A couple years back a kid with cancer teamed up with a game studio to make a small indie game about fighting cancer – literally. I never got a chance to play it, but the footage I saw made it look like a cross between Space Harrier and the movie Fantastic Voyage.
Apparently, part of the idea sprang from research that shows people who are preoccupied don’t notice pain as much and that, given recent discoveries regarding the power of the mind over the body, your mind witnessing you battling cancer and winning could give your body the edge in beating off cancer.
Virion SD (originally released for the iPad as Virion) follows a similar theme – fighting disease in the body – with a different mechanic – puzzle based matching. And the results are a resounding success. Instead of blasting cancer nucleopeptides to pieces, you are trying to stop virii in the brain by covering the end of viral receptors with antibodies floating around the brain.
The mechanic is simple enough, but actually doing it can be tricky. That’s because botht he receptors and the antibodies are both rotating. As such, it’s all about timing. You have to get the antibodies into a perfect orbit around the receptor. To complicate things, as the game advances there are more receptors to match and you will need to match multiple receptors at once. To top it all off, you’ve got a timer, and if you don’t clear all the receptors before time’s up it’s game over.
The game is smooth, simple and addictive. I started playing the game a couple of hours before work, and the next thing I knew I was running late, which is something I can’t say about very many iOS games. That’s because once you’ve cleared one section of the brain, you then move to another section and do it all over again. Different sections are collered differently to indicate difficulty, and how well you do really does matter. To unlock the next patient, you need to get 20 points over 9 sections. Points are acquired based on how well you do, with a bronze star giving 1 point, a silver star giving 2 points, and a gold star giving 4 points. There are 14 people to save, and with each having 9 sections of brain, there are over 120 levels to the game.
Another nice feature is having 3 save files with customizable photo tags, allowing 3 people to play without affecting another’s game, which any parent who has an iPhone is all too familiar with.
Truth be told, I’m looking for a flaw and I can’t find one. I mean, sure, the graphics are simple, but they should be simple, and the level of polish on the game (graphics and all) is something you seldom see outside of the larger app studios. So if after all this you’re still on the fence, give the free version a try. I think you’ll agree it’s good.