BIOTA is a 2D Metroidvania that uses a retro Game Boy-inspired aesthetic, where a team of soldiers investigates a colony infested with creatures.
BIOTA is a 2D Metroidvania developed by little brothers and published by Retrovibe. Apart from a few too long vehicle sections, BIOTA is a fun, bite-sized Metroidvania experience, with a retro style that evokes the era of Nintendo Game Boy games.
BIOTA is set in the 22nd century, a time when mankind has mastered interstellar travel following the discovery of a substance known as viridium. Companies have set up mining colonies on asteroids and planets, in order to acquire more viridum for space travel. All communication is cut off from a viridium mining colony and a science vessel is sent to find out what happened to the colony, but the team disappears during their investigation. The Gemini II mercenary squad is then dispatched, in order to find the scientists and deal with the threat aboard the mining colony.
Players can switch between different members of the Gemini II squad, each with different weapons and special abilities. There are eight playable characters, although some are not unlocked until the game is completed. Outside of a specific section of the game, the player is free to use any squad member during their run in BIOTA The team has a base on the surface of the mining colony, where the player can heal, change characters, buy items and use the training center. There’s also an Arcade mode outside of the main Metroidvania-style campaign, with shooting galleries and time trials.
The real game begins once the player descends the elevator and enters the mining colony, as the stages are teeming with enemies and environmental puzzles. Levels are made up of individual rooms on a larger, slowly uncovered map, and using viridium taken from slain enemies to buy items found in the settlement’s hidden black market stalls makes progression easier. It’s an average Metroidvania game loop, but exploring the base is great fun, and slowly upgrading the team and unlocking new routes is as much fun here as it is in something like Super Metroid on the SNES. Stages have their own unique gadgets and enemies, and BIOTA is always clear on where the key items needed for progression are placed on the map.
The low point of BIOTA are its vehicle sections. There are parts of the game where the team can unlock vehicles that can be used in certain stages, such as a mechanical suit designed for mining or a shuttle. Outside of the underwater level, these sections are shooter-focused, but they go on way too long and quickly become repetitive, especially since some of them can be solved by sitting in the corner of the screen and holding down the fire button. These sections give the impression of being padded, because BIOTA can be completed in about 4-5 hours, but these vehicle segments quickly exhaust their welcome.
A major aspect of BIOTA is its synthwave aesthetic and color palette, with the player being able to choose from a number of different color palettes for the game, and some unlocked by finding hidden secrets. Palette choice will vary by taste, but some are extremely bright and challenging to play with, while others are more subdued. The font and text size are abysmal, as the writing is slightly stretched across the top of the screen. The dialogue in BIOTA is rather dry and the player does not miss too much by skipping the text, especially since the important elements are listed on the map.
BIOTA is a short and pleasant title. It doesn’t quite match the retro chops of something like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragonand it doesn’t have a massive twist map of something like Castlevania: Symphony of the Nightbut it’s ideal for someone looking for a fast-paced action platformer with a retro style, easy-to-explore stages (and 100% completion upon completion), and a story that has the depth of action 80s movie.
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BIOTA is available on PC via GoG and Steam today April 12, 2022. Screen Rant received a digital code for the purposes of this review.
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