Aug 23, 2010

Antigen: Outbreak

Antigen: Outbreak is a neat little combination of an arcade game and a puzzle game. The story is that you're an antibody and are traveling through an organism. Enemy viruses (is that a word?) are travelling through the body, too, and it's your job to fight them off. The core mechanic of the game is that your antibody is a square with four 'patterns' on each of its edges. Each virus also has one of those patterns on a side. You then have to rotate to the correct position so that you can attach to an enemy and destroy it. All in all a pretty neat, little idea.

The game is very well done. The antibody and virus cells all have cartoony (is that a word?) style faces on them. Everything is smoothly animated and the game has a nice techno beat going in the background and some well done cue sounds whenever something of significance happens on screen making for some of the best audio I've heard in an Android game. The controls are, likewise, well done. You have a choice of using a DPad or the accelerometer for movemement, but the accelerometer worked so well that I never bothered with the DPad. On the right side of the screen are two rotate buttons for clockwise and counter clockwise rotation. All you need to do is move near an enemy and your antibody automatically locks on for the kill.

The game includes two modes: a story mode and an arcade mode. It also includes four skill levels, leader boards, and achievements. All of the pieces to make a grade A title are here. It takes a bit of practice to get use to having two rotation controls... initially I tried to be lazy and just use one. Mastering both pretty clearly will make you a superior player. That also creates a 'want' for me and that's a 'flip' button to quickly spin around 180 degrees. This would especially be nice in the harder modes where you rotate 45 degrees at a time instead of 90 degrees.

I also wish the game was more challenging. I found myself being able to ramp up to the Extreme difficulty level in arcade mode and still play for many minutes without dying and having to quit instead (as this was for test purposes as I was curious how hard 'Extreme' mode would be). I would have expected Extreme mode to mean 'dead in 60 seconds [or less]'.

The developer is also generous enough to provide a free 'Antigen' version to give you a taste of the game, but be assured that the full Antigen: Outbreak version of this game is good enough to make it into your collection. I think Story Mode is the better mode of the two given the difficulty issue, but even so it's still a lot of fun to play. 4.5/5 stars. Check out the video below to see the game in action.

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