Bio Inc. Redemption

Bio Inc. Redemption

Will you choose Life or Death?

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Bio Inc. Redemption

If you've ever fantasised about being a medical-savant who's able to diagnose and treat multiple complex illnesses whilst sticking a middle finger up in death's direction, then Bio Inc. Redemption may hold a unique appeal for you. Likewise, if you've fantasised about being a sinister bio-engineer hell-bent on tormenting innocent victims with various nasty diseases and negative lifestyle choices, the game also has you covered there too.

The work of developer/publisher DryGin Studios, Bio Inc. Redemption is a strategy simulation game in which players make time-sensitive decisions to either save or kill a stricken patient or victim. The game boasts more than 600 real-world illnesses, symptoms, medical tests, and treatments to either fight against or cultivate depending on your chosen approach. It's a fairly casual experience, with an emphasis on simple mechanics and on short bursts of gameplay that last about 20 minutes per time, representative of the game's origins on mobile platforms, where it was known as Bio Inc. Biomedical Plague and has been downloaded more than 15 million times.

Whether you want to be a saviour or a murderer is easily chosen by selecting from either Choose Life or Choose Death game modes from the title screen. In the Life campaign you must try to save a patient before the numerous diseases they're riddled with take full effect and end their existence. To do this, you must first diagnose the illness via tests, which are just as likely to fail as reveal an illness. Upon finding an illness you can administer a treatment that takes time to work, and all the while your patient will be getting sicker. The key to success is smart decisions and an amount of luck. It's a race against both the clock and the AI as your patient continually grows weaker and contracts new illnesses.

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The Death campaign is similar, albeit different, as the roles are reversed. In this mode you must infect your patient so severely that they die, but trying to stop you are those pesky AI doctors. It's a bit more straightforward than Life mode, as your objective is to hit the patient hard and continue to stay a step ahead of the treatment, although it's similar in the sense that it's still a cat-and-mouse chase - there's just a lot less guessing required.

Bio Inc. Redemption

Other modes include a sandbox mode that allows you to create your own scenarios and use cheats to experiment freely with the game mechanics, as well as a multiplayer portion where one player is trying to kill the patient while the other tries to cure them. Both play reasonably well and just like the respective single-player modes, so for the majority of this review we'll focus on the core game experience.

To perform actions in either mode you collect bio points, although collecting these is mostly a waiting game as they appear on your patient randomly. There are unlockable boosts that grant some bio points at the start of a game, but those points only last for two or three actions. Fortunately, bio points appear often and collecting them is easy, as the infected bodily system in which the bio points appear lights up, you click the appropriate tab to see that system, either red blood cells or spiky virus shapes appear, and you click and hold to zap them into bio points. It's a fun mechanic at first but does grow tiresome the more you play. It's great that it paces the experience and demands the player's attention, but we did grow impatient and even bored while waiting for the opportunity to influence the game.

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Spending bio points is done in the biomap, where you choose how to treat or kill your patient. In Life mode the options are Diagnosis, Lifestyle, and Intensive Care, but in Death mode they are Diseases, Risk Factors, and Recovery. The challenge is to create a combination of effects, improve or worsen their impact, and hinder any efforts to stop you. This can be a challenging puzzle indeed, as not only do you try to have maximum impact but you also have to try and second-guess your opponent. Timing and decisions are key, as a bad choice results in wasted bio-points and there are few of those to waste. For example, spreading your odds by choosing options with multiple outcomes can be the difference between success and failure, as can deciding when to save bio points and when to use them.

In every mode, the patient goes through stages of sickness. First they seek treatment, then they go to hospital, and when things get really bad, they end up in intensive care. With each of these changes the conditions of play change too. In hospital, for example, patients receive quicker and more effective treatment - meaning fewer bio-points for greater results in Life mode, but in Death mode, new diseases decrease in cost which allows for a continued attack.

Bio Inc. Redemption

In terms of challenge, there are 18 cases to play and four difficulty modes: Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Lethal. At higher difficulties the main difference is that fewer bio points are available. This makes every decision crucial as the slightest error can undo an attempt to clear the stage. The best way to prepare for the higher difficulties is to gain XP points at mild and moderate difficulties to spend on boosters that help you get a head start. There's a decent range to choose from, such as starting with 15 bio points, or your patient starting with randomly selected lifestyle traits, and careful selection of these can make all the difference at higher difficulties.

The presentation is easy on the eye as well, since every text box has a nice blue or yellow glow, the icons are clear and look slick, and - even if they're limited - the animations are quite charming. It may be due to the game's origins in the mobile space that DryGin hasn't really pushed the boat out graphically, as most of the time you stare at your patient's x-rayed body or select options from the easy-to-use but uninspiring disease and lifestyle screens. The animations, such as your patient reacting to their infection by coughing or clutching their chest are good, but we can't help but feel that there could have been a bit more to add some variety. The music is gentle and we found it relaxing, which is much better than similar titles that use music full of beeps and whistles that can quickly get annoying. That said, like the graphics, the overall audio presentation is quite limited.

Something we particularly admired about Bio Inc. Redemption was in its educational value, as we learned a lot from reading the various descriptions of symptoms and diseases. That's not to say that Bio Inc. Redemption is a serious game, and there are plenty of light-hearted moments, such as if your patient has nymphomania, which means you're occasionally alerted that they're about to get busy and the 'sex roulette' wheel pops up. Spin it and find out whether they will be fine after their unprotected canoodling or if they have caught a severe or not-so-severe STI.

Bio Inc. Redemption is a decent game, and is fun in small doses, with interesting mechanics and an engaging concept. However, despite having various game modes and scenarios everything feels very much the same as you progress through the various stages. After a few hours, you'll likely find an effective game plan that you will just rinse and repeat every time, meaning there just isn't enough longevity to keep typical players engaged for much more than a few hours. Overall, Bio Inc. Redemption feels very much like a mobile game ported to PC - which in fairness is exactly what it is.

Bio Inc. RedemptionBio Inc. Redemption
06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
Fun and engaging concept, Duality between Life and Death, Educational, Various game modes and scenarios, Easy to use.
Repetitive once you get the hang of things, Limited visual and audio design, Waiting for things to progress can get tiresome.
overall score
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Bio Inc. Redemption

REVIEW. Written by Jon Newcombe

"Overall, Bio Inc. Redemption feels very much like a mobile game ported to PC - which in fairness is exactly what it is."

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