One of the most fun parts of gaming is the ability to play with your friends and just go nuts on something. Whether it’s a fighting game, a racing game, a multiplayer shooter, or something else entirely, it’s just fun to hook up with friends and have some fun. It was no doubt with this intent that Genetic Disaster was created, as the game thrives on being a co-op twin-stick shooter that has some very unique twists up its sleeve.
In the game, you play as one of four characters, ones who have been genetically created by an evil scientist. Desperate to leave, you must make your way through his mansion in order to both get out, and get your revenge. it’s super simple but given the gameplay, you honestly don’t need much of a story to go with it. The characters are Panic, Bunker, Sneaky, and Devil. They may sound generic, but their names hold meaning in the abilities that they have, as well as their stats in certain areas.
For example, Bunker is the tank, and thus has one more heart in his health which can be a boon. Sneaky on the other hand can teleport, making him a threat from all angles at times. And so on and so forth. You’ll need as much help as you can as you advance through the game.
Which brings us to the levels. One the best things about Genetic Disaster is that the game’s levels are all procedurally generated. That makes a huge difference in the game, as you can’t “remember” what and where you need to go, and when enemies are going to pop up. You’ll have to adapt to each unique situation on its own, and at times that’s not easy. The world can be a threat just as much as the monsters themselves. In one case, I was advancing through the first level with no major “hazards” outside of enemies. But then, in level 2, it started to rain icicle shards. Then, after I died and started over, the icicles came back!
Oh, that’s the other Roguelike element here, for when you die, you stay dead, and when your whole party is dead? You start over. it’s a bit frustrating at times, but because of the procedurally generated levels, it takes the sting away. While the levels change, the enemies technically don’t. They do grow in number and power and skills the further you advance though. What starts out as “standard” enemies quickly go into ones with homing missiles, barrage attacks and more. Again, Genetic Disaster will make you adapt to what’s happening all around you.
But, that doesn’t just go for enemies, for the team at Team 8 decided to make this game one where Friendly Fire isn’t just on, it’ll happen a lot. Because of the game, enemies can drop out of nowhere, and you’ll need to dodge and weave in order to stay alive long enough to get the enemies firing at you, but…that can lead to Friendly Fire. It’s an interesting mechanic to leave in, but the point here is to poke fun at friends because they killed you, it hopefully won’t end in rage…too often.
Now, just because it’s a co-op game doesn’t mean you need to play with 4 people, you can play with 3, or 2, or even by yourself, which I partook in, the game states it adjusts certain things based on how many people are playing, it’s honestly hard to tell at times though. I will say that if you play alone, you might be in for the toughest challenge of all. As you’ll have no one but yourself to rely on.
Well…that and the vast arsenal of weapons that Genetic Disaster gives you. And let me tell you, there are some fun weapons here. There are standard ones of course, pistols, shotguns, even a grenade launcher! But, there are also more unique ones, like guns that shoot ice, or boomerangs, or even kunai! Even then, it’s just scratching the surface. Different guns naturally have different damage effects, and so you’ll have to be mindful of your weapons as you go up against different foes. One thing I appreciated was at the start of the game, you’re offered a choice of two weapons to start off with. It’s nice to have options right off the bat.
Plus, as you advance through each level, you can upgrade your characters with certain abilities, as well as purchase new weapons to use if you reach certain areas.
All that being said, there are some things that hold the game back. First off, even though the game has launched, the team have noted that a bug is preventing them from launching the online aspects of the title. You can still invite friends for co-op, but for random group pairings you’ll have to wait.
Second, though I did the Roguelike elements, it still seems weighted towards death rather than advancement. It took me three playthroughs to find out that there were health potions in the game that could heal me. Granted, I wouldn’t want those appearing EVERYWHERE, but there were times I was overloaded with ammo pick up items when I could’ve really used an extra heart.
Which is another odd thing, the game asks you to “pick up” items of all sorts, even assigning a button to pick up the items. While I get this for weapons, it’s odd that I have to do it for ammo and health. It would’ve been a lot easier to just get them to activate upon touching them.
Finally, some abilities and acquired abilities take a while to get used to, or don’t work as advertised. There’s one called “Bloodsucker” where you have a chance to get health for killing enemies. Yet I went through an entire level without getting a single heart from the ability.
All in all, Genetic Disaster is a nice co-op title with some really cool variety. The graphics look good, as this is a true hand-painted title, and it really adds flair to everything. Add that to the tight gameplay, the random levels, and more, and you got a title you’ll be playing with friends for a while.