Virion SD: Fight Viruses and Race the Clock

Price: $.99    Score: 7/10     By M. SchustermanVirion

The problems I had with this game weren’t so much the game itself, but the lack of instruction and intuitiveness, which is quite contrary to how it’s described. Virion SD, designed by Stigmergy Games, is supposed to be a game in which you fight off a mutating virus. What it comes off as is more of a timing game that isn’t quite as challenging as I’d hoped.

The app opens to three players numbered 1-3, which you can change and upload a personal picture to. Tap one to see the selection of levels, all of which are locked but the first. Tapping that first level takes you to an image of a brain divided into sections. Tap the first to start.

What you’ve got is a globe with one arm, and later, many arms, sticking out of it. The end of each arm has a certain shape. Various pieces fly randomly around the screen, which have shapes that fit the arms like puzzle pieces. Tap a shape to freeze it, then line it up with the arm (which is moving). Once you’ve got all the arms lined up with a piece, tap the globe and the arms sort of suck the pieces in. Depending on the level, that could be the end, or you could be faced with more arms.

The music is thumpy and interesting, but the graphics are the same for each part of the brain, and I lost interest quickly. What frustrated me was that I had to research outside of the iTunes page and the game itself to learn how to do certain things. For example, there’s a time limit on each level, but no exit or pause button. I thought there was none, and the only option to stop was to exit the app. Then I read on the Virion “Hints” page that you can quit (not pause) a level by swiping five – not four – but five fingers on the screen. I’ve never encountered an app with a five finger swipe, yet no four finger swipe, and it strikes me as very counter-intuitive.

Something else I wondered was what was the point of having a timer if I never know how many legs are going to keep sprouting out of the globe. Once you’ve successfully lined up pieces with the arms, a number briefly appears in the center of the globe. It turns out this number tells you how many legs are left – something that is not actually explained within the game.

Overall, it’s not a bad game, and there are a lot of levels. However, I don’t feel it delivered the tension and excitement promised, and it was a bit confusing in the beginning.

Virion SD [iTunes link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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