[PAX East 2020] Bite the Bullet Hands-On Impressions – Run, Gun, And Eat
Bite the Bullet, the latest from Mega Cat Studios, is the love child of Metal Slug and Kirby. You play as one of four super soldiers on a mission to defend something from mutants, ghouls, robots, and more. But these aren’t your ordinary super soldiers; they are genetically modified to be able to eat on the job. Like a hungry Wile E Coyote seeing Roadrunner as a steaming turkey leg, the two heroes possess the iron stomachs to eat whatever enemy they come across.
Unlike the extremely unrealistic Kirby, where you simply inhale a foe and become a mockup of them, in Bite the Bullet, eaten enemies give you a certain amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Eat enough protein-based enemies and you can transform into a hulking muscle-bound melee fighter. Too much fat, well, you get fat. I was unlucky enough to not be paying attention while chomping down pickups around the level and accidentally ate several jars of mayonnaise, giving me around +6000 and making my character truly dummy thicc. Took me a lot of jumping and running to burn off the extra weight, but until then, my man was having the meat sweats and struggled to platform (just like me in real life).
Bite the Bullet, in case it isn’t obvious, is not a game that takes itself all too seriously. Weapons, enemies, bosses, and just about everything else are plays off of some kind of food. For example, in the demo, the first gun I got was the a-salt-rifle, and the next is a shroomstick (play off of boomstick, in case you’re a dumb dumb like me and didn’t get the joke).
But just because it doesn’t take itself seriously doesn’t mean Bite the Bullet is a walk in the park. It’s a challenging game. The gameplay is sort of like Metal Slug or Contra. The side-scrolling, platforming, can-only-shoot-in-angles-of-45-degrees-ing mechanics that we know and love. The first key difference is, obviously, that you can defeat enemies by devouring them.
The second big difference is that unlike most Contra style shooters, Bite the Bullet has some light RPG mechanics. Should you find the right receptacle, your character may vomit up excess nutrients and use them to level up (Mega Cat Studios and Dread XP endorse neither binging nor purging). There’s a huge skill tree made of undulating organs, with skills that not only include the basic health up/damage up but also some interesting diets. You can go vegan, carnivore, omnivore, or somehow, a mechanitarian—you can only digest robots. Each has its own pros and cons of which I did not really see because my appointment was like 30 minutes, but rest assured, it makes for some strong replayability. I assume.
I didn’t get to see much of Bite the Bullet, but this is one that I am really looking forward to. There were, conservative estimates, 50,000 side scrolling platformer shooters at PAX this year, and this is the only one that was at all innovative. Taking classic arcade gameplay and adding a mechanic that gives the player the ability to switch up the play style never goes wrong. Bite the Bullet is absolutely one to keep on your radar.