iPhone review of the day: Survivium - it's like Pokemon with germs

On iPhone
Price: Free
Size: 14.4 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US/UK

Most scientists spend their time trying to stop viruses from spreading. But you? You%26rsquo;re trying to make the most powerful virus of all. Survivium is all about creating and battling viruses. Think of it as Pokemon, but if you were Dr Frankenstein and Pikachu was a cold germ.

You don%26rsquo;t actually participate in the virus battles. Instead, you create your virus%26rsquo; gene makeup, or genome, which consists of a chain of actions. These include moving forward, turning, eating, cloning, and more. You%26rsquo;ll unlock additional actions as you play and, depending on the chain you create, your virus will behave in different ways. It%26rsquo;s a little hard to predict this behavior, but thankfully you can experiment before going in to battle, by watching how your virus moves and spreads under a microscope. Once in battle, all you do is watch. The goal is to control more of the screen than your opponent. If you lose, you can simply go back and retool your genome. Survivium is a game that not only encourages, but requires experimentation.

You can also customize how your virus looks, but there aren%26rsquo;t a whole lot of options, and the ones you do have are pretty goofy. A virus with a top hat and a big red nose isn%26rsquo;t all that menacing. In fact, the game isn%26rsquo;t much of a looker at all. It%26rsquo;s graphically simple and the garishly bright purples, neon greens and yellows often clash. Good thing the gameplay makes up for the lackluster visuals.

Survivium is a unique strategy game that tests your brain in ways that other games don%26rsquo;t. There are so many different combinations to experiment with and, better still, a whole range of ways to battle your evil little germs: be it against computer controlled opponents or against other mad scientists online. So put on your lab coat and get ready to wreak some havoc.

Feb 2, 2011