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Voidigo, the best roguelite shooter since Nuclear Throne, has left early access

Don't avoid a go

Boy howdy, Voidigo is lively. Think Nuclear Throne but weirder. Every sprite oozes a frantic combination of energy and personality, from the steel-eyed sprint of your starting gun-bird-thing to the bobbing scuttle of the cyclops clayfish boss. Guns have punch, stomps have oomph, reward boxes have merry jingles. It's a top-down roguelike shooter that does everything right, and seldom have I seen a game more deserving of its Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam.

It left early access 11 days ago, which is 11 days you could have spent splatting crustaceans and wasps with skeleton trombones and deadly finger guns.

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As is the norm, you're up against a series of levels with boss fights, collecting weapons and layers upon layers of bonus effects as you do. My last run was defined by a broomstick melee weapon that sent me hurtling around the screen, along with lasers that fired every time I dodged - three of them, thanks to landing three upgrades for it, which also rewarded me with a bunch of money and a power-up that flung a plauge of frogs at anyone I stomped on. It's a heady mix of generosity and deadliness, with enemies that will shred through you in seconds if you drop your guard - no matter how many lasers or frogs you've accrued.

Less normal is the way those boss fights work, which don't wait for you at the end but instead come at you in the middle of a level. Bosses are damageable but not killable until you stomp on all the void beacons scattered across each level, which keeps you on your toes and means you get this pleasing rhythm as you transition from huntee to hunter.

That stomp I've mentioned is crucial, both because it often becomes a deadly weapon in itself once you've got some upgrades and because by default it stuns most enemies for a brief time. You're incentivised to wade into the fray, sometimes bouncing between the heads of several enemies in a row, always narrowly avoiding a clobbering.

Clever design touches extend everywhere you look. Chests often invite thoughtful mulling by offering a reward in exchange for a power-up you already have, while special rooms let you choose from several boons weighed up against the deadliness or achievability of their accompanying challenge modifier. It's full of surprises, too, and not just when it comes to zany enemies and weapons. A few runs ago I found a heist-spider, and got treated to a special cutscene of it stealing an item from the beautifully flouncy shopkeeper when I next entered his store.

If you've already dabbled while it was in early access, new challenges, weapons, power-ups, enemies, areas and more are waiting for you with the 1.0 update. Full patch notes are here.

If you haven't played yet and you're a Nuclear Throne-liker, you're in for a treat. Voidigo is yours for £16/$19/€18.50 from Steam.

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