Switch version tested
Review code provided
Forever Entertainment brings us Biolab Wars on Nintendo Switch. A nod to retro run-and-gun games. At the insane price point of $1.99 (£1.79) is this title worth the time and gold coins? Let’s find out!
Main screen music has me nodding and singing along with it almost immediately. This is a great start to the game and makes me want to jump right in. Character select shows Finn, Becca, and Teddy. Man, woman, and dog in robot suit respectively. Obviously we need to choose this mech suit dog. It doesn’t show stats or anything that sets them apart but why not be the animal. Stage select screen reveals seven stages. Let’s begin
Retro look and feel make this game fit in the NES era perfectly. Controls are simple: run, jump, shoot, grenade. Hopping from platform to platform must be pretty spot on, just as in the good old days. Pink and purple contrasts in colour express the 80’s vibe.
Each area per level must be beaten in under two minutes and this also goes for the boss fights. After stage one this feels good and it shouldn’t take most folks that amount of time anyway. I’ve already collected a few different guns and am enjoying each change the games brings to the player. That being said, I can see how this game could be repetitive, but then stage 2 hit. I’m on a scooter driving ocean side with baddies coming at me from left, right, and above. Much appreciated change of pace right from the prior level. We all recall these run and gun or beat em up type games have a vehicle level and this is it. Very nice.
If you get caught in the heat of explosions and gunfire, fear not because you have a health meter in the top left. Typical games of these genres have a one-hit kill or sometimes the health isn’t shown at all. Along with that is score, amount of bullets left per type, and bombs. Stage 2 boss is awesome and hilarious. I laughed and lost, which brought me a game over and return to the main screen. My high score is shown in the top right. I choose Finn this time and the game allows me to start from Stage 2. Variety and progression right there, I like it.
One of the baddies is a fish in a bowl, driving a vehicle. Hold for laughter. Character design is great and their creative and goofy looks are only uplifted by their games lovely colours and fitting music. I have to mention the colours and their contrast again because they look great. I would have loved if this game were released in the NES era but playing now is making up for it. The music changes each stage and matches the mood spot on, faster tunes in the vehicle for example.
I’ve just gained an accomplice in stage 3 that has a health bar of their own and shoots each time I do. Love it. So far each level a new bit of variety is added to Biolab Wars in a neat and refreshing way. Typically my favourite shot type is a spread, but in this case I found a different gun that tickles my fancy. It resembles more of a shmup type shot and it has what appears to be three nocks in a bird flock formation. It sounds cool and has a concentrated shot pattern.
Health upgrades can be found scattered in each level along with different weapons. I just pick up whatever I find and roll with it. Bombs were usually kept for boss battles with the exception of some flying type enemies that I no longer has an upward shot for. I’m eating my words about the two minutes per area. I found myself wanting to defeat every enemy with minimal health loss to gain the most points. High scores matter. Then I look up and I have 18 seconds left! Still made it to the end but that was a close call.
Stage one has the player travel from left to right in a typical game pattern, stage two was a vehicle level, stage three was back to the ground but descending platforms. Each step of the way Biolab Wars wants to keep the player interested without redoing the same ideas. I can safely say that this trend lasts until the end of the game in a nice way.
Besides a little knockback and being a short game, everything is great about Biolab Wars. The length of the game is perfect for what it is and the price point is impossible to pass up. Everyone should give this a shot and I bet they will enjoy it as much as I did. A great game to sit down and complete between larger titles. I can’t wait to see what Kolibri come up with next.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 15/11/2019
No. of Players: 1
File Size: 142MB
Developer: Kolibri Game Studio
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Download link: eShop