Steam Early Access Impressions: The Void Rains Upon Her Heart

Out today in Steam Early Access from Veyeral Games and The Hidden Levels, The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is an offbeat bullet-hell shooter about a pale, ugly alien woman with deformed wings, living in isolation in a cave, haunted by monsters that will not let her leave. Her answer? To fight back using the power of love. To love the monsters so much that they will submit into loving her back in return!

This bizarre premise plays out as a boss rush shmup, your ship taking the form of the alien woman’s heart, which pelts monsters with heart-shaped bullets of love and affection. The story mode unfolds a lot like The Binding of Isaac and other similar roguelikes, where you progress through a randomized gauntlet of stages on a single life and health bar, earning random gifts of love software, which enhance your love-em-up capabilities with a stacking loadout of different abilities and passive perks. Dying anywhere along the way ends in heartbreak, sending you all the way back to the beginning.

Mechanically, The Void Rains Upon Her Heart ticks off all the boxes of what you’ve come to expect from a side-scrolling shmup–minus the preliminary levels of smaller enemy waves to dispatch before reaching the boss of course. The heart ship fires standard rapid-fire bullets automatically, but a key part of the combo-building strategy is choosing when to hold down the charge button for a larger, more powerful single shot. You’ve also got a limited number of panic attacks to use in case of emergency, deploying a circular force field that absorbs incoming fire and dishes out damage within its radius for a limited time. Other than that, you’re darting to avoid the chaotic, screen-filling bullet hell spray, fighting to survive while steadily chipping away at the monster’s massive life bar stretching across the entire bottom of the screen. The heart itself has a heart, a small, circular core that is the only point that can be damaged. You’re okay letting bullets pass through the “wings” of the heart.

The game does offer a number of unique systems to help set it apart. It’s not explained anywhere within the game yet, but integral to achieving mastery of the game and its array of gifts and boss monsters is the Tetrid system. Each boss is associated with different colored Tetrids, essentially skill points that can be accrued to “radiate” gift and boss cards from the main menu, unlocking additional data about the object in question so that you have more information available to consider when choosing encounters on future story mode attempts. Radiated gifts and monsters also become unlocked for Quick Play, a separate mode built for training against individual bosses while also gunning for high scores and medals.

Earning Tetrids is accomplished by extracting what are in effect experience points called motes, otherwise known as a monster’s fears in crystalized form. Motes can be earned a number of different ways: By making monsters fully love you, breaking off pieces of a monster’s armor and weaponry, or holding a love combo by maintaining continuous damage, represented by the damaged section of the boss’ life bar staying white for the duration of the current hit streak. The longer the combo, the more motes are earned at the end of the streak. Staying undamaged also increases extraction rate, while taking damage lowers extraction percentage incrementally.

Karma plays an important role in advancing through the story mode as well. Karma points are awarded after successfully loving a boss, the quantity based on the monster’s level and other factors such as completing the stage without taking damage or using a panic attack. Accumulated karma impacts the difficulty scaling as you advance through the campaign. The same monsters may repeat multiple times, but their attacks, patterns, and phases change drastically depending on their numbered level rating.

The gameplay mechanics all work well, and the bosses seem varied and well balanced in my experience thus far. There is supposed to be a focus attack–in addition to the charge and panic attacks–that allows you to slow down time, but unless I’m completely missing something it doesn’t seem to be operational. I’m not quite sure the overall level of difficulty is properly balanced yet though. I breezed through the first two story mode difficulties without much resistance in as many attempts, but the handful or so runs since have been much stiffer. I’ll be curious to see how the challenge ramps up even further once I’m able to unlock the third difficulty tier. I imagine it’ll get pretty crazy.

The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is laced with notes of humor, but also steeped in serious emotional subject matter such as suicide, anxiety, and depression, plus some tame nudity (this can be censored from the options menu if desired). The story and tutorial dialogue between the alien girl and her little robot companion adds an unexpected layer of charm to offset the game’s darker, kookier tones. As you’re able to radiate more items and read their details, the game’s deeper meanings begin to reveal themselves.

For an Early Access release made by a solo developer, with at least a full year of development and fine-tuning still to go, The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is a lot of fun and already feels substantial enough to make early adoption worth your while. A couple hours in, I’ve finished two of three difficulties in story mode and dabbled with quick play, but there are still monsters I’ve yet to see, plenty of bosses and gifts to radiate, and other story endings, the third difficulty tier, and a second playable character I’m still figuring out how to unlock. There’s already a ton of replay value in achievements alone, too. And in this game the achievements actually tie in with meaningful rewards like gift unlocks and additional music tracks to listen to.

Buy From: Steam for $7.99 (plus 15% launch week discount until February 21st).

Source: A Steam key for The Void Rains Upon Her Heart was provided to for coverage consideration by The Hidden Levels.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!