Bio-Gun is set out to build and improve on the foundation of Metroidvania games, not only is Dapper Dog Digital trying to follow the “outline of Metroidvania” but also redefining the genre in their own ways. From the 20+ hours I’ve had with the game, it’s safe to say that they have successfully done with the focus on gameplay more but this redefinition also comes with some cost of other aspects of what makes a Metroidvania game a Metroidvania game.
With Metroid Dread‘s release last year, it became a massive hit. Bio-Gun follows in Metroid Dread‘s footsteps and tries to build upon what made that game a success. Unlike Metroid Dread‘s super futuristic setting and mechanical looks, Bio-Gun takes place in a somewhat futuristic but more zany world and with more of a cartoon look to the game. You play as Bek, a vaccine created from pig DNA by Professor X, injected into the last dog in existence with the sole purpose of saving Professor X’s dear friend.
You can see clear influences of Bio-Gun from other Metroidvania games such as Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, and the Bloodstained series. It’s clear that the developers take unique aspects from those games and implement them in different ways. The notable aspect implemented in Bio-Gun is its diversity of NPCs throughout the games and the dialogue system with choices that is present in games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
While the choices you make don’t affect the story at all, it’s cool to see how a choice you pick can make the NPC react in a certain way. Another thing I find great about every conversation you have with the NPCs is keywords being highlighted to point out the importance of each conversation and assist you in your quests.
The biggest selling point of Bio-Gun is its core gameplay and the combination of combat mechanics from other Metroidvania games. At the start, you start with the basics of movement with the addition of dashing to evade monsters easily which is unlike Metroid Prime where you don’t start with the dash ability at first until you get it later as an upgrade to your suit. After a certain amount of quests are completed, more upgrades are rewarded to you for faster travel between locations and more maneuverability in fights. For example, you get an upgrade for your jump which lets you hover in the air after the initial jump for a few seconds. Not only there are a lot of upgrades, but there are a lot of different types of weapons that can be unlocked or bought in the store, such as the Cyto Blaster which is good for single-target damage while the Proton Smasher is good for AoE or clearing ads more.
Scattered and hidden throughout the games are Ionized Atoms which are needed to upgrade your max health or the amount of atomic energy that can be carried, so it’s kind of implicitly understood that it’s better to go out of your way to discover the map and the secrets it has to offer. Speaking of discovering and instead of following the linearity set out by the game, Bio-Gun also offers a lot of side activities besides the main questline, especially if you are struggling with some areas, a lot of side quests offer Ionized Atoms as rewards as a way to level up if you can’t go to certain places for them. Despite all that said, the coolest thing has to be all the different cosmetics you can collect since there are a lot of them and different looks for the weapons as well.
The other big thing that I love about the game is about all of the smartly placed save points and fast-travel points. Yes, you do have to travel a decent amount of distance between each region but it’s not too much of a trip to the point that it becomes a chore. I feel like this encouraged the player to be proactive with exploration and back-tracking to the places they previously don’t have access to due to the lack of pieces of equipment or story-locked. And oh boy, trust me when I say there are a lot of different regions to be explored and hidden paths in each of them.
While Bio-Gun offers a lot of content upfront, the writing of the game is really lacklusting and kind of dry in my opinion. There isn’t really anyone that travels with Bek beside some occasional calls from Professor X and instructions from him, Bek is just a loner throughout the game and has no sidekick at all. Most of the time, you roughly talk to any new NPCs 2-3 times before moving on. The story of Bio-Gun has a great goal and motivation that makes the player feel empathetic toward the character but the execution is just “off” which leads to the story feeling mediocre.
Overall, I find Bio-Gun a fun game to pass time with its diverse collectibles and a huge amounts of quests offered other from the main questline. Bek is a good and cute-looking character despite he doesn’t speak at all throughout. With that said, it’s worth it to give Bio-Gun a try and it’s really enjoyable with everything in the game.
Score: 6 out of 10
Reviewed on PC