BIOMORPH
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Biomorph is a dark Metroidvania game with beautiful 2D hand-drawn visuals and animations. Playing as an amnesiac character named Harlo, players must explore a massive interconnected world to recover their memories, upgrade their arsenal, and unlock new biomorphs. These biomorphs, which involve killing enemies to turn into them, is one of the most unique elements in the game, but doesn’t feature as prominently as we expected. Instead, access to new areas mostly depends on unlocking traditional Metroidvania-style skills and abilities. Having said that, the game is still very entertaining, and its fascinating world is a joy to explore.

Gameplay: Biomorph features all the traditional Metroidvania elements along with the ability to morph into fallen enemies and use their abilities to traverse the game world.

Graphics: The 2D sprites and backgrounds look great, and there are plenty of different biomes to explore.

Sound: The Biomorph soundtrack is good, and the game also has decent sound effects

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BIOMORPH

Developer: Lucid Dreams Studio | Publisher: Lucid Dreams Studio | Release Date: 2024 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Metroidvania | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Biomorph opens with your character, Harlo, freed from stasis by violent tremors hitting the strange facility where you were held. In the process, Harlo spots another member of their species still caught in stasis but is urged to escape by Eny and Zeki. The latter is a pair of talking prosthetics that Harlo appears to be wielding instead of arms and hands. If these were not strange enough, Harlo also discovers that they have the ability to morph into the creatures they kill and use their abilities. Unfortunately, this is all that Harlo knows, as the rest of their memory appears to be blank. After making their way through the facility, which serves as a tutorial area, Harlo ends up getting ejected into the outside world, where the real adventure begins.

Biomorph is a dark Metroidvania game that answers the question of what would happen if you crossed Hollow Knight with Kirby. Harlo is a typical Metroidvania protagonist who starts with very few skills and abilities, but this changes as players uncover more of the game world. The ability to morph into fallen foes is one of the game’s selling points, but thanks to Eny and Zeki, Harlo can also find chips to unlock new skills and combat abilities. The attack modules are a cool touch, as players can customize Harlo to their liking. Players start with The Bruisers, which transform Eny and Zeki into hard-hitting knuckles to perform a melee attack, but plenty of other options soon become available. For example, players who prefer ranged attacks can opt for The Execution, which fires ferrox bullets at enemies, or the Ferrox Spector, to launch bouncing grenades. Unfortunately, most of the more powerful attacks have limited charges and must be recharged at the save spots. Players can only have three “Chips” equipped at a time, and there are fifteen in total to find, which means there are plenty of ways to play. More cautious players can even choose options such as the Little Helper, which summons a flying assistant that fires bullets at enemies, or the Ferrox Field, which creates a shield around players.

In addition to the chips, players can also unlock “mementos” for passive abilities. Each memento takes up a certain number of “slots,” with the more powerful ones taking up more space. Mementos are versatile and range from ones that can inflict damage on enemies that hurt Harlo to increasing the number of charges for chips. Like the chips, mementos can only be swapped at save spots called S.A.F.E Stations. Both chips and mementos can be upgraded with resources found while exploring, but players will also have to spend the currency earned by defeating monsters called plaques. Plaques are the only things players drop if they are defeated, but they will respawn at the nearest S.A.F.E Station and can return to the site of their death to retrieve their plaques. Of course, being careless and dying before reaching the plaques means they are gone for good. Players can find a memento that prevents their plaques from dropping if they die, but the developers also added this option as an accessibility feature in an update.

Harlo’s quest starts as a rescue mission, but after talking to some locals in the hub town of Blightmoor, players also learn more about the world’s fate and that of its inhabitants. Players will return to Blightmoor throughout the game as it is home to the merchants who sell new chips and offer upgrades. However, players are also responsible for finding the blueprints that add new buildings to town or upgrade the existing ones. There’s even an upgrade for building Harlo, a home in town, which can be spruced up by purchasing decorations. Some NPCs in town also provide Harlo with side missions to accomplish. These range from finding the missing scargatos, which are alien cats, for the resident cat lady to searching for the wandering musician who ends up in the unlikeliest locations. None of the side quests are vital to completing the game, but they incentivize players to explore the massive map fully.

Biomorph features different biomes, each with its own unique look and enemies. For example, the Badlands look like something out of the Wild West, while the Sentinel Complex is a massive factory filled with conveyor belts. Each biome is further split into rooms, which makes exploration a little easier. One of the things we love about Biomorph is that it has a mini-map visible onscreen at all times, and each room completely cleared is marked with a golden outline. This is absolutely invaluable for thorough exploration and helped a lot in our quest to get 100% of the achievements. Some rooms are massive, though, with a few almost as large as other biomes. Fortunately, players can place pins on the map and color code them to help remember sections that might be inaccessible until they get new abilities.

We expected the titular biomorphs to play a much more significant role in the game, but they are mostly only needed in the biomes they are found. Killing a creature allows players to absorb their corpses and turn into them, complete with their abilities. Initially, this can only be done using the enemy’s corpse, but once players absorb enough of the same creature, it is added to their biomorph list and can be turned into at any time. However, there are a few limitations to prevent players from abusing this feature. First, only each unique kill counts, so players can’t farm the same creature to add it to their biomorph list quicker. This is quite important as after a creature is added to the biomorph list, players can still kill and absorb others of its kind to upgrade the existing one. Watch out, though, as it not only makes your biomorph stronger but will also upgrade the enemy ones. Secondly, players only have three slots for biomorph, which can only be changed at the S.A.F.E. Stations. Ordinarily, this isn’t an issue, as creatures are mostly only useful in the areas where they are found. However, there are a few instances where we randomly encountered barriers that are only passable by certain biomorphs in completely different biomes. This meant marking the spot, returning to the S.A.F.E. Station, equipping the correct biomorph, and then trekking back to the marked spot to access whatever it was hiding. Thankfully, the developers added the ability to warp back to a S.A.F.E. Station at any time in an update, which cuts down on some of the hassles. The biomorphs have abilities like smashing through specific walls, jumping on spikes, flying for a limited time, or grappling from wall hooks. Still, only a few are really useful on a regular basis. Our favorites are the ghostly Ombre Blanche, which has a triple jump ability, and the Oddwings, which can fly for a limited time.

Visually, Biomorph is a great-looking game with detailed and unique hand-drawn 2D sprites and backgrounds. The art style is definitely reminiscent of Hollow Knight, but the artists at Lucid Dreams Studio did a good job creating the setting and character designs. Each area is very different, which keeps the exploration fun, and the backgrounds are filled with enough detail to give them some depth despite being 2D. Some puzzles also incorporate background details, such as searching for number combinations to access certain hidden areas. The character animations are also really good, with our favorite being the one for Harlo using S.A.F.E Stations to teleport. In addition, the game even has a few animated cutscenes of important story moments, which are really well done.

Players can expect to spend quite a few hours exploring everything Biomorph has to offer, so thankfully, the soundtrack is good enough to never become repetitive. Each biome has its own music, and a few of these are pretty catchy. Sound effects are decent, too, but the game does not feature any speech. We played Biomorph using a controller and found the controls very responsive. In addition to attacking, Harlo can perform a dash move, which is essential for avoiding damage. Enemies tend to telegraph their attacks, and bosses have easy-to-spot patterns, but it doesn’t take much to kill Harlo. Players have access to a healing ability, but it takes a while to activate and has limited charges. Along with contact damage, Harlo gets knocked back when taking damage, which is not great when navigating some trickier sections. Any contact with spikey hazards costs players’ health and resets them back to the last solid ground they touched. This is better than instant death, but traversing some sections where enemies can knock players into spikes is a bit annoying. Although we found the game’s challenge to be relatively mild compared to other Metroidvania titles, the developers have added some accessibility options in an update to help out players who were struggling. These include increasing the damage inflicted by players and decreasing the damage from enemies.

All in all, we really enjoyed our time with Biomorph, and the game kept our interest right until the end. While there’s no New Game+ mode, the game has three different endings, one of which is the “true” ending that requires more effort and exploration. The ability to morph into enemies is a neat touch. However, Biomorph still plays more like a traditional Metroidvania with progression locked behind abilities such as traveling along electrical wires, gliding on fan currents, swimming, and wall jumping. This might disappoint players expecting the different biomorphs to play a more significant role in progression. Nevertheless, we always had something different to see and do in Biomorph, and even clearing every room in the game to get all the achievements remained enjoyable.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64 bit
  • Processor: x64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX10, DX11, DX12 capable 4GB
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 16:9 recommended
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64 bit
  • Processor: x64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX10, DX11, DX12 capable 4GB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 16:9 recommended

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