Review: Bite the Bullet
Making games is hard! I’ve been playing videogames for nearly 40 years, and I often get the feeling of déjà vu. Ideas get recycled, things get chewed up and spit back out which will hopefully resonate with a new audience. My point being, it must be tough for developers to come up with truly innovative and interesting ideas. Bite the Bullet from Mega Cat Studios hopes to buck the trend and deliver a delicious game for people to get their teeth into. I warn you now, this won’t be the last of the eating puns!
I’ve talked a lot about originality, but at its core, Bite the Bullet is a run and gun shooter similar to Contra or Metal Slug. You control mercenaries Chewie or Chewella as they battle their way through levels, fighting genetically modified mutations called “Ghouls”. The story is set in the future where there has been a global food shortage. As a way to tackle the food crisis, humans were fitted with implants meaning they could eat anything, but the side-effects meant they mutated into the mindless ghouls you now face.
At the start of the game you are armed with a bog-standard machine gun, and there are other weapons available including a shotgun. These can be upgraded, but to be honest firing the weapons didn’t feel as good as I would have expected from this type of game, and I didn’t get a lot of feedback from hitting the enemies.
As well as shooting, you have a shield, dash move, and can cling to walls when you jump. The jumping feels a bit floaty, and sometimes when I tried to pull off seemingly simple jumps, I ended up missing the platform and hitting some spikes. As you can imagine it was quite annoying, especially when you are being shot at by flying turrets and ghouls. There are times where you can temporarily turn into an indestructible monster, which helps when you start to get overwhelmed by baddies.
As I mentioned earlier, the big hook with Bite the Bullet is being able to eat enemies. Once you have weakened them, you can press a button and munch on their swaying body. This revitalises your health but be wary of eating everything in sight. Some “food” helps build muscle, but slows you down, whereas other items speed up your metabolism meaning your energy drains quicker. It’s a fine balancing act, but because the game is quite frantic, I didn’t seem to notice much difference with what I ate, except when it made me throw up. Yes, eating something bad means you blow chunks of green vomit everywhere! You can upgrade your character, but again, I didn’t notice much benefit when I did this.
Presentation wise, Bite the Bullet looks very appetising and the graphics and style have a nice 16-bit retro look. There is a heavy metal soundtrack playing in the background which sounds great, but it wears thin after a while. I like rock music, but a bit of variety would have been a welcome change of pace.
Another thing to note is I was playing on a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. The screen does get quite busy, so it can be hard to keep up with everything. The other major problem is the text when you find hints or items, as it is so small, I could barely read it.
I really wanted to enjoy Bite the Bullet more than I did. It has all the ingredients I like such as retro graphics and shoot-em up gameplay, but the core mechanics aren’t as polished as I would have liked. Although I appreciate the idea of eating your enemies, once you get over the initial novelty it becomes a bit dull. Bite the Bullet could have been a tasty little morsel, but in the end, it feels a little undercooked.
Bite the Bullet is available now in PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Review by Chris.