Viral Survival

Viral Survival

What we liked:

+ Good art style
+ Decent variety of modes
+ Online leader boards are a nice touch

What we didn't like:

- Could use a co-op mode
- Progressive mode is hard to control

DEVELOPER: PeakVox   |   PUBLISHER: NIS America   |   RELEASE: 05/24/2010
A virus you won’t mind catching.

From NIS America and Peakvox comes the unorthodox game Viral Survival. It is really hard to describe what the game actually is, but it reminds me a lot of Snake and Geometry Wars smashed together. You are a DNA strand, tasked with trying to avoid viruses as you swim around a set space. There are five modes, each unique in their own right, as well as addicting as ever online leader boards. This is fun little game that you can spend hours on without even realizing it.

The five modes each change up the gameplay pretty well, and I will go into each mode in detail. The first mode is Normal Mode, which is simply where you need to avoid the viruses, while you pick up other strands of DNA to add to you to form a tail. This is how you up your score, but enemies can also pick off strands of DNA from your tail, and you have to scramble to keep them aligned with you. Also, at certain points you can fight back by picking up rocket power-ups to shoot at the enemies, or an antidote to make them vulnerable to you eating them up too, similar to Pac Man.

The second mode is Progressive mode, where instead of having unlimited control of your character, you are only allowed to move the strand in a certain desired direction, and then push forward on the control stick for a speed boost to get the other strands of DNA and to again avoid enemies.

The other three modes really change things up. The third mode is called Horde Mode, where there are no other strands of DNA to pick up, just enemies to avoid and rocket power-ups to shoot at them. Fourth, there is my favorite mode, Zoom 128 mode. In this mode, you are zoomed in really close to the main DNA strand, and you have to collect 128 strands of DNA while avoiding enemies to complete the mode. It’s fun and addicting, and gets really hectic the closer you get to one hundred and above. The fifth and final mode is Shooter mode, where you are just facing off against enemies, and you automatically shoot forward every couple of seconds. You are also able to pick up power-ups that shoot in every direction for a limited time, which is able to clear out large hordes of enemies.

All of the modes in on their own are very fun, and give you a good variety of things to play. However, the only thing I really could have hope would be in the game was a local or online co-op mode, which would have really made this game stand out among the crowd. Even just a special mode designed for it would have been nice, but not having it did not take away anything from the game. Again, all of the included modes have online leader boards that you can upload your scores to. I really like this feature, as it makes the game very addictive and allows you to want to keep playing and trying to reach a better score. Also, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and progression for doing even the smallest things in the game. The game also does feature an achievement system, which you are awarded by completing certain tasks in the game and under certain parameters. All of these add to the game to make it a very complete experience.

The game controls well, with you just having to use the control stick to move the DNA around, and avoid enemies. However, sometimes it can be a little touchy, and cause you to run into enemies when you do not want to go in that direction. This is specifically the case in Progressive mode, which takes some getting used to. You need to wrap your head around how they want you to control the strand before you can really do well in that mode.

The music and art style are also very good, and give the game a unique feel. It is very cartoonish, as the DNA strands have a giant big eyeball, and have little arms and scream “D”, “N”, and “A” as you pick them up. It’s all very happy and cheery, but does suit the game well and doesn’t allow it to slip into the crowd.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Viral Survival. As mentioned, they do a good job of keeping the gameplay mixed up between modes and making it addictive enough to keep you coming back and wanting to play more. This is certainly quite a bit of game for five bucks, and at that price point, you certainly cannot go wrong with picking it up.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Jeff is a full-time student and has a disorder where he constantly trades in all his games to buy new ones, and then buys the older ones back. We are looking into getting him his own padded room.

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