As the Steam sales rankings and the increasing interest of the console world often demonstrate, one of the most popular genres of recent years is the survival one. The variants are obviously several, but almost all offer a structure purely focused on multiplayer (some noteworthy singleplayer alternatives are The Solus Project, The Flame in the Flood and The Long Dark) and on the constant risk of losing all their resources and progress. carried out at any moment.

Survival on the market are now different and therefore the question may arise spontaneously: why bother with a project only in pre-alpha and which is obviously at a stage of development, at least in the proposed build, rather backward? Why talk about this Voodoo? The answer is very simple and even trivial: because Voodoo is an independent game created by the all-Italian team of Brain in the Box and because the title comes from a Kickstarter campaign (€ 32,153 raised against a goal of € 30,000 requested) recently went to successful.

The possibility of taking a look at what’s boiling in the pot of the made in Italy videogame industry can only feed a lot of curiosity, but behind this survival there are also some rather interesting ideas and a potential that if fully expressed could give life to a product to keep an eye on. Potential, a key word for a test that immediately forces us to distinguish between what Voodoo is and what it could be when the many ideas of the Italian studio are finally implemented.

Although the game world is limited there are already a couple of different biomes.

What does the build that we have been able to test propose? We were faced with a rather limited menu that allows us to enter without particular problems within a server capable of hosting up to 32 players (the team also thought of proposing larger servers in later versions of the game) and that puts us in front of a fairly vast map made up of three main biomes: a desert, the classic African savannah and a sort of small oasis characterized by more luxuriant vegetation.

From this first impact we are faced with one of the key elements of the project: the African setting. It is certainly a curious and original choice that at the moment is not supported by an excellent technical work (the pop-up is all too evident) but which in the continuation of development will certainly be able to prove to be more effective in terms of general impact. In this setting, through a third-person view, we took on the role of a character with different types of weapons.

The combat resembles in some ways the setting used by the souls-like with quick attack, heavy attack, a dodge, a parry that uses a shield, the possibility of using a bow for fights from a distance and a stamina bar to hold constantly in sight. It is possible to fight against other humans and hunt for resources, although the mechanics of crating, village building and survival are not yet implemented and will only be available later. These are elements that in different forms are already present in other exponents of the genre but what distinguishes the work of the Italian team from other titles is the presence of Izimu.

The Izimu are what in the ideas of Brain in the Box should bring Voodoo closer to Shadow of the Colossus. These are particular gigantic creatures that players will be able to encounter in the game world and which are basically impossible to defeat alone. Our test allowed us to face a provisional version of Ibamba-Khulu, one of these fearsome giants. It is a giant that can only be faced by hitting weak points using the arc but which in the intentions of the developers can be defeated in a very different way even by climbing on it, a possibility present in the title of Team ICO.

But why eliminate the Izimu? To obtain specific totem parts, which guarantee technological advancement to the village that hosts them. The idea behind the title structure is, therefore, to form some sort of small tribes and to ally with other groups to eliminate the giant. Alliances will inevitably be precarious given that after or during this PvE section you will be faced with an almost inevitable battle to be able to grab the precious part of the totem and to advance their village (each player in the village will benefit from the advancement guaranteed by the totem).

This progression currently remains a simple idea just like the crafting, the survival component and the construction of structures and villages. Another interesting aspect of which for the moment nothing has been shown concretely is the presence of a fair amount of lore with stelae that will reveal information on Izimu, their origins and in general on the game world.

Ibamba-Khulu is the Izimu protagonist of this pre-alpha build.

Currently Voodoo is inevitably a title made more of shadows than lights, of a lot of potential and, understandably, little substance. Part of the basic infrastructure of what will probably be published in Early Access is already intuitive and visible but at the moment we are faced with a work too immature to be judged. The African setting of sure charm and the desire to combine survival with fights against the gigantic Izimu, taking a cue from what was done in Shadow of the Colossus, are very interesting ideas that clash with the inevitable skepticism deriving from a too early build.

Surely it will be worthwhile to come back to talk about the work of Brain in the Box near the launch in early access to really understand what the ambitions of this all-Italian indie are. Standing out within the survival panorama is not an everyday thing, but Voodoo can count on a concept and some originalities that make it a project to keep an eye on in this 2017, as long as the small team really manages to achieve a good part of your ideas and that you do not run into all the inevitable pitfalls of the Early Access model, a model that too often has shown its side to many problems.