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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Phage Wars - Game of the Day

Microbiology has never been so much fun. Developer Joey Betz takes real-time strategy from the macro to the micro and delivers an insidiously infectious game in Phage Wars.

In Phage Wars you can choose to play as one of eight unique parasites, each with distinct characteristics in strength, speed, and agility. After a brief tutorial—literally a one-step stage that takes about 10 seconds to complete—you’re left to infect a screen of cells. You’re not the only parasite in this Petri dish though, and the object of the game is to infect enemy cells until you’re the last one standing (or swimming, in this case). With a click of your mouse you can redistribute your parasites among any of the cells on the screen. Your parasites quickly multiply in any cells you’ve infected, thus growing your squiggly little army. Once you’ve left your enemies without any cells to inhabit, you’ll move on to the next level.

Phage Wars makes real-time strategy accessible with its simplicity, and rewards quick thinking over methodical planning. You can complete most of the levels within minutes or even less, which keeps the action moving and keeps you clicking, and clicking, and clicking.

The simplicity of the gameplay extends to the presentation in Phage Wars. Aside from a few multicolored squiggles and a handful of translucent cells, there isn’t much to look at. The music and sound effects are subdued, but effective.

For pick-up-and-play strategy it doesn’t get much better than Phage Wars. The upbeat action and addictive nature of the gameplay make this a game you’ll want to come back to again and again—that is, if you ever manage to quit in the first place.

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