Genetic Disaster Review: A Co-op Experience Gone Wild
Team8 Studio fully released their very first game, Genetic Disaster, on December 18 of last year. Sadly, the game was flooded with bugs, including some game-breaking ones. However, within 30 days, Team8 Studio rolled out several patches solving almost every major problem and all game-breaking bugs, so now it’s finally time to check it out!
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When playing Genetic Disaster, it becomes very clear that a story is not the main focus of this game; in fact, the only information I could get on the story was from the official Steam page. The four playable characters are trying to escape a so-called “mad mansion” over the course of 10 randomly generated levels that significantly increase in difficulty. When you die in the game, you're also shown a picture of an evil-looking scientist, who could possibly be the person who runs the mansion. Other story bits might be added later since the developers are actively updating the game, but for now, that’s all we know.
Genetic Disaster is an isometric, co-op, roguelike shooter (played with either a controller or keyboard-and-mouse) that mainly focuses on having a great co-op experience and offering tons of replayability. Because of the lack of story, Team8 Studio was able to focus all their resources and time on the gameplay and art aspects of the game. One of Genetic Disaster's main selling points is its variety of gameplay. The game has four unique playable characters with different abilities that determine the way you play. Bunker can generate a shield to protect him and his allies, while Panic can quickly stun enemies around him and run away afterward. There are over 65 unique weapons, many of which can be found through secret chests and bosses, all with different behaviors, ranging from standard submachine guns and shotguns to a gun that shoots corrosive bubbles or a fully automatic boomerang launcher.
The variety in its gameplay is definitely a big deal for Genetic Disaster, and the game has a really cool and unique mechanic that changes the rules of the game itself. At the top-right of the screen, away from all other elements of the UI, the game displays a timer that switches between special “rules.” These rules can include things like bullets bouncing off walls, friendly fire turning on, or all enemies dropping bombs when they die. You will never know what rule is going to come next, so you always need to pay attention to the timer; if you don’t, it might cost you your life. This constant danger of a rule suddenly changing can create some very tense moments, really upping the gameplay.
To get every single bit of enjoyment out of Genetic Disaster, it's highly recommended to play co-op with one or more friends. Playing co-op will completely change the game by raising the difficulty and significantly increasing the combinations of weapons and skills you can have, giving the game even more variety. This large number of variables makes every shot you give at Genetic Disaster a new experience and a whole lot of fun. All these mechanics give the game a big boost in replay value, making this a perfect game you can come back to all the time.
Team8 Studio did a tremendous job on the art. It is beautifully hand-drawn in an art style that perfectly matches the chaos and craziness of the game itself; all the assets blend together perfectly, making this game a pleasure to look at while playing. Genetic Disaster features some really impressive particle effects, especially for a hand-drawn art style, that do a great job of depicting the impact of shooting a gun or making something explode. It's also very cool to see how a character's design alone, without any backstory, can reveal some of a character's distinctive quirks. The animations in Genetic Disaster are sometimes somewhat interesting. The character models only actually move their legs; the rest of the animation is done by making the sprite bounce up and down and stretch a bit. This might not be the way to animate, but it sure is creative, and it actually has charm. All in all, Genetic Disaster looks like a completed and high-quality game, and the sometimes weird animation doesn't take away from that.
With all that said, Genetic Disaster is a really cool co-op experience that you can sink a ton of hours into if it clicks. The varied gameplay gives you countless ways to play the game, and the awesome art style wraps it all up into one nice package. It's something Team8 Studio can be proud of.