Bionic Dues is a tactical, turn-based roguelite with mech customization. Out-think wide-ranging tactical situations featuring robots with bad GPS, terrible aim, insecurity, a lack of focus, a tendency to backstab, and dozens of other maladies to exploit.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (20 reviews) - 45% of the 20 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (708 reviews) - 77% of the 708 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 8, 2013

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Reviews

“What's wonderful about Bionic Dues is that it manages to combine meta-strategy and micro-strategy... It's like a fast-paced, mini-XCOM.”
Andrew Groen, The Penny Arcade Report

“Top game moment: Realising a momentary oversight has condemned you to almost certain doom, but then, with only a perfect set of well-thought long-contemplated moves, you pull everything out the bag, blow the rig, and get the hell out of dodge to receive a hard-earned mission successful.”
8.5/10 – Richard Nolan, Strategy Informer

“Bionic Dues delivers tough decisions, sweeping tactics and enormous mech battles; packing massive replayability and unpredictability into its budget price point. A 'Rogue-lite' to remember and to savour through numerous scorched-earth defeats and hard-won victories.”
8/10, Editor's Choice – Jonathan Lester, Dealspwn

About This Game

Robot rebellions should be quelled by the best of the best. When the best of the best are killed... it's up to you. Subdue the uprising in time, or your corporate overlords nuke the city.

Bionic Dues is a tactical, turn-based roguelite with mech customization. Guide multiple classes of Exos through a variety of missions filled with enemy robots that are as buggy as they are angry. This is at least as bad as it sounds. Explore for loot, destroy key robotic facilities, and brace yourself for the final attack by your enemies... just as soon as they can pull it together.

Features

  • Out-think wide-ranging tactical situations featuring robots with bad GPS, terrible aim, insecurity, a lack of focus, a tendency to backstab, and dozens of other maladies to exploit.
  • Over 40 unique bots, ranging from the hilariously inept-but-dangerous DumBots, BlunderBots, and BatBots to the terrifyingly effective WyvernBots, DoomBots, and MurderBots.
  • Carve your own path: choose 30 to 50 missions out of the 120 you discover as you explore the city map. Which missions you choose determines how prepared you will be for the final battle against the massing robot army.
  • Missions come in 23 different general flavors, and are entirely procedurally-generated like a floor of a traditional roguelite.
  • Mix and match your squad of four from six classes of Exos: Assault, Siege, Science, Sniper, Ninja and Brawler. Each has its own build and weaponry.
  • Choose an overall pilot from a roster of six to add a powerful perk that lasts your entire campaign.
  • Customize your four Exos with procedurally-generated loot that grants weaponry and defensive upgrades, new abilities, and more.
  • Difficulty levels ranging from quite casual to incredibly hardcore.
  • Save and reload your game with ease any time, or tough it out in ironman mode.
  • Stellar soundtrack by composer Pablo Vega, headlined by the game's title theme "The Home We Once Knew."

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may work
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mixed (20 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (708 reviews)
Recently Posted
Life is sad.
3.5 hrs
Posted: August 30
Product received for free
Very nice game. Music is pretty good.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Billco Tabarnak!
0.1 hrs
Posted: August 21
I feel like there a really deep game hiding in here, but I have no clue how to even begin playing it. The tutorial is virtually nonexistent, so I tried a few missions and died immediately.

Hold my friggin' hand for like 5 minutes so I can at least understand what I'm supposed to do, and how to do it. I'm not going to try random crap for hours until I suddenly pass a mission... uninstalling.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
_BlackMouses ( ͡°╭͜ʖ╮͡° ) [PT]
10.7 hrs
Posted: August 21
Nice game!!! But we should be able to select number of rounds untill final battle.
As time goes on, it gets really boring doing all the missions. :)
Nice intro music, I could hear it all day long!!!

Still a good game to play 1/2 missions per day, otherwise you'll get bored really quick! GG!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Soulkitchen
9.4 hrs
Posted: August 20
Dreadful main menu music. Lacks controller support.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cloudpersona
71.8 hrs
Posted: August 19
Really good, great feel and lots of fun, try it out.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cowan5
27.6 hrs
Posted: August 15
Fun game. Addictive and rewarding gameplay. A good rogue-like but the RNG isn't a constant game-killer like other rogue-likes.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
pungentstentch
17.6 hrs
Posted: August 14
Product received for free
Amazing little game, good for short plays, it's like a sci-fi boardgame. Must have for Roguelite and dungeon crawler fans who like good core mechanics over fancy graphics.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Deadly Dick
1.3 hrs
Posted: August 11
I didn't even pay for this game and I want a refund.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
vladd
1.4 hrs
Posted: August 5
Product received for free
-
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Onebadterran
9.6 hrs
Posted: July 23
Product received for free
Curator Review:

Bionic Dues is a Roguelite Sci-Fi Dystopian game set in a future where robots have taken over the world and are coming for you. You must hold out against the robots and defeat them or they will destroy all of humanity (or get nuked in the process). This challenging game is great fun once you learn how to play but fails in its' overall explanation of game mechanics. With a little perserverance it becomes easier. Still, it receives a 7.5/10 for being a fun game, once you know how to play it, and having fantastic music.

https://youtu.be/eNOOG5C4By0
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
I feel like there a really deep game hiding in here, but I have no clue how to even begin playing it. The tutorial is virtually nonexistent, so I tried a few missions and died immediately.

Hold my friggin' hand for like 5 minutes so I can at least understand what I'm supposed to do, and how to do it. I'm not going to try random crap for hours until I suddenly pass a mission... uninstalling.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
132 of 145 people (91%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 3, 2013
Similar Games:

XCOM, Dungeons of Dredmor, and to a lesser degree Hack, Slash, Loot

The Good:

High level of strategy in gameplay
Missions require a careful monitoring of line of sight and placement, even choosing which mission types to take on can affect the player’s success
Humor is quirky and tongue-in-cheek, but always amusing
All the typical fun RPG tropes are here!
Hacking, converting an enemy, and stealth
Also some uncommon ones like turrets
A plethora of different starting bot types to suit all gaming-types
Assault (goes in first), Siege (carries the big guns), Ninja (Silent, but deadly), Science (hacking specialist), and many more
The bots have a variety of imaginative weapon types that drastically change gameplay strategy when switching them
A large amount of loot that can dramatically impact the outcome of mission, so proper inventory management and planning is key (but thankfully quite fun!)
Within the inventory management system is a power balancing mechanic that limits the amount of powerful tech that the player can have equipped on each bot, which adds another wonderful layer to the strategy
There are fun “rogue-lite” elements of random chance events that can change the outcome of a mission (a positive… honest!)
For example, when hacking an unknown terminal and watching it explode and take out my bot in a brilliant display of fire sprites
Another “rogue-lite” addition of random procedural maps, enemy types, enemy placement, and traps
Knowing which equipment to use is made easier by the easy to read comparison stat screen at the bottom of the inventory (similar system to a diablo-like)
A pretty awesomely cheesy song starts during the menu screen that shouldn’t be missed
Any options that I felt the game should have after playing it for awhile, were surprisingly available in the extensive options screen
For example, the option to navigate the game with a “grab and move” mouse function
A Gamer’s Glance at my favorite gameplay moment: Being chased by a suicidal “bomb-bot” and knowing it would take my exo out if it continued its advance, but then realizing that I had enemy conversion points left and ending up sending it back to its friends armed and ready to go!

The Bad:

Tutorial could have been much more extensive
For example, using and understanding the inventory screen took a lot of trial and error (NOTE: this has been improved greatly by the implementation of patch 1.005)
Not knowing that the player can blow up friendly terminals was an issue at first, because I favored the Siege class
Hovering over an enemy will show the player how much damage will be done with the equipped weapon
While some of these may be a “RPG” fan give-in, going through each of the numerous fun mechanics of the game at the front end would have sold me on the game that much faster
Certain mission music is repetitive and grating, but thankfully changes its “tune” after a short time
The voice over work (while well done) on the tutorial and mission end screens seems unnecessary
Jokes are hit and miss, though luckily hit more times than miss
There are repetitive canned voice over lines from the bots during battle
Heard “Why was I programmed to feel pain!” more times than it was funny
Difficult to tell visually when stealth is active, which can lead to some trouble when playing on mute
Would have loved to have seen some variation in the environments, which understandably would be difficult given the setting
Just would have been nice to see some color and “life” to the tilesets
Maybe throw in some secret areas that could be found by blowing up a wall (there are enough explosions that the chance of finding one would be relatively frequent, yet surprising)
Can you play it while the children are awake?:

Absolutely. The game is quite tame and all battles take place between robots. The strategy element is quite advanced though, so little Jimmy might not get the most enjoyment out of the game playing by himself.

Did I make time to complete it?:

I played for 15 hours and found it very enjoyable throughout. The game has so many layers that I never found myself bored. Highly recommended to the rogue-like and XCOM-like crowd!

Recommended Purchase Price:

$9.99

or

100% of current retail value of $9.99

Reviewer:

MisterS42

http://www.gamersglance.com
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61 of 66 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
43.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
I thought I'd put up a review for this really underappreciated little game.

Developer Arcen Games makes wildly creative, deep, and eccentric genre-benders, the most celebrated of which is their asymmetrical space RTS/4x/tower defense, "AI Wars." AI Wars is clearly a great game, but somehow it's this one that I keep coming back to.

Bionic Dues is Arcen's take on a "roguelike," but of course in proper Arcen style it is totally unique.

Basically, it has a lot in common with a proper roguelike: you guide your characters through a series of procedurally generated dungeons. But there are a *lot* of interesting twists:

- You have 4 characters, (which are actually some sort of mecha exoskeleton?) in any combination of "classes," but can only use one at a time, and it takes a turn to swap them out.

- Loot and inventory customizaton is of primary importance. Each bot has *tons* of inventory slots, in several categories, and each class is different. Carefully poring over the hundreds of components you find, and optimizing their arrangement on each robot chassis, balancing your overall strategy, is the part of the game that I find utterly addictive. (It feels a lot like ship design in Gratuitous Space Battles, another of my favorites.)

- There is a sort of top-level strategy layer linking the dungeons. In between runs, you re-arrange robot parts, and choose your next raid target based on likely risk/rewards and your overall position in the map, with a global counter ticking down to a final level full of particularly nasty enemies.

- Understanding enemy AI and abilties is really important. There are a lot of enemy bot types, with simply-defined behaviors that are nevertheless complex in their interactions, and they appear in randomized combinations that can really change the way you approch a given dungeon.

- The game can be played with a number of different difficulty options, and core gameplay modifiers like the addition of permadeath, ironman mode, and time-limits on turns. This really allows you to tweak the game to your liking; you can choose to allow save-scumming, seeking the perfect run, or you can make it a much more tense and chaotic affair.

One thing that needs mentioning: a lot of the art assets are just awful-looking, especially on the strategy and inventory-management screens. To enjoy the game, you will have to be able to get over this, and see the item illustrations as purely functional conveyors of data. This works fine for me, but I'm sure it turns a lot of people off. Thankfully, I think the dungeon art is pretty nice-looking.

Frankly, I also found the music and voices to be awful (though a lot of the sound design itself is pretty nice,) and I tend just turn it off and listen to my own music.

Despite all the ugly warts, I keep coming back to this one. If you like procedural turn-based dungeon crawling, and find yourself spending a lot of enjoyable time comparing stuff on inventory screens, this might be a good one for you.

I also like that it lends itself well to short play sessions; you can pop in for a quick dungeon or a bit of stat-crunching without feeling too committed. It's also a good game to have running in the background while you're doing something else, taking a turn now and then.


All in all, this is a deep little game that's well worth its price tag - at the time of this writing, it's available at the ridiculous sale price of $1.99, and no roguelike fan should miss it.
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138 of 187 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
24.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 22, 2014
While the basic formula for a rougelike strategy game is here, Bionic Dues ultimately falls short due to balancing issues, bad information management, and generally poor presentation.

Walls of text and disorganized information are repeated issues in Bionic Dues — a problem that begins as soon as you begin your campaign. With no introduction, you're shown a screen with the portraits of four exos (your remote-controlled mechs) and a pilot, and are asked to select your team for the rest of the game. You can only take four of six exos with you; and can only select one pilot of, again, six. Each exo is armed differently, though you're only given a small description of their capabilities on a hovering text box. The same goes for the pilots: each their own brief backstory, and a special ability that affects the performance of the team. "+50% to all propulsion stats—" "A Mark-4 part will have stats like a Mark-6—" "He was able to sneak into the Bahamut Device installations—" But you've been given no story and have no idea what the gameplay is like yet. What's a Mark-6? What does the propulsion stat do? What's a Bahamut Device? None of this has any context, so you're just guessing at what might make an effective team and hoping for the best. If you later don't like your choices — well, tough; you're stuck with it.

Upon selecting your team, you're dumped into a map screen and given a one-page briefing of the situation and your mission. It's then explained that the city is under attack by a robot rebellion, and as the sole remaining pilot, it's up to you to prevent annihilation. That's the extent of your story. No characters are introduced, your pilot is never addressed by name, and the voiceover guy doesn't even explain who he is. As no real world-building is done, and your choice of pilot has no effect on the extremely-minimal story, it makes the whole process of choosing a pilot superfluous. Who cares what their names are, what they look like, or what very brief backstory they each have when it doesn't change anything in the campaign and is never addressed again? "Choose your pilot" could have easily been "choose your buff," then addressed the player, themselves, as the pilot of the exos.

Pressing OK clears the introductory text, and then several more bulletpoints of information are thrown on screen at once, explaining several basic gameplay mechanics before they're necessary. You can go straight to a mission, but the screen is flanked by icons of your exos and enemy bots, with a big green arrow reading "Customize" pointing to your team. Clicking on that gives you another text box of info, and behind it, way more info as you're shown the stats of each exo and every item in your inventory. This was the biggest and most repeated problem encountered: just way too much disorganized information at once, often without context. Each exo has 14 base stats to keep track of, and then as many as five weapons with up to 23 more stats, determined by equipping items to a potential 30 inventory slots.

Get used to the customization screen; with up to 50 missions in the campaign, you'll be spending a lot of time here between fights. This does allow you to specialize each exo with careful delegation of items and theory-crafting, but eventually I got tired of sinking so much time into figuring out exactly which item would be best-equipped where and on which exo, with so many possibilities and little nuances, that I skipped it unless I picked up something that was an obviously big upgrade. This may have been easier with better information management, but everything in this game comes as a wall of text in the same typeface. There's very little colour differentiation, and absolutely no graphics or icons used for quick identification. I started skipping the customization, because it wasn't fun; it felt like homework. However, you can only neglect dedicating yourself to this process so much, as the enemy forces get stronger with every mission. Do it, or eventually you will be outclassed.

See how much information is written here so far? We haven't even gotten to the first mission yet. Each mission is represented on the map by a different icon branching outwards from your headquarters. You have to complete them in succession to explore the city, until the final battle on the fiftieth day. Bionic Dues outright tells you that the final battle is on day 50, which is unsuspenseful. Your basic objective is to grind through the missions, upgrading your exos with loot and potentially weakening the enemy forces in preparation for one final and massive battle of attrition. If you mess up enough along the way, you can reach that final day, fail the battle, and lose the whole campaign.

The battles are turn-based. Your team has to explore a randomly-generated, grid-based battlefield, eliminating enemy robots and potentially destroying certain objectives along the way. All four exos move together on the same grid point, like an old RPG party. Only one of them is active at a time, and that will be the one who can fight and take damage. Moving, firing, using a special ability, or switching between exos takes one turn. Most of the enemies will remain inactive until you aggro them, and then they'll each take their turn after you make your move. They're not particularly challenging; most bots can be dispatched easily by being outranged or lead into traps. However, if you're not tactical, there are times where you can find yourself flanked, cornered, and overwhelmed. You can lose one of your exos in an instant with a poor choice of moves. So what happens then? Can you repair the exo, or is there some sort of penalty? Do you need to replace it, or go through the rest of the campaign with only three on your team? The game never explains, beyond that you'll receive one less piece of loot at the end of the mission.

The way each battle plays out varies depending on the type of mission, represented by the icon on the map screen. For example, some turn all destructable objects into powerful explosives, some have hostages that must be protected, and some power up every exo and bot to perform one-hit kills. This adds a little gameplay variety. However, the battlefields, themselves, are visually very bland and repetitive. They all take place indoors, and the scenery doesn't change from one part of the city to the other. Their dark grey floor colouring offers low contrast from the black, unnavigable negative space, sometimes making it hard to distinguish where you can and can't move your exos.

Once you complete your objective, you have to navigate to the exit of the level. While this does give a chance to explore and pick up any missed loot, this is often dull, as the main objective and the exit aren't necessarily going to be placed nearby each other. Often you'll find yourself navigating empty corridors as you search for the way out, which may not be easy to find. The exit isn't an actual physical exit from the battlespace, but a circle on one of the tiles, which may be hard to spot at times when it's in the fog-of-war shadow. Poor contrast plays an issue here again. Making it to the exit, in itself, is anticlimactic. You'll be immediately dumped back to the map screen, with no victory fanfare or continuation of a story.

Once you've done that, go spend a while calculating how to best upgrade your exos, then repeat the process 48 more times to make it to the final battle. There's no build-up to this moment — it's treated the same as every other mission. The final battle is an endurance run, pitting your four exos against the remanants of the enemy bot army, or as many as can fit in the map at once. It's not harder, just longer. And once you win, your reward? A "congratulations" text box. Then you just sit on the map screen. That's it.

While the basics are here, Bionic Dues falls short, still having massive room for improvement in its gameplay and presentation. Not recommended.
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65 of 76 people (86%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Recommended
122.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 8, 2015
This is a Simple Rogue like Turn based Robot Shooting game.

There are 220 achievements but don't be scared by that since all achievements are available in 5 different difficulty.
So that's actually only 220 / 5 = 44 achievements that you have to play to get.

My end game record is 229 games with 10 wins and 3 loses to get 100% achievement.

The Game graphic is not great but it's rogue like and indie and they did as detail job as they could.

The music is repetitive and there is only about 3-4 different tones. IF you stay on the menu page and that song I actually really liked.

It's a math game and once you learn the ropes start playing expect difficulty and you will enjoy the game the most under that. Do iron man + extra options last.

I really enjoyed 2 weeks of playing this game for nearly 120 hours and if you like rogue like + turn base + robot shooting game. You will enjoy this one.

8.0/10.0
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58 of 70 people (83%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
75.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 13, 2015
Basically, Bionic Dues is a rogue-like mix of rpg/strategy dungeon crawler with hi-tech setting, where you fighting ever growing hordes of killing droids with your own droid. War of the machines, basic "save the humanity from annihilation" stuff - that's all you'll ever catch about story. You can think of it as of another small thing for touchpads, but no, it's not that simple. Actually, it is like an iceberg, where major part of the game is hiding beneath the surface. And yeah, if you're looking for light walk with painless achievements - that's a very wrong game for you! While its quite easy to catch an opening pattern, farther you go - more skill and luck you need. On Every Turn.

Now, the real game is where its mechanics. You have dozens of basic options like which droid class do you prefer, what strategy will be the best with grading that given droid, and how do you planning to save the world? Destroying every enemy bot in the reach from the start, when they are still weak? Or just cutting their numbers by destroying their factories and supplies while building up your muscles for the final battle? Dozens of basic strategic options - and thousands choices on tactics. Will you prefer to raise power of single shot or ammo capacity? Range of sight or splash effect for your rockets? Stealth and traps or brute force and assault?
Closer to the end of each match you'll get enough mods for your droid to make him an ultimate death machine of choice. And still you'll be vulnerable, remarkably outnumbered and outgunned in every mission. So you have to consider many steps forward. Always. And that's why I'm satisfied with that "small looking, gross bearing" tactical game.

There are minuses, of course:

- very basic visual part. No, it is not XCom or Jagged Alliance with destroyable 3d environment, that's top-down view rogue-like indie project. Surely not for DOTA kids who are filling about half of Steam auditory.

- while it's quite easy to get along with, if you are in any way familiar with rogue-like games... finishing Bionic Dues even once can be very challenging and sometimes boring.

- if you're an achievement hunter, that game is a disaster, for to make complete of this game, you'll need to invest Hundredz of Hourz. Not dozens, but hundreds hours of your precious time. And there will be no detailed video guides, like for the Civilization, "how to prosper on Deity". To get all 220 achievements, you'll need to master all combinations of battle classes, beating the game about 20-30 times in average. And except diversity of tactics related to these classes, the rest will be repeated again. And again. And again...

- inventory, the part of the Bionic Dues, which makes it RPG-like, by selecting a combination of two dozens of attributes installed on your war machine... that's exactly the most boring part in the whole game. In the start, where you have about 5 spare parts, it's ok. But after 10-15 missions you'll be buried with dozens and even hundreds of items, from which you need to choose from. So many players get stacked and bored at this point! But after 20-30 hours of play you'll overcome it, hopefully. Managing one droid is much easier than all 4, and real challenge is where you making through with just one robot, not a squad of them.

Pluses are less:

- never ending challenge and need to think much forward

- many different strategies, which always should be adapted to every mission

- fantastic music! to the point where I can start a game not for playing, but just to hear that ambient again. Starting song is gorgeous! I can listen to it over and over again, for hours

Overall, I would recommend Bionic Dues to all fans of turn-based tactical games and I would NOT recommend it for achievement hunters and casual players. This game may looks nice and cosy, easy like the most of the games for touch screens... But in fact it is a very engaging time-killer.

7.5/10 saved cities
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42 of 48 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
143.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2013
Another gem from Arcen, highly recommended if this genre is up your alley! Bionic Dues is a turn-based strategic roguelike where you control four exos (remotely piloted mechs, basically), only one at a time but hot swappable, through a variety of missions towards a final showdown with the enemy robot force. It shines in all the right areas: intelligent randomization, loot, equipment options, a variety of different mission types, lots of different weapon types, exo specializations and commander perks, plus a bunch of achievements. Individual missions are typically pretty short (5-10 minutes tops), so it can be played in short bursts if desired. I've already sunk a ton of time into this, with much more on the horizon. It can be challenging, but good strategy will usually bring you out on top. A demo is also available at Arcen's site. http://arcengames.com/
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25 of 27 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
20.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2015
On first impressions when I started playing this game, I wasn't too impressed. The difficulty seemed all over the place, there were a lot of numbers and stats everywhere, and things were confusing. But, if you stay on and keep playing, you eventually start to get a hang of it. There is a bit of a learning curve here, but the game has a very nice tactical depth to it and can be loads of fun.

Upon starting a new game, you get to select your preferred pilot and 4 mechs/exosuits. Each pilot has a bonus perk of some sort, and each mech has its own strengths and weaknesses, some being more offensively based, others more to do with support stuff, like hacking and stealth. So it's up to you to pick your preferred team.

The campaign itself has a simple concept - a robot army is going to attack your HQ in 50 days. Do whatever you can to prepare yourself for this attack. Each mission you do in the city counts as a day. You can go for missions where you find shiny new gear for your mechs to make them stronger, or you can go for missions which weaken the enemy and slow their expansion. The best thing is, you can see on a side of a screen the details of what units currently comprise the enemy army, so you can see how it is affected after every mission you do.

The missions themselves take a form of a randomly-generated dungeon with tile-based movement. You can swap between your mechs at will, but doing so counts as a turn, so you have to be very careful in your advance. It is very easy to make a wrong move and to have several enemies on you at once. Both, your units and enemy units, might feel like glass cannons. You could kill an enemy in 1-2 shots, but so can they! So you have to utilise tactics to outsmart them - use range or perhaps area of effect weapons, or even just pull back and surprise them around the corner. You can even deploy sentry turrets to help you in firefights if you've got any available.

And in between missions you can customize your mechs with the loot found. The customization is very rich and detailed. Each mech has several slots where gear can fit in, ranging from weapons, to shields, to propulsion systems. It can feel overwhelming at first because there are a lot of things on the screen, but you do get used to it, and everything in the game has a description if you're unsure what something is.

Speaking of descriptions, they're fantastic. Everything has an edge of humour in it. When you hover over an enemy, an object, or anything else in-game, you see a bit of funny flavour text about it.

The music is also amazing. I first got interested in the game when I've heard its main theme, which is very beautiful with great vocals, but even the tracks that play during missions are also great.

I've been enjoying the game so far and started a new campaign already. I would highly suggest to play the first game on an Easy or Casual difficulty level to get familiar with the game. After that, the higher difficulty levels don't seem as bad anymore.

Great game. Highly recommended for fans of tactics-based games.
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29 of 34 people (85%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 21, 2014
Bionic dues is a roguelike, and plays pretty similar to standard rogue games. You take an action, then everything else does, repeat untill enemies are dead or an objective is complete. You get four party members that you can switch between at any point (costs an action) but only one of them can be on the field at a time, so you're really always controlling a single hero, not a squad.

First it should be said that, like most arcen games, Bionic Dues has amazingly good music. Although they are merely adequate as a game developer, they have the amazing Pablo Vega on staff doing all their music. This is especially noticeable in the hauntingly beautiful title track, The Home That We Once Knew. A song so brilliant i'd recommend buying this game JUST to hear it, despite its other flaws. It really sets the scene and is a truly amazing first impression, sadly it's mostly downhill from there.

This game has an unfortunate problem shared by other Arcen titles, in that the game bombards you with information right from the beginning, telling you in pointlessly explicit detail about the final battle you'll eventually have and how to win it. Aside from being overwhelming and working very poorly as a tutorial, this also instantly takes away any sense of novelty or mystery from the game, and you're never really in doubt about what will eventually happen. The final battle is hyped and foreshadowed repeatedly, and warnings about it are shoved in your face constantly.

At the beginning you choose four of the six classes, and one of the six available leaders. this is probably intended to encourage replayability, but i didn't really feel any desire to play it again.

After every mission your'e rewarded with a tide of loot with witty descriptions that modify lots of stats, and you can equip your party between missions using these parts. Each squad member has 20-30 equipment slots, so you'll spend a lot of time in there tweaking with equipment loadouts, which is kind of fun at first. However after a while of playing, the system starts to feel shallow, as there's a pretty small range of values that can actually be adjusted, and thusly not much room for "builds" or any real modding strategy. You basicalyl want everyone to be reasonably tanky, and all their weapons to be strong enough to 1-shot enemies, with reasonable amounts of range and ammo. this isn't hard to accomplish.

Eventually you'll stop caring about most of the loot you get, and just briefly scan the inventory for unusually high values, there's too much of it, and once you've seen one +50% damage mod, you've seen them all. There's no unusual combinations or interesting unique equipment, just ever-increasing generic values, the novelty fades quickly.

Each squad member has a small (preset, non-changeable) selection of weapons, and with certain missions they can get a permanant upgrade which gives them additional weapons and equipment slots (again, preset). These upgrades are nice and add an interesting power spike to things, but there's exactly one for each squad member, and they're no-brainers you'll want to grab asap.


***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****
***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****
***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****


Despite the constant warnings and foreshadowing, and especially the warning that i'd have to hold off a massive assault from hundreds of enemies, the final mission was a colossal letdown. It threw a grand total of 80-ish enemies at me (there's a counter) in a single, boring mazelike interior environment, much like any other mission. There was no colossal assault, it was literally a hunt-and-destroy mission like hundreds of others. I had to go and find THEM hiding in tiny pockets of resistance, and just nuke them with aoe weapons.

I spent a long time building up a perfectly engineered sniper and engineer-scientist combo, and created a huge fort of sentry guns expecting to have to fight off thousands of bots, and maybe some colossal monster. What i got was a pathetic skirmish with only slightly more enemies than an average mission. it was a dismal and hollow end to the game. There's no real reward or sense of closure either, after the battle you jsut get a "congratulations you won, now go and relax" textbox, and the game just stops on the main map screen with nothing being clickable. No ending cutscene, no conclusion to the story, just nothing.

I spent £1.74 on this game, and my initial thoughts after buying it were that i'd gotten an amazing deal. But as the novelty wore off, that seemed like a pretty reasonable price. It's great fun for an hour or two, and mildly entertaining for a few more after that, but there's no real reason to replay it.

You should probably quit before you finish the game, and just imagine that it had a good ending.
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Recommended
36.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 2
Arcen Games may well be tiny but they certainly can come up with some pleasantly curious ideas. These are the guys, after all, who brought us the bizarre concept of a strategy game where you fight against yourself – Skyward Collapse – and the highly-acclaimed RTS/4X/tower defence hybrid – AI War: Fleet Command . Thankfully, in addition to being quite oddly named, Bionic Dues does not at all threaten to disappoint our expectations. Instead it continues the trend of stylish and interesting roguelikes peppering the indie-scene, and it does it with all the imaginative design we would come to expect from developers like these.

You play the role of a rookie mech pilot tasked with protecting a futuristic mega-city from a sudden robot rebellion. Having four specialised mechs at your disposable, you have 50 days to perform missions which either strengthen your crew or weaken the enemy, before facing off a final massive attack wave in your HQ to end the game. A failed mission means a wasted day and the enemy grows in number and strength whilst you gain nothing. As time goes on, missions increase in difficulty due to the enemy level-ups; thus mimicking the ongoing arms race between your mechs and the belligerent AI mobs.

The game embraces RPG-like mechanics and allows several levels of customisation. Firstly, you may choose from a selection of mech pilots who have varying gameplay bonuses; for example, higher quality loot or economic discounts from the item store you can access in-between missions. Secondly, you may select the four mech classes which will make up your team. These range from heavily armoured high-damage short-range tank-like units, to long-range weakly-shielded snipers, to specialised science mechs. Each mech has a different selection of weapons available of the kind you would expect to see.

Your mechs are primarily improved over time by equipping them with the items you loot, earn or buy. In traditional dungeon-crawl form, items are named according to their level and bonuses, and colour-coded according to their degree of rareness. Additionally, they come in various types which fit in the corresponding specialised slots on your mech’s load-out. These include various types of weapon-slots, shield-slots, computer-slots, etc. The system more or less mimics a Diablo-style paper-doll with some items being similar to various types of armour or weapons and other types operating more like rings or amulets.

However in Bionic Dues this system is further complicated by the fact that each item has a power requirement which limits the number of high-level items a mech can utilise. This upper-limit can only be increased by equipping a certain type of reactor item which, rather than consuming power, produces it. Your mechs don’t actually level-up, and this system replaces that standard RPG mechanic. The overall effect of all these complications in total, coupled with the abundance of loot which improves upon the items you already have, has the effect that it becomes a little hard to care about absolute min-maxing of your mechs’ load-outs.

The majority of gameplay happens within the missions. These very much take traditional roguelike form; a basic-sidebar accompanies a top-down futuristic tiled-floor dungeon map. Each mission has a simple objective such as blow up all the control-station-things, reach the exit-point, or kill all the enemies. Your limited sensor range, which varies from mech to mech and can be augmented with certain items, only allows you to see a small section of the map. This leaves much of the map unexplored at first.

The apparently randomly-generated maps are filled with item-crates, traps, obstacles, enemies, and, of course, your objective. In addition, loot is hidden behind locked doors which can only be hacked open with a special mech-skill normally best-performed by the science mech. In this busy environment line-of-sight becomes crucial, allowing for either tactical destruction of, or hiding behind, obstacles.

Although the game functions in turn-based form, it generally plays quite rapidly as most situations allow and even encourages the player to make moves hastily. This kind of attitude can later prove fatal when a deadly BombBot is accidentally allowed to get far too close for comfort. The gameplay is such that it consistently creates the beautifully ironic why-the-hell-did-I-do-that and oh-my-god-I-am-so-dead moments that roguelike players have come to know and love/hate.

In general, Bionic Dues is incredibly well put-together. Every gameplay mechanic is so openly explained in tooltips that absolutely everything can be calculated if so desired. The game’s tutorial popups are slick, well-written and comprehensive. On top of that, the game comes heavily-equipped with a fantastic sense of humour. Everything from the enemy descriptions to the mission briefings are written with the attitude of a winking-smiley and I frequently laughed-out-loud as I read through them. This only backfires in the form of the comedic enemy death-cries, which although entertaining at first soon become rather repetitive and thus somewhat irritating.

The 2D graphics are little-more than functional, nevertheless the techno-futuristic style does have a certain charm. The benefit of having this kind of setup, of course, is that Bionic Dues will run smoothly on just about every PC which is actually able to start up. The audio, on the other hand, is a definite cut above the norm. The in-mission music reminds of early-90s midi classics, and the menu music, despite being a bit amateurish, has a certain indie-band charm. The voiceover quality matches that of the music, after each mission a very cool deep-throated narrator gives a mini-rundown on how things are going.

The game offers a good selection of 6 difficulty settings which range from casual to an aptly named misery; a popup tooltip describes the exact effect of each setting in as much clinical detail anyone would ever want. As if that wasn’t enough, an additional hardcore mode checkbox sits enticingly below the difficulty slider; taunting the player by promising to overwrite your only permitted save-slot any time something really embarrassing happens.

On the negative side, I must admit that the complete lack of both endgame statistics and a decent story-line closure was pretty disappointing. I did also once manage to get the top-down camera lost deep within the fog-of-war and had some difficulty finding my way back to my mechs; providing mild frustration. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that although there is a storyline of sorts accompanying the game, it’s far too weak to be the player’s primary motivation to play on.

Putting these minor gripes aside; if you can’t tell already, I really like this game. Indie devs don’t always come up with the goods, but Arcen are doing a damn fine job of it. Bionic Due is not only a necessary purchase for all true rogue-clone fans, but it’d easily be a pride-worthy addition to the game collection of anyone with even a remote interest in this sort of thing.
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