Developed By: Team8 Studio
Published By: Drageus Games
Category: Action, Arcade, Twin-Stick
Release Date: 05.29.20
Genetic Disaster for the Nintendo Switch is a twin-stick roguelite action game featuring four unique characters with their own skills and playstyles. It has a really cool aesthetic and it kind of seems like it ought to have some sort of backstory to go along with its action, but it doesn’t, which right off the bat threw me off a little. When you get a game over screen, there’s this Mojo Jojo-looking dude who seems to be taunting you, but… who is he? I mean, he’s the final boss, actually, but, like… who is he? Does he have a name? Why are you shooting him? It just struck me as odd to create a game with such visually rich characters and settings and then do nothing in terms of a setup.
And this is a very good-looking game. The character models have a hand-painted look to them, which I love, and the way they’re animated kind of reminds me of the Paper Mario style, just with slightly more detailed drawings. The backgrounds for all twelve levels are created in the same hand-drawn style, resulting in just a stellar-looking game. The music, while solid and even a little catchy, doesn’t quite stand out as much as the visuals. Overall, the art design of the visuals and music really are top-notch, and they were the highlight of the game for me. That’s not to say the action was bad – it was totally solid, but I’ve been playing a similar game recently that just does the whole twin-stick thing better with even better visuals, music, and a story to boot.
So, like every twin stick game before it, you use one stick to move and one to aim. You’ve got both a melee attack and a ranged attack, in addition to a unique ability for each of the four characters in the game. Personally, I liked Sneaky and his teleportation ability, but Bastion and his shield were a close second. You can carry and switch between two guns at will, but the melee attack is just a swing with whatever gun you’re carrying – I don’t think different guns do different amounts of melee damage, but honestly I barely every used melee attacks to begin with. There are some small fries that melee attacks are useful against, but most enemies are better dispatched at range.
Guns have limited ammo, and there are two different types, bullets and energy canisters. Enemies will randomly drop more when you kill them, in addition to health refills, coins, and crystals. Coins can be used at randomly placed shops to either buy new guns, health, or ammo. Crystals can be spent during the game at special kiosks that grant you mutation power-ups, like extra health, greater movement speed, or damage buffs. You lose these buffs whenever you get a game over, which happens when you run out of health. You also lose any unused crystals, which is a total bummer.
You can, however, place crystals into a bank if you can find one, which saves your crystals into canisters. When you fill a canister, you can use that to buy mutations in the character select screen – and these mutations can be used as many times as you want when you start a game! My biggest complaint is how long it takes to fill one of the dang things; you need forty crystals to fill a canister. On easy or normal difficulty, you really don’t get a lot of crystals in a level. You really don’t want to try the higher difficulties without the extra support of mutations – or at least I didn’t, because it’s really hard. Guess that’s why they named it “Hard.”
Call me a wuss, but I still don’t feel comfortable inviting people over to play games with me. So while the game really markets itself as a co-op experience, I didn’t get to try that part out. It lacks online support on the Switch, which is kind of a bummer but I totally get it for an indie studio. There’s also a deathmatch arena mode if cooperation doesn’t really align with your friendship goals. I think the colorful graphics, smooth controls, and solid difficulty would make for a really fun time with my buddies, but I’ll have to wait a while to figure out if that’s actually true. In the meantime, Genetic Disaster’s single player mode offers engaging gameplay to go along with great visuals, which is always a recipe for a good time. I’d have liked a little more in terms of background setup, but all in all this is a really solid experience for arcade action aficionados.
Buy Genetic Disaster
Digital – $14.99
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*A game code was provided for review purposes.