HUMAN DEFENSE VIRAL
I am not a gamer. 2007 was the year that I stopped gaming for personal reasons (I’m an addict). So I’ve missed a lot of what’s happened in the gaming world of recent years. I do, however, own an iPad, and I’ve tried Angry Birds, so you’re not reading the words of someone totally out of touch. So with that confession over, here’s what I made of Heliceum’s medical-themed game: First off, the name ‘Human Defense Viral’ sucks. My dyslexia keeps me from detecting small spelling errors, but my spell checker confirms that ‘defense’ is incorrect. Oh, it’s the American spelling! I’ll have to get over that, but I’m not going to get over the fact that ‘Human Defense Viral’ doesn’t work as a title – it just doesn’t ‘pop’. It certainly wasn’t the thing that inspired me to stay awake in bed until 1:37am playing the same level wide-eyed until repeated punches to my thigh (from my lady) told me I should call it a night. No, the name didn’t do that for me – the gameplay did... Like most games of the 21st century that I’ve played, the Human Defense Viral starts with an annoying introductory tutorial, although it does get you into the action quickly. In no time you will be killing goofy-looking cartoon viruses as they slowly march through a body you have to protect. The object of the game is to keep a patient alive and replete with nutrients. You build different types of bodily ‘defenses’ to kill the varied viruses, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. As the game progresses, the challenges become increasingly complex and demanding. Eventually, different types of weapons are unlocked to kill the ever-growing waves of viruses. You pay for your viral ‘ defense’ structures with the same nutrients needed to keep the heart beating, so it becomes a balancing act: how many harmful viruses do you allow to pass into the body in order to fuel the heart, and how much do spend to build and upgrade the ‘defenses’? Something about this reminded me of the sci-fi strategy game StarCraft, but perhaps I’m just showing my age. The background music is fairly monotonous, but it changes with your patient’s health – and it does a good job of highlighting if you’re heading for a flat line. If the patient dies, you fail the round. It does get addictive – very addictive. I found myself fixatedly killing viral invaders in my attempts to save the human. Soon I would lose complete track of time and how often I had repeated the same level until succeeding. ‘Human Defense Viral’ is certainly entertaining and engrossing – but, for me, something is missing: learning. I am the sort of person who wants to learn something about viruses and the real ‘ defenses’ that humans put up to fight them. This game is pure fantasy and fun – but there’s no element of learning. Or if there is it was lost me. I suggest you play this game and see for yourself. Just don’t blame me when one hour turns into five.