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.
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.
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.