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.
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"A tactical, turn-based roguelite with mech customization. Recommended for people that love tactical combat, meta and micro-strategy."


“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

Об этой игре

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.


  • 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."

Системные требования

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
Полезные обзоры покупателей
43 из 45 пользователей (96%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
43.9 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 3 ноября, 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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11 из 12 пользователей (92%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
29.4 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 16 декабря, 2014
Wonderful unique turn based and creative game, fun and addictive. If you like turn based strategy games you will love this. The game is finish able even on the first try. The ability to save whenever you wish is a big plus. The interface is easy and straightforward as long as the option for mouse movement is NOT selected (If it is, then placing mines and turrets in a specific location will be a nightmare). The mission variation is fantastic and constant trying to choose which mission to do next and trying to decide when to fight the final battle adds tension to the already tense and fun dungeon crawls. There are several types of missions, and which one you choose can have a significant impact on how the game progresses. A new game starts on the city map where you choose from a web of different mission types. As you complete or fail missions, more are revealed. You win the game by either surviving the inevitable final bot onslaught, or lose when your headquarters are destroyed. There is a lot of replay ability value as your strategy will need to change depending on the lead character you select and the mech team you select. During the missions, you only control one mech (called "exos" in game) at a time, but you have four in your stable. There is a ton of generated loot you can use to improve your exos with, which you get from completing missions, find in chests, or buy from the shop. You can swap your exo for another at any time, though it will cost you an action. You lose the mission if all four exos are destroyed. There are six different exo classes, with an epic variation of each. There are also six different pilots to choose from, each with a unique ability. A solid game, that gives you a deep tactical experience.
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6 из 6 пользователей (100%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
170.5 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 25 декабря, 2014
Randomized top-down turn based "dungeon" crawler (1 turn = 1 move, like one step in cardinal direction or taking a shot, for you and your enemies). Your "party" can consist up to 4 different "members" of various "classes", but you only get to control one of your "party" members at a time, and swapping them in and out is a move on its own.

And there's also Mark XXVII Looted Epic Loot of Looting system thrown in for a good measure.

Except instead of going deeper into a fantasy dungeon, you go deeper into a sci-fi city in order to fight off crapshoot AI menace or your corporation will nuke the city, just to be sure, which means millions of lives lost as evac is, apparently, not an option (due to hand-wa... I mean, overcrowding).

The city exploration facet adds whole new dimension to the game - instead of one direction, down, you get a choice where to go next and the web of accessible missions grows as you go. Do you want to focus on particular type of loot? Make yourself stronger or enemy weaker? Or perhaps the next mission is not too great, but is located strategically and you need it to unlock path to some juicier mission in sight?

In default settings you get 50 missions/days to prepare for the ultimate showdown, each passing day meaning enemy robots grow in strength and number for assault on your base, and you are hoping to keep up, occasionally bringing them down a notch or two.

This is quite a roguelike experience, although permadeath and iron man mode, iron man mode, aren't turned on by default and who knows, maybe you want to keep it that way, at least at first, because the game is rather not easy as it is.

And it is actually a thinking man's game, if you just want to go guns-a-blazing, you're in for a bad time. It's not a top-down twitch shooter; you need to be very deliberate in your actions.

This is an interesting mix of ideas, as one should expect from Arcen Games. Has the potential to suck you in good, but also I see potential for it not hitting right notes with everybody. I, for one, certainly dig it.
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5 из 5 пользователей (100%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
11.7 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 14 ноября, 2014
This game feels imperfect. But in that, it has replayability. The gameplay is such that, your Exo (bot) can be 1-hit fairly easy, especially when you are just learning. Not to mention AOE damage can also take you out. So, losing a bot is easy. You can usually still succeed with your other 3, and you don't permanently lose the bot unless you are playing with "Dead is dead" enabled... which I think isn't available until you've beaten it once. I found the upgrade system alluring. If the art was more aesthetic I probably would have given it much more of my time.

gameplay: 7/10
art: 6/10
theme: 8/10
sound: 8/10
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5 из 5 пользователей (100%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
Пользователей, посчитавших этот обзор забавным: 1
9.2 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 11 января
A very positive surprise. In this game you control robots, "Exos", destroying enemy robots and collecting loot from the battlefields. The turn-by-turn mechanics are familiar from roguelikes such as NetHack, but the scifi setting reminds me of FTL. Cannot go wrong with that recipe!

Between each mission you are returned to the City Screen where you can also go and customize the Exos. This part, too, reminds me of customizing the spaceship in FTL: you need to select the most appropriate weapons and tools to all slots of the Exos and keep in mind the power constraint.

In the game you only control one Exo at a time, so no squad-based combat here. You can always swap the current Exo to another one, but that costs one turn, like everything else. The challenge is, of course, how to kill the enemies without getting killed yourself. Going in with your laser blazing usually ends in you getting killed, so you need to be more clever than that. One strategy is to use Stealth, get close to a powerful enemy, infect it with a virus and watch it kill the other enemies.

Once your Exo gets killed, it's out for the rest of the mission, so when you've got four Exos in total, you in a sense have four lives in each mission. The Exos have different strengths and weaknesses (just like the ships in FTL are different from each other), so, for example, getting your hacker Exo killed might make it impossible to hack impassable doors behind which loot usually lies.

The achievements seem to be something that actually need to be pursued, compared to some games that reward you with five as long as you just complete the tutorial. Finally, I'm also enjoying the game's soundtrack, which also has songs with vocals.
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2 из 2 пользователей (100%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
33.8 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 4 февраля
scratches the tactical itch, with diablo-style itemization in a novel gameplay setting. a really underappreciated gem.


+ items, items, items - good variety, good utility; always upgrades at every corner
+ different mechs/engineers play quite differently
+ world map decisions actually requires a fair amount of planning and strategy
+ mission types offer a good variety of challenges

- beginnings of games are kind of brutal until you get a few upgrades, then it tips into 'way too easy' when you can one-shot most everything
- lack of variety in enemy tactics. sure the different bots do different things, but you tend to approach most situations similarly (either AoE or single pulls)
- lack of variety in graphics - all missions have the same tileset...gets old after the first game
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3 из 4 пользователей (75%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
1.7 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 18 января
tl;dr -> A true rogue-like game - even when you think your robots' loadouts are great, you will soon get facerolled by the enemy. 11/10 if these robots were in I Robot/Terminator we would be screwed.

I was excited to try this game out because I love the rogue-like genre. I was not disappointed, and ended up with a very satisfying - but still brutal - experience.

If you enjoy the rogue-like genre, robot theme, turn-based combat, and lots of death and loot, then you will enjoy this game.

The aesthetics are decent - the robot models and animations are nothing too fancy. The music and sounds are good, but I personally found the opening (menu) song annoying after a few repetitions. The random dialogue that the enemy robots shout out is comical - ex: "why was I programmed to feel pain?" Eventually, I just muted all the sounds and played my own music.

The controls are simple and quick to learn. There are pop-up tutorials and the feedback when you hover over things is very helpful. The learning curve is minimal to moderate depending on your experience with the rogue-like genre and grid/turn-based games. The difficulty can be adjusted, and you will most likely not be playing misery for a long time - unless you are a glutton for punishment.

Gameplay is fast-paced and unforgiving - your goal is to prepare for an inevitable final battle against the robot horde (similar to the end-game boss fight in Faster than Light). You are presented with a randomly-generated map layout with branching missions. Doing a mission (regardless of failing/passing) will unlock the rest of the missions that are connected to that particular branch. Depending on the difficulty you are playing on, you will get x loot pieces per surviving robot member (aka Exo) after the mission is completed. You will also get different loot types depending on the mission you select - for example, laboratory missions will give you more computer modules. Whenever you fail, your HQ will lose a hit point, and if you reach 0, you will lose the game. Completing salvage missions will repair some damage to your HQ.

After every mission, more enemy robots are manufactured - you can hinder this by attacking robot command centers, which reduce the number of days before the final battle. You can also hunt down boss robots, making the end-game battle a bit easier. Be warned, these missions are extremely challenging, and should not be attempted until you have acquired mid- to high-tier gear. Your Exos do not level up - instead, you upgrade them with acquired loot. You can select 4 different Exos to make up your party, and you can even select 4 of the same type if you wish (this is not recommended). Examples include a sniper, ninja (stealth-based), and science (hacker/support) Exo. The character you select at the start of the game will give you different bonuses - I strongly suggest you select Tuck for your first few playthroughs because his sensor ability (allows you to see the objective and any loot containers) will increase your situational awareness greatly.

During mission gameplay, you move with the WASD keys and use the mouse to select weapons/skills. You travel as a single entity, so switching Exos will use one turn. This is critical to understand because you will automatically switch to the next Exo if your current one is destroyed - and I would die unnecessarily because I would waste a turn switching my science Exo to a different one, giving the enemy a free shot (and usually a free kill) at the Exo I switched to. You can blow up some doors, but others will have to be hacked in order to get to the loot containers within. Terminals also require hacking points, which is why a science Exo is essential to anyone wanting to maximize loot gained per mission. Many missions just require you to reach an endpoint mission marker, which is usually deep in the far end of the map. Each Exo can stealth past enemies for a short amount of movement spaces, but only the ninja Exo is able to attack while still staying in stealth mode. Some loot containers/terminals may restore your ammo, shields, hack points, or stealth points, however, some terminals may disable a random weapon or deplete all hacking points - such is the way of RNG-based games.

Overall, the game is a lot of fun if you like challenging grid/turn-based combat, and any rogue-like enthusiasts should give Bionic Dues a try.


DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews
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1 из 2 пользователей (50%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
1.9 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 23 февраля
Awesome soundtrack!
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39 из 44 пользователей (89%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
18.5 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 27 ноября, 2013
Замечательный пример игры с простой механикой, которая, благодаря рандомно генерируемому контенту приобретает практически безграничную реиграбельность, подбодренную достаточно заводным (для пошаговой-то игры!) геймплеем и уморительной озвучкой вражеских роботов.

Если Вы не большой любитель классических РПГ с огромным количеством различныч шмоток и статов, то экипировка ваших роботов может показаться слишком сложной и способна оттолкнуть от игры - но стоит лишь немного потерпеть и всё быстро встанет на свои места.

Очень большой совет - при первом запуске кампании игра предлагает Вам стандартный набор роботов для отряда - очень рекомендую принять это предложений и в первый раз играть именно таким набором, так как в нём проще всего разделить обязанности между роботами. Оставьте эксперименты для перепрохождений!)
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21 из 26 пользователей (81%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
23.6 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 21 марта, 2014
Клёвый roguelike пошаговый rpg, обёрнутый в кибернетическую упаковку на случай если вам надоели гоблины и эльфы. У игры есть два главных недостатка: от неё невозможно оторваться (Цивилизация-стайл) и чрезмерно обширная система инвентаря, которая, помноженная на четверых роботов, приводит к тому, что после каждой пятиминутной миссии двадцать минут перекладываешь штученьки со слота в слот, чтобы добиться /максимальной эффективности/.

Где-то к середине кампании начинаешь улавливать приоритетные направления развития обмундирования, и сложность миссий резко падает, так что, пожалуй, имеет смысл изначально переключиться на Hard (ну или не усердствовать с инвентарём, если вы в состоянии контролировать свой Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Да, и суперская музыка!
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14 из 21 пользователей (67%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
Пользователей, посчитавших этот обзор забавным: 1
20.6 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 29 января, 2014
Здесь должно было быть моё положительное ревю на Bionic Dues. Но поскольку Стим считает, что мои ревю слишком обширны, скажу только итоговую оценку: 7 из 10.

А ревю лежит в моём ЖЖ
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5 из 10 пользователей (50%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
1.3 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 14 февраля, 2014
Шикарная песня в главном меню, да и в остальном ост хорош!
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3 из 7 пользователей (43%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
11.3 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 10 октября, 2013
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ рогалик с двумя проблемами:
1) Перестрелок фактически нет: противник либо не доживает до возможности открыть огонь, либо ваншотает. Причем не всегда умышленно.
2) Традиционная Арсеновская традиция делать из игрока бога: тут и полторы сотни ачивок класса "пройди игру", тонны лута (который здесь на вес фантиков), боец с ЭПИЧЕСКИМИ роботами на вооружении. Слишком уж бросается в глаза.
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1 из 4 пользователей (25%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
42.4 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 15 декабря, 2014
Игра мне не понравилась , но музика мне понравилась то паставлю хорошо)
Был ли этот обзор полезен? Да Нет Забавный
3 из 9 пользователей (33%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
0.2 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 10 декабря, 2014
Был ли этот обзор полезен? Да Нет Забавный
1 из 5 пользователей (20%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
2.0 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 17 сентября, 2014
Игра супер.
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15 из 39 пользователей (38%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
5.1 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 8 марта, 2014
Очень плохой интеллект противника (даже на Эксперте), всеобщий рандом плохо сказывается на балансе. Безликость и плохая проработка, подкреплённые совершенно не подходящей музыкой и практически отсутствующим сюжетом, убивают весь интерес.
Дёшево и бездарно. Категорически не советую.
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122 из 132 пользователей (92%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
14.9 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 3 декабря, 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:



100% of current retail value of $9.99


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41 из 44 пользователей (93%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
143.7 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 11 ноября, 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.
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105 из 150 пользователей (70%) посчитали этот обзор полезным
Пользователей, посчитавших этот обзор забавным: 1
24.1 ч. в игре
Опубликовано: 22 июня, 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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