Beyond the Veil is a type of game that does the bare minimum in some areas, but goes above and beyond in others. Even as I write this it still amazes me how much it both cared and didn’t care about quality. So where was the good and where was the bad? Let’s find out...
You’re the Wanderer. (Very original.) The world is in chaos, and to make things right, you must survive, wake the Gods, and pretty much save the world. The story isn’t that inspired, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference anyhow. Since you’re this spade-shaped being shooting everything, story takes a backseat to you simply blasting everything around you. Also, it takes a further backseat because there is WAY too much reading for you to care.
For such a deconstructed game, the controls sure are difficult to manage. You don’t move much yourself; instead, the controls move the room around you, pretty much turning this game into the old style of tube shooters. WASD controls only do so much in this situation. With the graphics being so poor you can’t even tell what’s happening half the time anyway, controls are largely "hit this button to shoot the other moving things". There is skill involved, and I did lose myself in it, but it’s kind of a one trick pony as far as gameplay goes.
Top-down shooters are usually minimal in terms of visuals, but Beyond the Veil brings it into a new dimension of minimalism. There’s only a handful of colors and a few types of shapes (even gunfire is straight lines flashing around), and it really hammers home why top-down shooters have changed so much in 40 years. There are some cool graphic bits, like fire looking real at the right distance, and support columns appearing from the top. Largely, like the shooting style, it’s fine for a while, but soon you’ll want something different… and there’s nothing else.
The music is what I like to call "dystopian Lord of the Rings minimalism". It’s creepy, slow, and adds a mysterious edge to the game, and damn if it doesn’t work. The sound effects aren’t half bad either. Gunfire sounds pretty damn impressive, and there aren't any sounds that sound like they’re taken off a stock clip site. The graphics don’t do it for me, but the music and sound pick up some of that slack.
And that brings us to gameplay. Like I said before, this is a top-down shooter, and nothing more. You run around and shoot. There’s some strategy, but ultimately what it all comes down to is spraying and praying.
The frame rate turned out to be pretty good. It did slog at points, so it wasn’t perfect, but for the most part the FPS was decent. Besides damage being a bit weird (bullets that hit you don’t count as damage, and those that miss do sometimes) it was also decent on the glitch front.
Beyond The Veil takes addictive gameplay, skill, and some great sound, but mash it together with tired gameplay, one dimensional playing, and a strange need to fight in certain ways. If you want a simple shooting game this can work, but there was a lot it could have done better.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.