Once you got past the horrendous and out-of-place intro song, Bionic Dues treats you to a delightful and difficult experience that I’ve rarely had with a game of this type before: nonstop fun. Bionic Dues calls itself a “roguelite”, which is saying that it’s actually approachable, there’s an ending, and it’s safe to die – you just have to revert to an earlier save to give it another go.
The setup for what you’ll be doing in Bionic Dues is simple: In 50 days, the city in which you live will be nuked. And it’s up to you to stop this, with your team of four, customizable mechs. And the pilot you choose are all the same, save for the one that has all epic mechs – albeit a self-proclaimed “cheat” in the flavor text.
Your HQ has health, it is based on the difficulty you choose, from 2 to 10 points of health. Each battle lost takes away one health. Lose all your health and the game is over and you must start all over, or return to an earlier save to try avoiding death. But the game over screen isn’t a deterrent, it’s a reason to jump right back in and do it right.
As you play, you’re able to select any mech on a whim. Your mech moves swiftly, and so does the game. You have direct control with W, S, A, and D with turns being instantaneous. It’s easy to play without tactics, and early on will work out, but after the first dozen missions or so, you’ll be a fool to try to “run and gun”.
The game is not exactly easy, despite whatever difficulty you choose leads you to believe. It’s not frustrating, because I felt like I was learning as I went along, keeping myself from making the same mistakes and thinking before acting.
If you do have the desire to be glutton for punishment, you can choose to enable “Ironman” which will reduce your save options to just one, and not be able to go back to any earlier versions. Your progression, failures, are yours to bear when you lose.
Loot is incredibly important to maintaining success throughout, raiding armories will return the most precious of loot, but any type of mission, if you’re willing to take the time to explore will be rewarding. You can equip new weapons, armor, computer
While visually uninteresting, the simplistic graphics can be scaled with the mouse wheel to zoom in and out without having to pull up a separate map. It has a neat art style and moves fluidly and performs admirably. There’s just a lot of space unused creating a black void that could be otherwise filled in with color or texture.
Sounds often repeat, especially with a mech crying out “Why was I programmed to feel pain?!” during battle – yet, it remains funny to me. The other sounds are annoying, but just noticeable throughout, but should go largely unnoticed. Going back to that menu music, it gets played every time you launch the game. The quality of the song isn’t bad, but it is more fitted to being the end credits song – it’d more enjoyable if you don’t hear it as much.
Achievements reward varieties of playing the game amongst the different difficulties, giving Bionic Dues longevity ad infinitum and replayability a must. Arcen Games really knows what makes a roguelike worth returning to, and is quite easily the best game they’ve made thus far. It is a stand-out title among rogulikes and roguelites alike.
A Steam code was provided by Arcen Games for review purposes