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Post Void teaches FPS mastery in a psychedelic hurricane of cartoon blood

Post Void - scary man with eyes
(Image credit: YCJY Games)
GOTY 2020

goty 2020

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to our team-selected Game of the Year Awards 2020, individual members of the PC Gamer team each select one of their own favourite games of the year. We'll post new personal picks, alongside the main awards, throughout the rest of the month.

In a year where Ubisoft released three huge do-everything worlds in under three months, and Cyberpunk 2077 fell markedly short of its marketing's lofty ambitions, a game so singularly focused on the act of shooting shit from the hip and looking wild doing it went down so, so smooth. Post Void is a shot of reliable well whiskey to the $15 artisanal cocktail that you feel obligated to spend half-an-hour sipping on. 

Post Void is about as pure as shooters get, and where it's been stripped down—there's no formal story campaign, no multiplayer, no needless meta progression—there sits instead a lavish, actively hostile assembly of melty visuals, harsh noise, and panicked action. It's a punk single. 

Post Void plays one hell of a tune, too. Your health is spilling out of your skull, and the only way to replenish the life-giving liquid is to kill, quickly and efficiently. It's set in an infinite maze of cozy domestic hallways that bend and warp like you're meant to hurl, patrolled by the disfigured scrawls of two-legged mouth monsters and men with big mouths for heads, with mouth turrets placed in the higher corners (there's a strong mouth theme here, just FYI). Sometimes you'll need to shoot out a doorway because the doorway is actually a large human crammed into a square, literally bent on stopping you.

See Post Void in action, also available on YouTube.

Warning: Post Void features bright colors and flashing lights. 

As you'd expect, a well-placed mouth-shot results in a flash of light, a shower of blood, a compressed ungghhh from the enemy, and some juice for the skull. I like to crouchslide through the mess afterwards (a nasty little slip-and-slide reward for the good job I'm doing) keeping the cursor trained around the head level and hugging corners as I slide by for mass skull juice production. Now this is first-person shooting!

The sensory experience is the thing, framed by scores and leaderboards, sure, a concession for the gamer in us. But the point of Post Void is self-induced, breathless nausea. Squinting through the clusters of gristle constantly dissolving around you, slipping into a flow state where each two minute run feels like both an eternity and, once it's finished, as if no time has passed at all, left dizzy and sick wondering if videogames are actually good for us—that's the power of Post Void.

I volunteer to let the void take the wheel and suffer the whiplash from slipping back into awareness between runs because what else can hi-jack our nervous systems like that but games? Doom Eternal got me sweating and pacing across the room a couple hours in. Post Void took a few minutes to get there.

So here's a slick little shooter, just a couple bucks, that demands focus, skill, and the will to withstand its brash imagery and noise that somehow envelops me completely in the span of seconds. All accomplished in a decades-old corridor FPS framework I thought I'd definitely be tired of by now. The reward for any onlooker is something like watching Moses part the Red Sea. The ability to parse the violent noise and sound and find that elevated, meditative focus isn't something I've felt so strongly since Super Hexagon, where the sense of mastery is cleverly exaggerated by the gulf between extravagant presentation and simple play. 

Pointing and clicking on heads (or mouths) feels as good as ever on PC, and Post Void is one hell of a potent, stylish, and unexpected iteration on the genre. I played maybe two hours total, but that's all it took to sear its image into my mind permanently.

James Davenport
James is PC Gamer’s bad boy, staying up late to cover Fortnite while cooking up radical ideas for the weekly livestream. He can still kickflip and swears a lot. You’ll find him somewhere in the west growing mushrooms and playing Dark Souls.