Welcome to From the Garage, TGR’s weekly feature spotlighting Xbox Live Community Games and independent development. Given the enormous amount of content that is hitting the marketplace, we’ll steer clear of the garbage and point you in the direction of treasure. This week, we feature Biology Battle.
Biology Battle is pretty simple to sum up. In fact, it only takes two words to properly describe it: Geometry Wars. Now, to be fair to the game, it’s not exactly like Geometry Wars, but it obviously takes inspiration from it.
In Biology Battle, you control a ship and blast bacteria and viruses away within a confined space, trying to amass the highest score possible before you run out of lives. Much like any other dual-stick shooter, you’ll control your ship with the left analog stick and shoot at the bad guys with the right stick. Taking a cue from Geometry Wars, Biology Battle also has its own “bomb” feature, which generally clears the map of all enemies via a lightning strike that encapsulates the entire playing field—very much appreciated when things get a bit too hectic. Your ship also comes with a second evasive maneuver, the dash. As the name implies, this move gives your ship a temporary speed boost.
As you blast through the scum, power-ups will start to drop. They’re pretty standard: Extra lives, shields, weapon upgrades, and satellites, which are essentially temporary assistants that fire at enemies for a short period of time.
What makes the game stand out is its sense of humor and its controls. The game isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, per se, but it definitely has a certain charm to it. After dying, for example, you’ll get certain quips such as “Say Hello to My Lil’ Friend.” When you get the satellite power-up, you might hear “I am Invincible!” and when you get the shield power-up, “Need to tighten up the graphics on Level 3.” “Et tu, Brute?” is reserved for when you die. They’re unexpected and you rarely see the same phrase repeated, so it keeps the game light-hearted and mostly enjoyable to play. The controls don’t hurt, either. For a community game, they are excellent–they’re just as responsive and fluid as you would expect a full-fledged Arcade title to be.
The only thing holding the game back is its premium price point of 800 Microsoft Points ($10). It does come with three modes: Local, Global Challenge, and Versus, but in the case of Local and Global Challenge, they’re essentially the same game, except that the Global Challenge has online leaderboards (which are only available to Xbox Live Gold Members, oddly).
Biology Battle isn’t the most innovative title, taking plenty of cues from the best dual-stick shooters to come out in recent years, but its solid controls and charming style do make a download of the trial a necessity.
Verdict: Try It