On the surface, Mega Cat Studios’ Bite the Bullet looks and feels like run and gun classics Contra and Metal Slug, but a closer look reveals an intriguing twist: In Bite the Bullet, you have to eat your enemies to customize your character through a large branching skill tree, to craft and add modifiers to your weapons, and to manage the agility and durability of your character (will you beef up on extra calories or will you stay lean to move quickly?).
The story begins in a post-apocalyptic world where underpopulation caused food shortages, and the majority of mankind abandoned Earth. Those that stayed behind adapted by implanting themselves with genetic implants that allowed them to consume any material, living or non-living. This new diet, and the Earth’s harsh conditions, caused them to mutate into strange, ghoul-like creatures. As mercenaries Chewy or Chewella, you play as a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid who must run, gun, and eat their way through the swarm zombies, soldiers, robots, and monsters to survive. As you eat, you’ll track fats, proteins, and calories to earn weapon upgrades, power-ups, and new abilities.
Before you chow down on enemies, you’ll pick a class system. Bite the Bullet offers four different dietary trees to choose from, each of which impacts gameplay:
Each tree changes the way you progress through the game and the fighting styles you can employ. In the Smorgasborg tree, for example, one power-up turns your enemies into explosive corpses after they die, distributing additional damage to nearby enemies. If your diet wanders outside of your chosen skill tree, your character will puke, costing you valuable resources and recovery time. Eat too much fat, and your character will grow slow and sluggish until you burn off the extra weight. There is a trade-off, however: Your engorged body becomes sturdier and more resistant to damage.
Your skill tree is balanced by a complex weapons system. Firearms like the Critter Cannon let you fire small critters that explode on impact, and Meat Seeking Missiles search for warm-bodied enemies. As you learn the pros and cons of each weapon, Bite the Bullet offers a handy pop-up stat list to help you determine whether a weapon is an upgrade or downgrade from what you’re currently holding. Though you’ll find some weapons in action, your best options come from your own hard work. Eating rotten food opens the weapon customization menu in your own stomach, where you can apply the fat, protein, and calories you’ve consumed to make modifications and upgrades. There is a cost to your success, however. Once you’ve finished crafting in your stomach, the contents need to exit through vomiting, an act that leaves you vulnerable to attacks and drains macronutrients—so build weapons strategically.
Though these modifications can lead to incredibly dangerous firearms, pulling up the menu also leaves you vulnerable to enemy attacks. However, the most dangerous weapon lies in your own digestive tract. If you eat enough enemies, you can become a Zombro—a powerful, full-melee version of yourself invulnerable to enemy strikes. In Zombro mode, you’ll beat your nearby enemies to a tasty pulp until the mode expires.
With so much variation between character choices, skill trees, and weapon upgrades, Bite the Bullet offers incredible replay value. You can complete each level without achieving 100% of the objectives, but hardcore gamers will want to go through and check off each optional achievement to unlock temporary powerups, such as unlimited ammo, via the game’s bandana system—a system that also introduces invisibility, idle enemies, immunity, and other perks. As a Metroidvania, Bite the Bullet offers enormous worlds to explore and puzzles to solve, delivering hours of challenges.
Bite the Bullet’s action is clearly inspired by run and gun legends like Contra and Metal Slug, but it features the depth of modern RPGs, the variation of a roguelike, and the expansive world of a Metroidvania. With its layered humor and intricate eating system, Bite the Bullet provides a new challenge for gamers. Bite the Bullet releases in January 2020 on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Wishlist Bite the Bullet on Steam today.