Freaking Meatbags is a game that combines tower defense with real time strategy where you will be fusing the DNAs of humans and aliens (referred to as meatbags) together and using them to gather resources, and defend from hordes of robots with towers and even certain alien abilities.
Two meatbags can enter a DNA machine which allows you to choose which of their traits to transfer to a clone. Not every trait can be transferred, but it does allow you to make some powerful hybrids, such as a four armed miner or a slow moving invincible zombie that will shoot lasers out of its eyes. Some traits can also be bought in the store so you can start transferring it to others as well.
Towers and other buildings can be constructed after the meatbags have gathered enough of the various resources. Each type of tower is best suited against one of the various enemies, such as the fast shooting tower against little robot swarms and rockets against armored robots. If you have meatbags with tower properties, two of them can enter each tower to make them stronger in many different ways, like longer range or armor piercing.
Each level that you do is uniquely different from each other, instead of just simply being harder than the last. Most levels have you constructing a base with the resources you have gathered, and having to defend against waves of robots. Some of these wave levels are restrictive in what you can do, such as having barely any land to build anything on and forcing you to rely on your meatbags to defeat robots. A few adventure levels exist where it is just your robot exploring the planet, where you will find turrets that will follow and shoot for you when you run into enemies. Another level type is using your meatbags to explore all the ruins on a map in a certain amount of time instead of having to defend against waves.
There are very few options to change. The game’s launcher has a detail and resolution setting, and in game just has volume sliders and v-sync. The graphics have a very simple pixel art look to them. It never runs slow or stutters unless you go to collect a huge pile of CPU chips at once, but that almost never happens. There is an optional screen effect that you can turn on and off, which may make the game look odd as it causes the edges of the screen to become blurry.
There isn’t a whole lot when it comes to the sound of the game, but there isn’t anything wrong with that. A small selection of music will play during the game, which changes based on whether you’re at the planet screen, playing on a level, or defending against a wave of robots. The story and everything uses text instead of voice acting, and the only existing voice acting comes from the meatbags, but they only say things like “hello” when they’ve been born or “okay” when you tell them to do something, but even then those lines sound computer created. One thing that made the game easy is that every type of enemy robot is essentially the same, only differing in their speed and how much health they have. Later on they do get forcefields that don’t take damage but instead prevent a certain number of hits, but by then your towers will be boosted so much that it doesn’t even matter. Even just simply having a robot that shoots projectiles over barricades would have made a large difference in how you set up your defenses.
The game isn’t very hard overall, and there are difficulty settings to choose for each level. Unless you’re very bad at gaming, you might even have to turn up the difficulty of the game because of how easy the easier settings are. If for some reason you do have difficulty with the game, levels can be repeated which allows you train your meatbag helpers and mine gold deposits to be stronger on the next levels. The only time you will probably run into trouble is during the final level, since it involves more than just building a bunch of defenses to win. At first the levels only take a few minutes to complete, but later on they can start to last between 20-30 minutes. Luckily, there is a speed up option that you can toggle, so if you’re confident in your setup you can just speed the game which will drastically bring down the length of later levels.
Although there is the hard difficulty setting, the game is still pretty easy. Playing well will actually make the game easier, since you get rewarded with more gold to buy stuff in the shop. The shop even has very powerful DNA upgrades you can put on your meatbags to make defenses even stronger, but they aren’t even needed since the base bonuses that you get from playing the game normally are good enough to easily beat levels. You won’t find much real challenge in the game except for the final level. Playing through all of the levels should take you around 5 hours. It will only take you longer if you play through on an easier setting then go through again with it harder, or you’re having to restart levels. There isn’t anything in terms of replayability, since you’re pretty much done with the game after you complete the last level.
To me, the game is just too easy and the DNA mechanic wasn’t explored enough. The hard difficulty mode felt like what normal should be, and the last level is only somewhat hard because you have to figure out how it works instead of just building defenses and murdering robots. There are only a few alien types that you run into to mix with the humans, and after that you just take the good elements of them and make two sets of humans, ones that can mine well and ones that make your towers really strong. I never felt the need to make many types of hybrids, even with the DNAs that you can buy from the shop to mix in, since the standard alien DNAs already make towers very strong. One major thing that made the game easy is how overly powerful you can boost towers. Each tower can fit two meatbags into it, each with their own tower boosting traits. This isn’t too big of a problem, but when you can build boost towers that boost every other tower next to it with the meatbags that are inside of it, you can potentially have 10 meatbags boosting one tower. When you do this, you can essentially have a rocket tower with infinite range and shooting faster than the machine gun tower.
If I were to give the game an update, I would include an even harder difficulty mode to play through the game with, and more aliens or reasons to make me want to create more hybrid types. An easy way to address the difficulty issue is to tone down the boosting of towers, either make it so each tower can have each aspect of it boosted only once, get rid of boosting towers, or make towers only be able to get boosted from only one boost tower.