First Impression: B.I.O.T.A
Developer: Small bros
Release Date: 12 April, 2022
Genre: Platform shooter
By Chris Picone, 11 April 2022
BIOTA has absolutely nailed the look and feel of the retro 2D platform shooter. The chiptunes are amazing and the 4 colour, 8-bit Gameboy-esque graphics are absolutely gorgeous, marvellously detailed, and you can even unlock new palettes through the game. The game’s reasonably tough, too; most of the enemies – at least in the early game – are fairly easy to beat but one little slip and you’re dead. That may not be for everybody, but it’s definitely for me.
Now being retro doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with all the mod-cons. Although the game can be unforgiving in the sense that most enemies and traps kill you almost instantly, whenever you die you immediately start the game from your last save. And you can even save whenever you like (as long as monsters aren’t nearby), you can teleport back to your base at any time to heal, and there are a few checkpoints you can then instantly return to, which saves a lot of grind time. BIOTA also comes chock full of other nice little features that it still would have been a great game without, but that effectively take the game from great to amazing. For example, where one character would absolutely have done the job, BIOTA gives you four to start with, and you can even unlock more along the way. Each character comes with a very different weapon (the usual – shotgun, rifle, sniper rifle, uzi), and a matching unique ability so you’re free to play through with whatever playstyle you like the best and swap whenever you like.
Like any good 90s platform shooter, there’s only a semblance of a story; an excuse to jump into the action, and just enough to keep stringing you from scene to scene. No, it’s all about the action. You’ll be dodging bullets, shooting swarms of baddies, climbing walls, jumping through lazer traps and over acid pits. I’m not far enough into the game yet but I see from the trailer there’s also some vehicles – a submarine and a giant mech, at least. So that’s awesome. Speaking of, I’m about 3 hours into the game right now and I’ve only cleared around the first four levels. I have no idea how many levels there are but I think I'm maybe not quite half way; the dev suggests the game should take 6-8 hours to play through so that seems about right. And as if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with an arcade mode.
The verdict? I’ve been struggling to think of what game this reminds me of and I never quite worked it out. Bio Menace, maybe? Doesn’t matter, it’s awesome. It won’t be for everybody, but if you’re a fan of retro platformer shooters, it’s for you.