Bio Inc. ($2) is a new game from DryGin Studios that’s being billed as a “biomedical strategy simulator.” The game challenges players to create the ultimate illness. It is decidedly not for everyone.
Some have compared Bio Inc. to Plague Inc., for obvious reasons. But where Plague Inc. tasks you with developing a plague to bring about the end of humanity, Bio Inc. is focused on one patient at a time. You name a person, see his health weaknesses, and set about trying to kill him by assailing him with a wide range of ailments. It’s a morbid premise that becomes more macabre as the game progresses.
The gameplay is relatively simple. Players monitor the subject, and wait for bacteria and viruses to pop up within the body. You tap those as they appear to receive Bio Points. You can then trade in those Bio Points for whatever available afflictions you desire. For instance, it’ll only cost five Bio Points to give your guy the flu, but lung cancer will set you back 24 points.
Once the subject gets sick enough, he’ll head off to the doctor, and when he gets even worse, to the emergency room. All the while, you’ll be racing to incapacitate him with worse conditions — heart attack, stroke, you name it. However, if the doctors can get the victim to a 100 percent recovery rate before you kill him off, that’s it. You’ll have to start the level over, no matter how many terrible conditions were ravaging the man’s body at once. You lose — or as the game says, despite its otherwise considerable polish — “YOU LOOSE.”
It’s impossible to avoid the more distasteful aspects of the game. Give your victim angina and he’ll scream out in pain. Give him emphysema, and he’ll start breathing more heavily. Other various sound effects are even more disturbing. Bio Inc. makes you question why one should take any enjoyment in systematically driving a person to death through disease. But then you may start to consider why you feel so conflicted when compared to games where you’re shooting strangers or running them over with a car. And friends, that’s too much to unpack in one iLounge Game Spotlight.
Outside of the premise itself, we’re also concerned with how you’re actually reaching your deadly goal. It’s unclear if certain combinations of illnesses are really that much more effective than any others. Soon enough, it can become fairly tedious. We’d also recommend playing on the lowest difficulty level, at least to start. While we salute the originality of Bio Inc., it just doesn’t have quite enough going for it to earn our recommendation. We could see a very small audience loving it, though.
iLounge Rating: C+