Null of Hope

Posted September 2, 2015 by in

Developer: Wade Arcade
Demo Release Date: 18/08/2015
Version: 1
Platform: PC
Control Schemes: Gamepad

Best Part:

Surprisingly engaging game supported by a surprisingly charming gimmick

Worst Part:

There's a lot of sh*t
Bottom Line

Null of Hope is a charming retro-style game with some creative and delightful 4D gimmicks that make great use of the medium of VR






Comfort Level


Total Score

3.5/ 5

by Edmund
Full Article

Many have scoffed at Oculus’ partnership with Microsoft to allow Xbox One games to be streamed into a virtual living room.

Replicating a mundane living room environment certainly isn’t the most inspiring use of VR – particularly at Oculus’ consumer hardware announcement event! But what about when familiar and comfortable settings – like an office, a living room or a theatre are subverted or enhanced? VR Cinema applications have long been experimenting with so-called ‘4D’ features, and there’s no reason that classic videogames can’t get in on the act too. Indeed, this is undoubtedly fertile ground for VR to demonstrate its ability to surprise and delight.

Null of Hope by Wade Arcade will naturally draw comparisons to Pixel Ripped. Both games prominently feature an original retro-style game being played within a virtual space. Whilst Pixel Ripped employs its classroom environment as a disruption to the game, Null of Hope gradually transforms its teen bedroom setting to complement its 8-bit game within a game; using ‘4D’ elements to capture a sense of total immersion.

Null of Hope has you sat in your bedroom, in front of an old cathode ray TV set playing an adventure-RPG on the fictional BitVicious home console. The game, while primitive, itself is reasonably involved; featuring simple puzzles, exploration, and turn-based combat featuring timing elements.

As you progress, the room that you’re playing in begins to more and more reflect the environment in the game. As you open a vent to the sewer, a fly will start to buzz around the room, once you descend into the sewer the air will take a sickly yellow pallor. Later on creatures, attacks and environmental changes will all spill out, to greater or lesser degrees, from the game on the screen into the room in which you’re sat.

As your conscious mind becomes more occupied with the game, your subconscious seems to accept the virtual setting more readily. This means that some of the most effective ‘4D’ elements are the ones that occur in the periphery that you’d naturally try to tune out. More than once I caught myself thinking – this fly is annoying me, maybe I should pause the game and shoe it away – before realising that it was part of the game. When the sewer rats flee a fight you’ll catch them out of the corner of your eye with a start as they scurry out from under the TV and off behind you. This isn’t being played for blood-curling jump scares, though – it’s a much more playful tone. Being jolted out of the game on the screen, even just for a split second, is a comic sensation because you immediately feel silly when you realise you had been completely believing the reality of the virtual space you’re sat in. It is a clever trick, really – by getting you to focus on the game on the screen, only the pre-conscious senses are really scrutinising the environment most of the time, making it all the more believable.

These 4D effects certainly help to evoke an atmosphere, and infuse an otherwise dated experience with some joyful new tricks. It is a small shame that the demo environment that Wade Arcade have chosen to showcase this effect with is an unpleasant sewer area. Screenshots on their website hint at a fantasy forest and an underwater area – surely these places would have left a slightly more positive and uplifting impression? Still, there is a sense of humour on display here, in keeping with the spirit of some classic adventure RPGs. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it lends a certain charm to the experience.

Unlike Pixel Ripped, which blends gameplay from the screen and the world to create something altogether different, and biographical, Null of Hope’s approach is less ambitious; content to simply let the play environment enhance the game at its centre. Nonetheless, it is still brimming with creativity and is bound to bring a smile or two to your face. The core game promises sufficient depth and interaction to engage beyond the demo’s short play time, which bodes well for a full release; which you can support on Steam Greenlight now.



About the Author


Edmund Ward is a philosophy graduate who has focused on aesthetics and cultural critique in the information age. He grew up with 'the dream of the holodeck' and is prone to get very excited by new innovations in natural user-interfaces. Edmund is currently looking for volunteers to look after the glucose drip that will sustain his "fleshform" (as he insists on calling it) when he migrates permanently to VR.

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