Biology Battle Review
Biology Battle box art
System: X360 (XBLC) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Novaleaf Game Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: N/A 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 22, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: N/A 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Survival mode is the most basic: It's just the regular game, except you pick Life or Death Mode at the start, and instead of cooperating with your friends, you compete to kill the most enemies.

Biology Battle screenshot

Turrets adds a strategic twist. You have several turrets to deploy around the screen, and they fire fairly rapidly and accurately at your opponents. The goals are to set up the turrets to destroy your opponents, to shoot your opponents' turrets until they explode, and, well, to not die.

In Wire Cycle, you have a long tail that follows your ship, and the goal is to get your friends to run into it before you run into theirs (in this mode, your ship moves forward automatically, so you can't just stay in one place). Lasso is similar, but with creatures as well as the other players' ships on the screen.

Froghop takes cues from Geometry Wars 2's King mode, in that you move from safety zone to safety zone. However, the zones in Froghop stay put, and you get points based on how many "laps" you complete between them.

In Worms, the only mode in which you can't choose between Life and Death modes, there are a lot of (of course) worms crawling around the screen, and you rack up points by traveling close to them without touching them. Here, the game's physics really come into play, because you can ram your opponents to knock them into worms.

Unfortunately, the competitive modes aren't playable online, and there's no way to play them against an A.I. opponent. These are features the developers might want to add in the future (or a sequel), presuming they're even possible within the limitations of the Community system (size probably shouldn't be an issue, as Battle takes up only 51 MB of the 150 MB cap).

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When it comes to presentation, Biology Battle is impressive coming from an independent studio. The graphics look nice, especially when they depict big, glowing enemies. The sound effects are rather standard for the genre, but they get the job done. We didn't notice any technical glitches at all, which reflects well upon either the developers, the Community's review process, or both. Perhaps the only problem is the music; there's a techno number that sounds ripped right out of Geometry Wars, and a few rock tracks that don't really fit the game's science-fiction theme.

All considered, Biology Battle is a terrific example of what the Xbox Live Community can accomplish. A small, foreign company has put its best foot forward and offered consumers some fresh twists on an old-but-resurgent genre, packing it all together in a slick, polished presentation.

Yes, it's missing some features we'd expect from a full-out Xbox Live Arcade release, and it's especially frustrating that the best modes aren't available to single players. Sure, it owes some major debts to Geometry Wars. But there's a ton of innovation here, and arcade-shooter fans would be well-advised to give it a download. The developers and Community should be proud.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
Not quite up to the bar Geometry Wars and its sequel set, but this is a very good-looking game.
5.0
Control
Shares Geometry Wars' intuitive, responsive setup.
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This is one area where the game could have used a bigger departure from the Geometry Wars formula, and the only tracks that do so are modern-rock ones that don't really fit the game's mood. Sound effects are fine, though.
3.9
Play Value
Addictive, if often derivative, gameplay with some innovative competitive multiplayer modes.
3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The only Xbox Live Community game with leaderboards. Xbox Live Gold members can compare scores with players around the world.
  • Local co-op. Play cooperatively with your friends and family. Unique "Asynchronous Multiplayer" difficulty system allows players of any skill level to play together, be challenged, and have fun.
  • Eleven versus modes. Play games like Worms, Frog Hop, Wire Cycle, or Turrets.
  • Tournament Mode. Play the Versus games as a tournament, with up to five rounds.
  • Trophies. Try to accomplish challenges that range in difficulty from easy to very, very hard.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Biology Battle screenshot - click to enlarge Biology Battle screenshot - click to enlarge Biology Battle screenshot - click to enlarge Biology Battle screenshot - click to enlarge

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