Obligatory header to the review: I focus on four primary areas whenever I review a game: gameplay, story, graphics, and sound/audio/general things that go into your earholes. Gameplay and Story get a rating scale from 1 to 10, and the AV stuff gets a rating from 1 to 5. My philosophy on this is that there are some instances in which a game may not necessarily have that much in the way of gameplay (take Amnesia for example), but the story/atmosphere/whatever it may be is reason enough to pick it up. Also, take the cumulative score with a grain of salt; it's just a numerical feeling about the game as a whole. That's part of why I do these subscores. Also, keep in mind that I'm not going off of school grade based rankings. A 5/10 denotes what I feel to be an average game. Likewise, 7/10 is a game that I think is pretty cool, and something that gets a 2/10 is near-abomination level. Pinning scores to an even further obfuscated rating scale is kinda senseless, but for the sake of my backloggery, I'll repeat again that 1.0-2.7 is a one-star game, 3.0-4.7 is a two-star game, 5.0-6.7, 7.0-8.7, and 9.0-10 are three, four, and five stars, respectively.
Gameplay: Volt is one of those games that I was tentative on picking up when it came out, as it seemed kinda like another one of those "HAY GUIZ WERE HARD GEAM PLAE US" kinds of games (like Cloudberry Kingdom and Eryi's Action). Fortunately, the level design in this game is better than those games, although I sometimes found myself thinking I might actually have more fun with those two aforementioned games (I'll talk about this later in the review). The game bills itself as a puzzle-platformer, although it is more apt to say it's more of a "you got puzzle in my platformer!" as opposed to "you got platformer in my puzzle!" That's not to say that the game is completely devoid of puzzles; there are a fair few levels in the game that do require actual thought. One feature I would've liked to have seen would be to look the level over beforehand so that you would have no surprises going through the level, or in the case of a puzzle at the end of the level, you would have ample time to figure it out.
The controls are fairly simplistic; the mouse does everything. Left mouse button shoots your tether (you can shoot two) and right mouse button allows you to jump. Jumping takes a bar of health, of which you have four. To sever a tether, you click and drag a line over said tether; "much like one would in a tablet game," I had thought. It turns out that I was right; this game is a ported tablet/phone game. One thing I wish the game would have done on the control scheme would have implemented is a Portal-esque control scheme where LMB would fire/retract the left tether (you could even color-code it like Portal) and RMB would fire/retract the right tether. Also, jumping would quite naturally be space.
So, you may be asking: this sounds quite alright for a game. Why the thumbs down? I've gotta be honest; I just don't find the game fun. Yeah, it's hard and I do enjoy challenging games, but this game more often than not felt hard because of the control scheme. Even after five hours, the control scheme felt clunky and sometimes downright unresponsive. Perhaps it was just me being bad, but there were quite a few instances where it felt like the game just dropped my inputs. Also, severing the tethers with a line is inherently imprecise and quite often killed be because either the camera moved the line around or I cut a tether I didn't even mean to.
A question a game designer friend asked me one time when I was talking about a game was along the lines of "are you playing a game to beat it or are you playing a game because you want to and are having fun?" For pretty much the entire game, my answer to that was the former, up until 2-18 where I instead opted to answer, "I'm not playing the game anymore." That was the stage that made me stop and realize how little fun I was actually having. Also, that's why I said I may have actually had more fun playing Cloudberry or Eryi's Action earlier; while those games are unfair by design, at least I'd be excited and having fun, however masochistic of fun it may be. I just stopped caring after a while with this game.
That's the tragic bit about this game, though: I liked the concept. I liked the idea, but the execution of said idea just wasn't any fun to me. You may feel different, and that's okay; I've never had the most popular of opinions. However, I can't personally recommend this game on the gameplay alone. 4/10.
Story: You are battery. Escape the plant. Yeah, not really worth talking about or even rating.
Graphics: When you start the game, you are greeted with everybody's favorite Unity launcher, which gives you the option of changing resolutions and graphical fidelities from three presets. There really isn't any need for super precise control of graphical fidelity, since this game opts for more of a stylistic presentation as opposed to a technical presentation. The art style in this game is... alright, I guess? It's rather Puddle-esque, although Puddle had some thematic variation. Unfortunately, some portions of the foreground do get in the way of some levels. It never created that much of an issue for gameplay, but it's still annoying when you're hidden behind a foreground pipe. The graphics style never did much for me, but at least it's functional. 2/5.
Sound: Holy butts the music in this game is boring. It's some of the most uninspired techno I've heard in a while. Like seriously, the music in this game is not good at all. I ended up turning it off after a while, instead opting for other OSTs like Unreal Tournament's and Digital Devil Saga's. I had a better time after doing that. Because I ended up deciding that the music was so uninteresting that I had to turn it off, I'll give it a 1/5 for the sound portion.
Overall scores are: 4/0/2/1; cumulative score of 3.5/10. I picked it up while it was on sale, so I don't feel like I've been ripped off or anything, but I do feel like I kinda wasted my time with this game. You may end up liking it, but I just can't personally recommend it.