REVIEW – Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival
A review by Jeremy Hardin
Developer/Publisher – Teyon
Version – DSiware
Time Spent Playing – 1.5 hours
Price – 200 points/$1.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Teyon
Discover a whole new world hidden beyond the limits of the human eye. Dodge, wind and jump to link all pieces of DNA and build the longest chain ever while fighting off vicious viruses. Longer chains are more difficult to control but they come with a greater score multiplier. Look at your surroundings and you will quickly get one of bonuses such as a vaccine or a micro-world equivalent of a rocket-launcher! With this kind of equipment the viruses don’t stand a chance! The game features two game-play modes. In the Normal mode your goal is to make the longest DNA chain while in the Baby mode you are a DNA guardian sneaking between enemies to transport DNA pieces to safety. Rack up a high score and put your survival skills to the test in this reflex-awakening action!
Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival is all about racking up a high score. It’s a simple game that effectively draws you back in with the score collection concept. The game is split between two modes, Normal and Baby. Both modes take place in a single boxed in level with viruses, DNA molecules, and power-ups – all appearing at random.
In Normal mode which is similar to any Snake game out there; your goal is to collect the free floating DNA molecules in order to make the longest DNA chain you can; the longer your chain the higher your score multiplier. Threatening your chain are viruses which appear at random and swarm the level. At first you’ll spend your time watching your DNA molecule and having it avoid the viruses. However, as your chain becomes longer you must also keep an eye on the rest of your attached molecules. When I first started playing I thought the only way I could get hurt was if the main molecule got hit. I quickly found out this was not the case, as even the trailing molecules on your chain are susceptible to being hit. There is one key difference between your molecule and those on your chain. If you get hit directly, you lose a life and you only have a 3 of those. If your chain sustains a hit, the chain will sever at the point it was hit and all the molecules after that point will scatter in different directions. You can still retrieve said molecules but they will disappear after a brief amount of time, indicated by numbers counting down above them.
In Baby mode you are tasked with collecting DNA molecules, not to form a chain, but to guard them and deposit them in a safe area at the bottom of the level. Again, the more you collect, the higher your score multiplier. However, unlike Normal mode you will not create a chain of molecules. You’ll start off as a small and fast DNA molecule, but as you collect DNA pieces you’ll grow larger and begin to slow down.
In both modes, you’ll have access to two different power-ups. The first being a vaccine, which turns you into a ball of fire which destroys all viruses you touch. The second power-up is a homing missile. In Normal mode, this causes a homing missile to launch from each DNA piece on your chain at the nearest enemy. So needless to say (but I’ll say it anyways), you have a couple different ways you can try to rack up a high score.
The game controls using either d-pad or the touch screen and both methods do a great job of providing accurate controls.
Visuals and Sound
The entire game takes place in a single, boxed in level. The background is yellow in color and it looks clouded with some kind of funkiness. Your character has a bit more charm, of course, as its single eye will roll in the direction of enemies and transform into a heart when DNA pieces are nearby. Interestingly enough, when you get too close to enemies, big drops of sweat appear over your molecule just like in a Japanese cartoon. The music is one track of goofy, nonsensical noises and at best will grate on your nerves, unless of course you like those kinds of sounds.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Swarm Survival is about as shallow as the petri dish it takes place in, but it has appeal. The lack of an online leaderboard, or any way to associate a name with a score, plus the lackluster graphics and audio kept me from giving it a higher score. Despite its shortcomings, Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival keeps pulling me back in for one more go at a high score. So, if you’re a fan of simple, high score games and you have $2 to spend, I say go for it but don’t expect too much.