When the elite Gemini Squad is tasked with killing vile monsters in a derelict mine, it’s up to you to use their unique abilities in order to survive.
As humans begin to leave earth for a life among the stars, there’s no telling how far we can reach, or what horrors we may unearth. New technologies often open dangerous doorways, and when precious commodities outweigh the value of human lives, dangerous accidents tend to happen.
B.I.O.T.A is a 2D sci-fi action platformer that follows the story of special team Gemini II. The infamous team has been sent to a research facility on a remote asteroid where miners excavate a new mineral called viridium. When a biologically Intelligent organism called “The Agent” turned the entire operation against itself, the powerful mega corporation V-corp sent in a scientific research team to resolve the problem but things only got worse. Now the Gemini II team is risking it all to investigate the extent of the devastation.
Diving into the prologue offers a small sample of the action to come. In addition to the usual move, shoot, and jump, the squad can all slide down and kick off walls to reach high locations. After familiarizing themselves with the controls, players can choose members of the Gemini II squad to play as once they’ve landed on the asteroid station. Each teammate has their own unique primary weapon and special ability like Captain Ace’s hand grenade or the deadly accuracy of Flynt’s Precision rifle. The stalker Zeed has a defensive shield to pair with his shotgun, and new abilities and item upgrades can be unlocked across the whole team catering to different playstyles.
The Gemini Squad’s objective requires them to make deep dives into the mining facility that has been overrun by toxic monstrosities, and retrieve as many specimens and survivors as possible. Using the main elevator shaft the team must cear rooms writhing with monsters in a 2D side scrolling fashion. In metroidvania style, there is a blank map to outline your exploration that is filled in with each room entered. The facility sprawls out in each direction with puzzling corridors full of platforms, treadmills, and explosives. The fantastic level design combined with the variety of monster movements and projectiles keeps the action interesting and even makes revisiting rooms tense and exciting. Defeated monsters will drop useful special ammo refills or viridium, which is used as currency at black market shops that can be found throughout the facility and landing area.There’s a clever array of puzzles, boss fights, and characters to discover that tell a thrilling science fiction story along the way.
There are two highly desirable quality of life features that set B.I.O.T.A. apart from its classic counterparts by making the Gemini II squad more survivable. While save icons can be found in levels, players are given the option to save in any room that is safe after clearing all the enemies. Team members also carry a teleporter that will send them back to the ships’ landing area at any time. Exploring new areas will also reveal and expand access to the elevator system, so in case checking the map reveals a wrong turn or dead end, it’s easy to regroup and navigate a new course through the complex.
While the graphics and soundtrack feature low resolutions, they pack a lot of charm. Characters and monsters have a small pixel count but are discernable with unique designs and personalities. With new areas come lots of new monsters and a new song to go with it. The chiptune soundtrack is fitting for the futuristic 8-bit setting and is as aggressive as the alien horrors you’ll face along the way. The visuals utilize a creative limitation by only using four colors, however players are given the wildly entertaining option of choosing from a radiant variety of color palettes to fit any mood. New palettes are unlocked with each specimen the team can recover from the facility.
With a compelling story, open ended exploration, and fast paced gameplay driving the action, there is a lot to take in and enjoy playing B.I.O.T.A. with only a few faults to mention. Walls can impede your shots in an unnatural way when firing upward when there is a wall directly to the right of your character. While the music is a lot of fun, the soundtrack loops fairly quickly and can become repetitive after spending too much time in a single area.
Even using only four colors, B.I.O.T.A. provides a robust, well rounded experience that balances classic charm with modern playability and offers a refreshing level of storytelling for such small sprites. Smooth controls, a large 2D map to explore, and plenty of unlockable items and upgrades are sure to keep fans immersed in the fight against the agent and its corruption.
Thrilling Sci-fi story with fun characters
Strong gameplay balance between shooting and platforming skills
Great level design and save system
Multiple 4-Color palette options
A few unnatural collisions
Soundtrack loops become repetitive
4 out of 5
Review key provided by PR. B.I.O.T.A. is out now!