Developer: Arcen Games
A PC code for Bionic Dues was supplied to us
Do you like roguelites, murderous robots, a game that requires strategy, and some challenge in your video game? If so, then I might have the game for you.
Bionic Dues starts out exactly how you’d expect it to, a robot army has decided to rebel against the humans and it’s up to you to put a stop to it. Fail to stop it and nobody’s going to be making it out of that city alive. So the entire concept of the game revolves around the idea that the robot army will assault your main HQ in exactly 50 days which means that’s how long you have to prepare for it; depending on your choices in the missions you take (and whether you succeed or fail at them) will determine how difficult the final day is.
That timer will tick down slowly whether you win or lose a mission and the enemy forces will get stronger and come in larger numbers the closer to the end you get. To the right of the screen is a bar showcasing the various robots you can expect to see on the final day, how many there are and what level they are. You can also pull up a window that goes into more detail of what forces the robots are building up. The left side of the screen will allow you to access the store to buy equipment to customize your mechs but more on that later.
Unfortunately 50 days can start to drag after a while, especially since the missions can get a bit samey after a while. Either you’ll have to blow up various structures, kill all the enemies, or locate a structure and besides that there isn’t much else variety in the missions. I definitely would have also liked to see an option for a 30 day mode to speed things up a bit.
The only missions that actually let you actively affect the robot hoard are Lion’s Den, Assassination, Factory, and Radar missions. The lion’s den will let you lower the amount of robots that will appear at the final assault, assassination will let you instantly take out a few of the bosses that would have been at the assault, factory missions will let you lower the level of a random robot, and the radar missions will cause the assault to begin five days sooner. The rest of the missions just revolve around getting different types of loot such as raiding an armory for better weapons. Choosing which missions to tackle and when all adds to the strategy of the game though and not realizing you made a huge mistake until it’s too late can lead to some hectic moments as you scramble to try to adjust.
The game plays pretty typically for a roguelite so anyone familiar with the genre should be able to jump right into it easily. You’ll navigate a 2D “dungeon” and only see whatever’s in your line of sight with missions being randomly generated. General actions will cost you a turn and being aware of your position in the environment can be beneficial to your survival. There’s also a whistle command that comes into use when trying to set traps by aggroing any passive enemies and causing them to instantly start looking for you, possibly walking into whatever traps you left.
Something that surprised me was the amount of variety in the enemies you’ll encounter. It felt like I was always seeing something new that actually played like a new enemy instead of a reskin and you’ll see even more variety the higher the difficulty is. You’ll see robots that will redirect any shots fired at them to their allies, sneaky cloaking bastards, and some annoying ones that leave the floor permanently electrified wherever they walk. The game also has some humor to it from the mission or item descriptions to the robots making various quips while they’re hunting you such as thinking out loud “Why did I do that?” after accidentally blowing up their ally.
Now while you can only take four mechs with you, there are six total to choose from. You’ve got the assault, siege, brawler, sniper, ninja, and science mechs and picking the right team is important. Each one has their own unique weapons (with a few sharing similar ones) and there are additional weapons unlocked if you can find the missions that hold upgraded Epic versions of the mechs.
When on a mission you’ll control a single mech and you can use a turn to swap it out with one of your other three. Knowing which one to use in a mission is key because heading into a science lab that has an abundance of doors you can only open via hacking will cause you to miss out on some loot and bringing a weaker mech into a firefight mission could cause you to die fairly quickly. Besides the mechs you’ll also choose from six pilots who all have their own unique skills such as more variety in the store, being able to take on a mission two spaces away from you instead of one, or being able to instantly start the game with the Epic versions of the mechs.
When you’re not fending off a robot horde you’ll be finding loot to upgrade your mechs with. There’s a surprising amount of depth to it that doesn’t involve “equip whatever gives the most benefits” and calling it a day. You can’t go crazy equipping each mech with whatever you have either because each mech has a certain amount of power it can allocate to each piece of equipment; going over the limit will stop you from starting a mission until your even things out. Deciding what item to equip on which mech while paying attention to their power usage is key to constructing a capable team.
The Final Word
Bionic Dues is a great game with a neat concept that will satisfy those hardcore roguelite fans, but newcomers might feel its slight repetition begin to tire them out.
– MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair