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Vibrant new Metroidvania mixes Hollow Knight, Axiom Verge, and science

BioGun Clinical Trial lets you play the opening of the upcoming metroidvania as a free Steam game, and I already love its vibrant style.

BioGun Clinical Trial is a free Steam demo for the upcoming Metroidvania - A white-haired scientist with a beard and piercing yellow eyes shouts.

From Hollow Knight, Ori, and Rain World to Blasphemous 2, Grime, and Bloodstained, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to top-notch Metroidvania games on PC. Now, as we await news on the much-anticipated Silksong, another new contender gives you the chance to play its opening areas with a special prologue out now as a free game, and I’m already in love with BioGun: Clinical Trial and its distinctive concept and vibrant visuals.

Clinical Trial lets you experience the opening section of BioGun as a standalone free Steam game, essentially functioning as an extended demo for the upcoming Metroidvania. You are Bek, a creature shrunk down to microscopic size that’s been injected into your beloved pet dog (who you name at the start of the game, for extra emotional effect). Your job is to aid its immune system in fighting off a dangerous pandemic known as the Dooper Virus.

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It’s immediately very charming, melding twin-stick shooting reminiscent of Axiom Verge (or, by extension, even Metroid itself) with the clean jump-and-dash platforming of Hollow Knight. Rather than the magic system employed by Team Cherry, developer Dapper Dog Digital has a slightly different twist on its ‘heal or harm’ decision-making. Here, your more powerful weapons use the same Atomic Energy (replenished by attacking enemies or from certain pickups) as your healing, so you’ll have to spend it carefully.

The feel in combat is already excellent, and I’m thoroughly charmed by its setup. Early in your journey, you’ll meet ‘Phoebe,’ an anthropomorphized ‘organic smart chip’ previously implanted in your pup by DocX, the engineer who sent you inside, to track vitals and more. You’ll also come across the ‘White Blood Cells,’ a group of enforcer dogs in blue combat gear. Plus, what better motivation is there than saving your dog?

BioGun Clinical Trial - The 'White Blood Cells,' a group of dogs in blue enforcer gear.

BioGun: Clinical Trial is out now on Steam as a free game. It’ll let you play through the first two areas of the full game, encountering three main bosses and two secret ones, all inspired by real-world diseases. You’ll also get a chance to play around with some of its weapons and its DNA-augmenting Nanochips. The full game is “coming soon,” but you can wishlist it on Steam for now if you like what you see.

Alternatively, we’ve got more of the best platform games to test your jumping skills, along with all the best indie games in 2024, so make sure you’re not missing out on some future classics.

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