The growing indie scene has brought a lot of new 2D games to the market that not only bring in new players, but also specifically target older gamers. These revivals tap into the deep nostalgia for how games used to play back in the 8 and 16-bit days and allows for some of the older audience to once again experience the same sensations they had when playing classic genres, like the run-and-gun titles that populated arcades and consoles back in the ‘80s. Bite The Bullet definitely goes for that classic Contra feel, but it also adds in some current day functionality and gameplay mechanics, including some cool RPG features wrapped in a roguelite pixel art experience where you have to eat everything you can.
Our hero (Chewie or Chewella as you like) will face hordes of edible enemies that you can include in your diet. Eating your near-death enemies allows you to acquire new weapons, improve skills, and if you get enough protein in your belly you can even transform into a powerful form named “Zombro” to smash enemies in the way!
Some tutorials teach you the basic mechanics of the game, but luckily there’s nothing too complicated here. It all basically boils down to running, shooting, and eating. Obviously each stage has various challenges and a variety of enemies to dispose of. You’ll have eight scenarios to complete, but with over fifty levels you’ll be at it for quite some time. The developers have included a branching skill tree to customize your character and there are plenty of new weapons and special moves to discover. Suffice to say, this game is much longer than the 8-bit games its based off of.
The main mechanic of eating the enemies is fundamental to recovering life as well as obtaining new powers and genetic materials. But, you have to be careful because you are what you eat! To 100% a level you’ll need to eat a balanced diet so you don’t get too fat or too bulky to jump to various areas of the stage. This innovative gameplay mechanic sets it apart from the traditional run-and-gun action games, so given that you can eat almost anything in the game, you’ll want to control the voracious hunger that your hero has.
The game lets you choose between four different classes of characters (Carnivore, Herbivore, Omnivore, and Robovore – which means you eat metal) that have their own unique abilities and perks. Eating also leads you to leveling up and improving your character in a deep and branching ability tree. Sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming with so much nutritional information and different types of edible enemies being thrown at you that it can be difficult deciding upfront if is better to kill or eat some of them. Part of the appeal is learning how to get the best calories and type of food to develop your character and get the most out of him. Playing with different classes allows you to experience the levels a second or third time, giving the game more replayability. If you want the get the most of Bite The Bullet, I highly recommended tagging in a friend and playing two player couch co-op to try and save the world by eating it.
Regarding the music, the choice to pay homage to the DOOM classics by utilizing metal and high chords in a pixel art shooting game is perfect. The soundtrack motivates you to continue taking down enemies by piecemeal with the weapons that you have at our disposal, or even with your own hands if you want to smash some of these post apocalyptical zombies/robots/food enemies into the ground.
Although fun, Bite The Bullet can be a bit too complicated for its own good. These types of games are usually straightforward and you just jump in and go. There’s a lot of nuance here, having to learn which enemies to eat, and which to destroy. The graphics look retro, but at the same time don’t look overly inspired. There’s a lot of neon colors, but small character sprites really stand out as a missed opportunity. That being said, fans of this genre should have fun with a friend and the game is unique enough to stand out from the crowd.
Bite The Bullet Review
- Graphics - 6.5/106.5/10
- Sound - 6.5/106.5/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7.5/107.5/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Bite The Bullet is a fun game to play and offers some new dynamics to the classic run-and-gun genre. It introduces some new features, such as eating enemies, walls, etc., to level up and unlock skills. Couch co-op is where it’s at if you’re in the mood for a unique take on Contra.
Pancho is a video game & geek culture enthusiast, podcaster, and old school gamer ready to go back to the ’90s and get stuck there forever!