Symbiosis is a short game you can finish in under an hour. It’s got some decent atmosphere for the first half, a general anti-corporation message and some nice graffiti, and not much else to recommend it.

Because nothing says environmental apocalypse like being mobbed by endless swarms of surprisingly durable animals.

She says she thinks they’re mad at people and she’s sorry for hurting them, but wow is that not followed through in the game mechanics. There’s a run command you can barely use and you’ve given lots of stuff for winning. I finished the game past L30.

I guess I’ve been spoiled by games that actually try to integrate game and story, but this was just horribly tone-deaf. The only aspect of the environment that’s hostile is the large numbers of supposedly sickly animals you have to face, who can take an awful lot of bullets to the face, and they all drop copious amounts of money. There are so many bald eagles! Apparently random oil splotches have really turbo-charged reproduction. I get the impression this was to make the player horrified by how messed up the animals are, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for their plight when they’re chewing off your HP, and to make it even harder to take seriously, they’ve teamed up with roving landmines.

Your breathing-aid fern levels up with you and, in addition to having magic healing powers, can use items on its own – items which are everywhere. There’s also first aid kits just littering the ground, and they’ve even reusable! There’s a running option so, while you can move at the slow pace, you can also zip around in your giant bulky sealed hazmat suit.

Once you reach the Evil Nuclear Plant, you find it staffed by robots who act like people. You then murder your way through them despite the fact they seem like confused kids just trying to obey the rules, but it’s okay because, as you explain to one that’s cowering in fear, you only attack the ones who attack you. (Or who are keeping stuff you need.)

Really, this could not be worse suited for the standard battle template. It makes the area too lively and the situation too absurd. They don’t add any real gameplay, they just slow you down a bit. You should run into barely alive animals you can kill easily or run from, then maybe deal with some traps and puzzles to get through the power plant.

Finally, you reach the guy in charge of the plant and possibly the last other human left alive. His plan is to go back in time to rule everything with his evil polluting technology.







So it turns out environmentalists are pretty shitty people too who think we should all die now, and in fact it’s so important we die that even going back in time to save nature isn’t good enough of a reason. It makes you wonder why her group wasn’t the one trying to pollute the environment to death to get rid of those pesky humans. I mean, nature will just fix itself when we’re gone, so why protect it? So you murder him and all his minions in a climatic battle.

The ending is that, instead of using the time machine yourself to try to fix things, you decide to commit suicide to finish turning off the nuclear power plant (that for some reason is venting sludge and oil into the environment because that’s how nuclear energy works) and by turn off, I mean explode. I can only assume tumblr environmentalist groups have gotten so into shouting NO NUCLEAR ENERGY they forgot to the biggest problem with them is the part where sometimes they explode. Apparently nature can fix the explosion but not the place just being there. Also, apparently she lied to the poor robot and actually is a robot ax murderer, because they were all still in there.


  1. Joe Shmoe says:
    There are few things that annoy me more than a genuine sentiment of “Humanity should die out so we stop ruining the earth.”
  2. illhousen says:
    You know, the part about the game not being suited for the standard battles reminds me of Blue Marble (

    In which you are almost constantly surrounded by “exiled soldiers”. You can fight them or you can simply walk past them.

    At first I’ve killed every single one I’ve encountered because while I loath grinding, I am also addicted to it. But over time I realized that
    a) They die if you so much as look at them funny;
    b) They hardly drop anything;
    c) They barely give you any XP.

    So after a while killing them started to look so pointless…

    Which fits pretty well with the general atmosphere of post-apocalypse where everything is slowly dying and there doesn’t seems to be any solution.

    It was also when the game started turning more dark and depressing in contrast with early stages which were more quirky and darkly humorous.

    1. Farla says:
      Ooh, that sounds like exactly what I wanted here.

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