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Bio-Gun preview: More like "Microbe Knight"

Experience a Metroidvania like never before in Bio-Gun (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Experience a Metroidvania like never before in Bio-Gun (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Siddharth Patil

Bio-Gun, from indie developer Dapper Dog Digital, is a fascinating Metroidvania that dares to be different from its peers. The Texas-based studio's upcoming non-linear, exploration-driven platformer takes obvious inspiration from a popular indie game that needs little introduction at this point - Team Cherry's Hollow Knight.

But before we delve into the labyrinthine depths of Bio-Gun's organic world, let's go over the premise. After the deadly Dooper Virus overtakes his dog's body, DocX creates a vaccine called Bek to enter the canine's ecosystem and eradicate the threat. Since it is constructed from pig DNA, the anthropomorphized Bek also looks like one, albeit armed with a blaster and a variety of other abilities.


Live life pathogen-size in Bio-Gun

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The preview takes Bek through a handful of levels inside the dog’s body. The 2D hand-drawn esthetic is quite reminiscent of cartoons from the 1980s, reflected in the boldly-bordered character artwork. The interconnected hallways and corridors of the dog's internals have an almost otherworldy look to them, what with the blood-tinted tissue linings and membranes.

Help out fellow miniscule entities with their problems (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Help out fellow miniscule entities with their problems (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)

However, some other spaces in Bio-Gun look downright bizarre and out of place in such a setting, such as the liver, which is pretty much an ice cavern, replete with stalegmites. That said, it's not necessarily a bad thing, given how surreal the overall premise is.

Also, it's hard to ignore Hollow Knight's influence in world design, like the small settlement of Nisms or relics remembering a past generation.

Most enemies can be relentless (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Most enemies can be relentless (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)

As Bek traverses the various segments of the innards, the player will come across different NPCs; some friendly, others not. Most of them will assign a side quest for Bek to complete, and these missions are definitely not filler.

Bek encounters a variety of foes too, such as the mindlessly patrolling phages or stationary anemone-like growths that spew harmful goo. Most are easy enough to take down but a couple of critters encountered later on are very aggressive.

Bek's starting movement repertoire consists of moving, dashing and jumping; in traditional Metroidvania fashion, new abilities can be obtained by defeating bosses. The primary means of battling enemies is the blaster. Shooting enemies slowly fills up a gage, which can be used to either recover health or launch a powerful blast from the gun.

Just like in Hollow Knight, players have to strike a balance between being aggressive and playing defensively and holding back. Defeated enemies drop Globs, a form of currency used to buy upgrades in shops.

Bio-Gun's map is packed with enemies to beat and secrets to find (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Bio-Gun's map is packed with enemies to beat and secrets to find (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)

The map is largely straightforward but well-designed. Given how tough some fights can be, the game is certainly forgiving and lenient in some ways. There's no penalty for dying besides going all the way back to the last save point. This allows the player to save their progress and heal by taking a cutely-animated shower.

Chips can also be installed at save points, and are unique modifiers for the player character. One of them grants a weak but handy invincible drone that auto-targets enemies, while another reduces the range of Bek's blaster but grants two projectiles instead.

Instant delivery (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Instant delivery (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)

Bio-Gun also offers in-game explanations for some of the mechanics; transportation between save points is done by the Doc ejecting Bek and injecting them into the designated location using a syringe. That's a plus in my book for great world-building.

The map can also auto-fill itself for every Synapse (up to three) that's installed in the nervous section of an organ. This highlights key points of interest like save points, hidden pathways (often leading to upgrades) and even boss areas. The game is also very atmospheric at times, even giving off Metroid vibes.

Bio-Gun demo's ending (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)
Bio-Gun demo's ending (Image via Dapper Dog Digital)

The demo has three main boss fights and one mini-boss. Each of the main bosses tests the player's platforming skills and reflexes in different ways, and they're all interestingly designed too.


Overall, Bio-Gun is a moderately tough but fun experience that is both fresh and familiar at the same time. Fans of all things Metroidvania, keep an eye out for this one. So far, it has been confirmed for a PC release but is coming to other major platforms as well.


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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