Advertisement

This new sci-fi horror gives you a Kinect-like scanner to see enemies, who can you hear you from your mic

 The Voidness
The Voidness

The Voidness is a forthcoming sci-fi horror game where you use an Xbox Kinect-style scanner to reveal otherwise invisible enemies, and if that sounds tense, just know that those enemies will be able to hear your real-life breathing, so keep it down.

I've always been a sucker for psychological horror games that use interactivity in unique ways, and this sounds right up my alley. The scanner used by the space scientist protag isn't actually an Xbox Kinect - that's just the first comparison my dumb brain could conjure up. It's actually a Lidar scanner, which is a real-life light-sensing technology typically used to study the Earth. In The Voidness, it's used to examine a mysterious void filled with hostile alien creatures, with the goal being to escape the spacecraft alive and also find out what happened to your missing crewmates.

Scenes from the trailer remind me of the 2012 horror movie Paranormal Activity 4, in which an actual Xbox Kinect is used in some moderately inventive ways. I remember thinking the device was criminally underutilized in that movie, and I'm hoping The Voidness comes up with some brand new and non-gimmicky ways to scare us silly with the scanner.

In terms of its own functionality, the scanner can be upgraded to scan vertically and horizontally, and have a greater scope. Furthermore, at certain points you'll be able to unlock scanning turrets to do the work for you. In addition to identifying enemies, items, upgrades, and the like, the scanner will also help you solve puzzles as you make your way through the game's different levels.

As for the other hopefully non-gimmicky gimmick, that being the enemies that can pick up sounds from your microphone to find you, there are some limitations. The most obvious is that you can simply mute your microphone if you want to opt out of that particular risk, and in fact, the feature is entirely optional via in-game settings as well. Also, the enemies will only be able to hear you when you're actively hiding, which it sounds like you'll be doing a lot of.

Gameplay is primarily based around stealthy movements and avoiding making noises both in-game and in real life. For example, walking over broken glass will alert enemies to your presence, as will moving crates or knocking over objects. When all else inevitably fails, your object is to "run away and hide from the entity."

The Voidness launches into Steam Early Access on April 7, 2023.

Here are the best horror games to play this weekend.