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Bio Inc. – Biomedical Plague review (iOS / Universal)

August 7, 2014

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10 word description: Kill patient X with diseases, bad habits and medical incompetence. 

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10 word review: Colourful but shallow attempt to be the next Plague Inc.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Heart attacks and lung cancer as video game elements. The basic concept of Plague Inc without any of the strategic subtleties or humour.

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The good news: Visual presentation and graphics are pretty good.

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The bad news: It’s tapping versus a timer, and that’s it. No real strategic depth, in fact I’d hesitate to call this strategic at all, just too much reliance on tap-tap-tapping. Game progress (the recovery timer) continues no matter what screen you’re on. Notifications have one version, no variety between patients. The different patients feel extremely similar, almost identical, despite the promise of the patient/victim selection screen.

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No extras (like the genetic advantages in Plague Inc., for example) to unlock, which would have made progressing a heck of a lot more compelling. Losing often feels unfair, nothing to do with a failed strategy and everything to do with the timer and the gameplay’s reliance on speed-tapping. Frequently, a 60 year old patient who has multiple fatal, chronic illnesses will recover mere seconds before all their systems completely fail and you will be shown the single, bog-standard notification that they’re going to live a long and happy life.

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There are no unique messages or any other ways to differentiate between patients within the game. The sombre and depressing subject matter needs some kind of humour, however dark, to balance it out. 

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Arcadelife verdict: I’ve probably said all I need to say in the bad news section. Bio Inc desperately requires a radical overhaul of the game mechanics to come anywhere close to the experience available in Plague Inc. There’s only one way to win any scenario – beat the recovery timer. There’s no option to be a stealthy disease, a cautious disease, a kill-switch disease, a decoy disease or anything else that might have been fun. You just have to tap-tap-tap those DNA bubbles (sorry, but yeah) and become super-adept at whizzing around the screens while the rather unrealistic “recovery” timer relentlessly counts down.

Don't worry! A few seconds from now, he's going to "live a long and happy life."

Don’t worry! A few seconds from now, he’s going to “live a long and happy life.”

In Plague Inc., losing often feels like a victory for mankind. Here, it just feels like a cheap-shot and a good reason not to bother playing any more. The app store blurb claims there are “Thousands of ways to play the game”. Sorry, no; there’s only one way to play it and that one way isn’t a heck of a lot of fun.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 6/10
Content – 5/10
Fun – 3/10
Final rating – 4/10

DISEASED

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.02
iTunes link

Play Bioinc website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1.2)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1.2)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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