LifeisXbox’s B.I.O.T.A. review | Are you into metroidvanias? I do like them quite a bit, but I haven’t played a whole lot of them yet. A few are on my list and I couldn’t finish Hollow Knight due to difficulty reasons. What a great surprise it was to see that LifeisXbox was covering this little game called B.I.O.T.A. My time to shine! B.I.O.T.A. is a 2D metroidvania action-platformer where you play as mercenaries that were sent to a mining colony that was infected by a mysterious plague to both investigate it and save a scientist. B.I.O.T.A. is developed by Small Bros and published by Retrovibe.

ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.

What we Liked!

  • Easy to Play | It’s pretty easy to learn how to play B.I.O.T.A., I’m going to talk about both the keyboard and Xbox One controller layouts, in this order. You can move with both WSAD and the arrow keys / left analog stick and the D-pad, jump with the space bar / A button, shoot with N / X button, use your skill/special attack with B on both the keyboard and the controller, check inventory and map with M / Y button, swap your skill/special attack with V / Right Bumper, save with X / View button and pause with Esc / Menu button. I preferred playing with a controller, but it’s a matter of taste.
  • Variety | There’s a lot of content in B.I.O.T.A.. There are four characters available initially and four more to be unlocked, each with their weapon, skill, and stats. The one I’ve used the most throughout the game was Flynt, who’s a sniper. On top of that, there are two endings to the story and there are levels where you control either a submarine, a mech, or a starship. As if that wasn’t enough variety already, there’s a pretty good variation of enemies and bosses as well as an arcade mode and upgrades you can buy for your characters.
  • Great Simplistic Visuals | B.I.O.T.A.’s visuals are pretty nice to look at. The whole game is inspired by 8-bit games, and this is pretty clear from the moment you start playing. There are an astonishing fifty-four 4-color palettes to choose from. You start with twenty-four of them and can change them at any time through the pause menu. My favorite was the Orion palette which you can see in the last image of this review.
  • Retro Soundtrack | This isn’t going to surprise anyone but just like almost everything else in B.I.O.T.A., the soundtrack is inspired by games from the 90s. It sounds exactly like you’d expect from a retro game, and that’s absolutely fine since it’s pretty good. Each zone and boss has its own song, making it pretty hard to get tired of listening to any song in the game. All I’ve said about B.I.O.T.A.’s soundtrack applies to sound effects as well, they all fit their purpose and are nice to listen to.
  • Save Almost Anywhere | There’s one particular thing that B.I.O.T.A. has that the games it’s inspired by don’t, and that is being able to save at almost any time while playing. If you’ve defeated all enemies from a room and there are no moving obstacles around, as I’ve already mentioned before, you can save by pressing X on your keyboard and the View button on an Xbox One controller.
  • Cheat Codes | It’s getting rare to find games that provide cheat codes for their players, so even though I didn’t use them, if you get stuck in a boss fight, want to unlock almost everything, or simply want to get through everything easily, I’ll tell you what they do and how to activate them here, since the devs were kind enough to provide us with them. Money at max: D+O+L (doesn’t upgrade max money), Life at 10000000: L+I+F, Refill ammo for all default special weapons: R+E+F, Unlock all special weapons (and refill special weapons ammo): W+E+P, Unlock Unit-34: D+R+O, Unlock Jade: J+A+D, Unlock Tetsuo: W+L+D, Unlock Alex: H+I+T.

Mixed Feelings

  • Nothing | There’s nothing about the game that fits in this category in my opinion.

What we Disliked

  • I’m Lost | Even though there’s a map showing all rooms including elevators, doors, or something to interact with, I still managed to get lost after playing for about four hours. I’ve completed 77% of the game but unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it. I wasn’t able to find where I’ve left an airtight container (which increases the max money you can carry), and I couldn’t buy the item I needed to progress because of this. This wouldn’t be a problem if the devs implemented a separate menu for each zone, letting the player know where they’ve missed something, take this as a suggestion, Small Bros devs.

How long to beat the story | 4+ hours
How long to achieve 100% achievements | 4+ hours


B.I.O.T.A. is a pretty good Metroidvania action-platformer that has the spirit of the 90s all over it, with the convenience of being able to save at almost any time. If you’re into retro games, this is a must-play.

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