Press many buttons to operate a radio telescope array in this eerie indie game’s demo

Do you like first-person games where you control complex machines by manually typing commands into computers and fumbling with buttons, switches, and devices? Watch the demo for Voices Of The Void, an upcoming game about operating a space radio telescope array. Alone. In the forest. It has a pleasantly manual process of finding, targeting and analyzing signals and a whole complex of servers and machines that need maintenance. Plus, you know, a whole feeling of creeping dread when you’re staring out into space and wondering if anyone’s looking back.

Voices Of The Void puts you to work on a radio telescope array in Switzerland, a fairy ring of dishes rising above the trees. Your job is to find, record and analyze intergalactic objects, then sell the data and keep it running. It’s nice and slow, but very involved.

I could have made a fancy high speed highlights video but the fun is in the pace and flow

The basics of your job involve a set of four computer terminals and a laptop, each with its own role, display and controls. Most of the controls are physical buttons that are pressed and adjusted and tuned. Data is also stored on physical drives and moved back and forth between stations by ejecting the drive and putting it in a different slot (after being reminded to export, obvs).

Individual computers in your server bank can break, reducing your processing power and slowing down systems until you rewire them in a tiny mini-game of simple math puzzles. Worse, computers in harnesses can fail, and you’ll have to run all the way over (or hop on your jerky quad) to reconnect it to the network. You will also perform a lot of maintenance, manually typing commands into terminals to analyze and recalibrate systems. And if you really want to streamline your workflow, you can increase performance by turning off unused systems at the breaker. I absolutely refuse to go without a light.

READ :  Taiwan Excellence enhances the gaming experience in India with smart and stylish gaming devices

As a noted object-handling enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy the many acts of pressing physical buttons on computers, typing commands into terminals, flipping switches, lugging drives around, fueling from canisters, and so on. It has a Half-Life 2 feel to it, especially as I think it currently uses some HL sounds. After the tutorial, the game drops all support and is happy to let you frolic and figure out anything I like. Mastering this job is fun, making the process a habit, knowing how to find and fixing problems, and learning the structure of the valley I live in now.

Plan your purchase in a Voices of the Void screenshot.

I can’t believe I have to buy my own coffee maker to increase my productivity for The Man

It’s also a mild everyday simulator, with day and night cycles, and hunger and fatigue to manage. And every day, your boss emails you tasks with opportunities to earn extra money. You are also responsible for updating all the individual systems, you see, with the money you make. And while you get a daily drone delivery with a new drive and a bag of chips, you’ll also want to stock up on extra supplies and handy luxuries. It’s a big job for one person. Alone. In the forest.

Voices Of The Void is an exciting game. The setup immediately made me think of Five Nights At Freddy’s and Woodland Slender Man Jumpscare ’em Ups, but it’s not (although I was really persistent when I found mannequins in my base). There’s a slow, creeping uneasiness about focusing alone at night on an otherworldly task and hoping you can’t see anything out of the corner of your eye. Every time I see dishes rotating out the window, I try to avoid looking between the trees, just in case.

This tension can also be joyful. Every peachy dawn is a relief. And when a rain shower coincided with a meteor shower, I rose from my bed and ran into the night to look up and roll in wonder. But I’m increasingly encountering moments of… not quite horror, not yet, but certainly fear. I’m afraid things will only get worse as I progress through the days of story mode.

In a Voices of the Void screenshot, dishes rise above trees in a valley at night.

I hate having a radar console pinging in a corner of my command center. And I hate that the console has a button to reset an alarm. What is the scanner for, game? Why might an alarm go off? It’s that very good thing in games: revealing a system to you before you need it, creating anticipation/curiosity/anxiety about when and how it might come into play. Maybe it never will. I hope it never will.

I like it when games are so unconventional that I never feel like I have a solid grip on what they are. It could be anything without a comforting knowledge of genre conventions, so I tie myself in anxious knots by imagining everything. It’s the same feeling I had when I played the excellent infrastructure inspection game Infra. And now my brain is freaking out imagining what Voices Of The Void could do. I would flip my lid up if the daily drone delivery ever happened you know just casually hand me a gun for no reason don’t worry just a gun in my purchases. I have no reason to believe it has guns or will ever become violent. But what if it dropped a gun on me. Oh no.

Voices Of The Void is a work in progress. The controls are odd, with some keyboard shortcuts and input commands often leaving me fumbling and flinging items. The tutorial riffing on Portal seems odd, setting expectations for a tone that the rest of the game doesn’t seem to have at all. It feels wrong to start you without all computer terminals unlocked, which requires a bit of work to buy the final step of the standard signal process. I don’t like the HUD, especially with the black borders enabled by default (you can disable them). But it’s not worth criticizing too much at this stage of development. I’m excited to see what this game will become and I’m dreading experiencing it all.

You can download’s latest pay-what-you-want (no minimum) demo build. Developer MrDrNose helps fund it through Patreon.

Ooh, and it’s only as I finish writing this post that I find out about an older game with a similar premise, Signal Simulator. Looks more shiny and high-tech, and much more complicated. I like that Voices feels like a low-fi Half-Life 2. But I have to take a look too.