For most people Friday night is an opportunity to go out, enjoy time with friends and family, or maybe have a relaxing time at home. In my case, I spent the night trying to kill off Gizmodo and deciding whether to infect Serrels with tuberculosis or Parkinson’s.
That’s more or less the equation you’ll be faced with in Bio Inc. Redemption. It’s billed as a “biomedical simulator”, but what you really need to know is that it’s basically Plague Inc where the infection is limited to a single patient, rather than the entire planet. And much like Plague Inc, you’ll be responsible for mutating the infection to the other patient’s organs and systems.
Available in Early Access for $17.44, Bio Inc Redemption has two singleplayer campaigns: one where you try to kill the patient, and a second where you try to save them. The latter is actually the hardest, but given that killing patients is often more fun than saving them, that’s what I started with.
The general principle for the death campaign is pretty straightforward. You collect a bunch of bio-points from the various parts of the body by mousing over and holding down left-click. Those points can then be invested directly into diseases and symptoms, like bird flu, incontinence, hypertension and so on. Alternatively, you can spend resources on making your patient afraid of the doctor (giving you more time to make them sicker) or giving them risk factors like obesity and alcoholism.
Risk factors make certain systems more susceptible to diseases, which increases the rate at which those systems will eventually collapse. If you’re trying to save the patient, you’ll only get so long before the patient either runs to the doctor out of concern or for their annual check-up. If things get dire enough, they’ll be sent to the emergency ward, which speeds up treatment, diagnosis time and makes treatments cheaper for the doctor (or AI).
Every disease you infect the poor patient with will spawn a host of symptoms, which the doctor then has to whittle down with a series of tests:
Once a disease is successfully diagnosed, it then has to be treated, usually with a choice: you can either pick a cheaper treatment that may be less effective and efficient, or something that costs more and treats the symptoms faster.
And that’s primarily the difference between playing as the doctor or the psychopath: discovering which diseases are the root cause of your patient’s imminent death, or infecting the poor bugger on the operating table with enough overlapping diseases that the ER wastes enough time for the patient’s systems to collapse.
Based off that description, you’d think that the Death campaign would be the hardest, but it’s not. Because doctors have to identify diseases first through diagnostic tests, you often end up wasting time finding a symptoms root cause. You can run multiple tests and treatments at once, but nothing comes for free, and losing time in this game is a death sentence. You can also equip booster skills before a level starts to narrow down the number of symptoms, or randomly start with some pre-evolved lifestyles (like a penchant for yoga) that will help regenerate systems after a period of time.
As it stands, Bio Inc. Redemption has 18 stages across the Life and Death campaigns, and it’s morbidly entertaining. It’s not something you’ll drop 40 or 50 hours into, but it’s weirdly fun to think about whether skin cancer or lupus is a more effective way to kill off your colleagues. It’s also a mite depressing if you’re the kind of person who likes to unwind occasionally with a drink, as the game inadvertently gives you real-life advice on what constitutes regular exercise, moderate drinking, and all the things you should be doing for your well-being in real life (but probably aren’t).
Bio Inc. Redemption is available on Steam now for $17.44. The developers are aiming to patch in multiplayer, gender specific levels and diseases, harder levels and more localisation options. It’s good fun right now though, especially if you enjoyed Plague Inc.