Despite an occasionally anxious nature, I’m hardly a hypochondriac; in fact, I’m more likely to avoid a reason to go the doctor than worry over every tiny pain or glitch in the system. That said, I wouldn’t mind the premise of Bacto ($1.00) taking place in my body, doing the grunt work of a cleanup and battling infections for me. Of course, I’d have to be sick for this, and… you know what, let’s not talk about that.

Bacto - Screen

Bacto is an Eat-Em-Up, starring a white blood cell1 on perpetual night watch, rooting out infections and killing off harmful bacteria. Lucky for him… er… it, that noble work takes the form of a very colorful game, complete with global high scores, powerups, and some ugly-looking beasties that are no doubt hell-bent on wrecking whatever body they inhabit. Levels task you with eliminating a preset number of enemies, with subsequent stages adding new, bigger bacteria, and roaming, impervious antibiotics you must avoid.

Said white blood cell attacks those enemies by expanding outward, swallowing and destroying foes within its reach. Oddly, those same enemies are deadly to the touch, depleting your life bar quickly should you make contact2. To counteract that serious deficiency, there are a few powerups to take advantage of. These include a shield item that allows you to plow through incoming threats without taking damage for a short time, and a ‘spread shot’ weapon type that will clear out some of the surrounding enemies, bailing you out of a potentially inescapable position.

Bacto - Screen2

Of course, you’ll have to work at it to get yourself boxed in; stages scroll endlessly in all directions, giving you plenty of space to work with. You can bank those powerups, too, opening up some strategic opportunities during the later, more crowded rounds. The problem is, it’s all just old hat. And a little boring.

You see, despite the generally bright visuals and simple setup, there’s nothing going on in Bacto that you haven’t seen done in other pseudo-shooters. Even the idea of fighting infections inside the body isn’t new, and the slight adjustments and modifiers here and there don’t do enough to make Bacto interesting over the long term. So there’s no rush in getting sick. Healthy is more fun.

  1. Possibly called ‘Bacto’, maybe? Which is kind of ironic? 
  2. It’s odd, but think of it like a bullet-hell shooter. You have to make contact with the bacteria to kill it, but so long as you are in your attack animation, and the enemy doesn’t touch the middle core of the cell, you seem to be okay. 

6 thoughts on “REVIEW: Bacto”

    1. Thanks for the link, sir. Always good to hear about ID, especially when it’s good news. I’m trying to remember an article from a few months back (I forget where it was featured, too), one that said MS was backtracking on its original ‘Every XbOne is a Dev Kit’ line, as well as ID eventually being open to everyone. Sounds like they want to help, but still no definitive answer one way or the other. These things take time, though, so maybe they’ll have some more announcements as the year goes on and / or all the big shows come up.

  1. i tried both “Bacto” and “you’re all diseased” recently. The last one is really more difficult and finally interesting. Good review as usual !

    1. Thank you, sir. I must admit I missed You’re All Diseased!, but after watching a demo of it, it does look pretty interesting. Much more so than Bacto turned out to be.

  2. I think I enjoyed this more than you Tim. It didn’t feel same-o to me at all but you play more games then me (hard to believe that someone actually does) I really enjoy this game but haven’t got back to it but will eventually.

    1. I know, and given XBLIG’s most recent troubles (not being able to download new releases OR view the screenshots online), I was looking forward to the game based on your recommendation once I could finally download it.

      For me, this is just another one of those times where nothing is actually wrong with the game, no busted controls or anything like that… it’s just not very fun or engaging. Things naturally get more hectic the longer you play, but there was never a single moment playing it that I was like ‘Well, that’s a cool bit’, or ‘Hey, that’s clever’. Maybe it’s fatigue after playing as many shooter-types as I have, but there’s no distinguishing traits to it.

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