Steam Next Fest is right around the corner, and gaming companies are getting the jump start on it a little early. The first one that came across my desk was a metroidvania called BioGun. Brought to our attention by Ravenage Games, BioGun has the whole world ending virus premise, but takes a turn when the virus only affects all dogs, and YOU are the vaccine. The game calls this a pet-demic.
The Twin Stick shooter puts you in the game as a pig named Bek, and Bek has a mission. To travel through your dog, and aid its immune system to fight and destroy the Dooper Virus, before it kills another dog. The game starts you off with a very quick and small tutorial. Shows you that Bek can shoot in all 8 directions. It also tells you that you have a dodge, or slide, with the RB button. Jumping, platforming, and using everything at your disposal is key here. You know what this is.
Luckily for you, there are organs, or "cities" within your dog, with white and red blood cells helping you along the way. It's pretty clever once you get used to it. Eventually you start finding weapon and equipment upgrades, such as a better (or worse) gun, and the ability to hover. You can eventually buy chips (perks) with in game currency, and equip them one at a time. As with any game of this genre, places you couldn't get before, you are able to navigate through with the help of these new abilities. You start off with three hit points, and those can be depleted fast if you're trying to run through the game.
in the upper left hand corner, where your hit points are, is a syringe. That syringe fills up with energy whenever you hit and defeat enemies. You can then drain that syringe, when you meet the threshold, to refill your HP at anytime. You cannot do anything else while you're refilling, and you will do this often. This syringe also is used to power any secondary weapon, such as a long range gun. There are more abilities tied into this, but I'll let you explore that for yourself.
Everything from stage hazards, to random dormant looking enemies can and will kill you. In addition, you have the opportunity to fight and defeat three to four bosses. The game wants you to think there are mid level bosses, but they all prove difficult if you're not prepared properly. And I don't mean learn the patterns, or have the right weapon equipped. I mean make sure you pay very close attention to the erratic behavior that is these bosses. They're not fair.
Checkpoints are few and far between in the demo. They refill your life, and allow you to save. They also allow you to equip the aforementioned chips, and you can only do that here. Eventually they become fast travel spots, so instead of continuously referring to your map, (you will), you can go back to the parts you couldn't access before with the click of a button. This made me feel so much better once this was discovered, because trekking back in a Metroidvania game is a terrible no good thing. The mini map in the upper right hand corner is clutch. You can toggle it off, if you're a psycho.
Again, if you want to try the demo, it is available right now on Steam, for the free. If you think you want to wait until it's release date, there is none at the moment. There's more to this game than what is written above, but again, you should give it a shot if metroidvanias is your jam. The premise is different, and yes, the story is a little corny, but it's self aware, and told to you in the opening monologue. Go be a vaccine. It's a Pig-Heal-Dog world.