So, here comes another little title in my lap. I can’t smell it; it’s digital, after all. Can’t taste it, so at least it has a leg up from those Switch cartridges. I felt it, however, and boy did I get my hands on it. My eyeballs touched the screen (which was a very unhealthy choice as it had dust on it) and my ears were met with a funky serenade of dungeon crawly music. That’s right, folks, I’m talking about Genetic Disaster.
Well, maybe you didn’t ask that, but I’m here to tell you why you should.
Team8 Studio’s the name, a fledgling indie developer crew from Lyon (I don’t know if they mean the region in France or if I should know of a major city elsewhere, but their website simply states that). It looks like this game is the notch in their belt, with their goal in mind the cooperation is the key to a fun and simple game. They’re not wrong, naturally (it helps too, considering that they know two people will buy it at least) as I am a huge proponent of group coop games. Terraria, Minecraft, Diablo… did I say Diablo? This game gives a healthy nod towards Blizzard’s titan dungeon crawler because this game is jammed pack with procedurally generated lairs.
If I were to slap some fancy gamer genre terms on it, I would call it a coop dungeon crawler roguelike. How’s that for some wordsmithing?
So the first time I play it, I immediately get hit with some Binding of Isaac vibes; pick a character with unique special powers, get thrown into the merciless bowels of some shady stone temple passage, with firearm based weaponry to choose from. It swiftly departs from there and treads into Diablo territory, as you can also swing up to three friends together and go bananas together. Dropped down an elevator to the first level of what I can only presume to be the decrepit entrance of a golem’s bootyhole (this is all metaphorical, mind you), they offer me a choice between a pistol and a mini uzi. I firmly believe that between the two, the uzi is meant for scared children who don’t know how to aim, so I grab the adult’s choice and head on up into the next room.
The next fifteen minutes was glorious, easy mode bullet hell ridden fun, as I’m scurrying about destroyable, industrial versions of barrels and crates and smoking robot enemies that want nothing more than to burn down your initial three hearts. With a realistic amount of ammo per clip, I would hysterically gun down some poor schmuck before quickly realizing I needed to reload and had to retreat before I became overrun. Limited ammo became an upfront concern, but defeated foes were dropping ammo and hearts by the handful, and I quickly became accustomed to the controller that instantly mapped all the buttons. Man, it felt good, even if I wasn’t paying attention to my health and died a warrior’s death.
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That was me, all by my lonesome, however. If the game was fun by itself, what about the multiplayer aspect? I couldn’t pass up the combination of both local and online multiplayer, even if I was playing the beta form of this game.
That’s where I turned to my PSVG partners Kevin and Amanda, and we tear up the underground streets.
I was not expecting this. I don’t know why I wouldn’t; it’s a freaking cooperative recommended game, for Pete’s sake. It was chaos. It was brutal. It was scary and beautiful in all of its glory. Having two people by my side unleashing massive waves of bullets in every which way was great, but that wasn’t the only thing I realized; there are “cycles”, where an ice cycle will drop damaging icicles that make traversing slippery, or friendly fire mode, where bullets were deadly to EVERYONE. It forced me to stay my weapon, a grenade launcher, because I knew I would murder my own team members if I used it.
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I personally had a freaking blast, and a few drinks and dedicated friends could turn this into a paradise multiplayer. I was turned off by the stark simplicity of it in actuality, but the peppered in puzzles and random rooms really bring this game to life and I can’t wait to not murder my teammates again. I'm also concerned as to how long the innovation and fun would be as the repetitive nature of the game lingers far ahead, but I also counterpoint that this is a game you can burn out after a week and feel refreshed playing it later on. Since this is only a slice of the game and I didn’t get the full scope, I cannot say my score is 100% accurate in the main scheme of things; I will say without hesitation, however, that if you have the bucks to burn and your friends do too, you’ll have a heck of a time.