me quit my job.

  28. kristian says:

    Horrible controls, really simple gameplay.. only neat things are the style and the editor.

  29. mmalove says:

    My first thought is this game looks pretty bland in its current state. My second is that depending on the strength of the level designer, someone crazy enough might make a dwarf fortress mod for it.