Game Design, Game Reviews

With Germbusters you’ll love being a space janitor

germs iconGermbusters is a rich game. Rich in gameplay features, rich in details, rich in its replay value. One might think that tile puzzle games are straightforward and simple, but after playing this game, it’s easy to conclude that other developers simply weren’t trying hard enough.

Go clean your room!

Available on Google PlayAvailable on iTunesLet’s take it from the top: Germbusters is a mobile game, built by Padaone for Android and iOS devices. The game’s plot revolves around a cutely drawn robot, S00-T (not cuter than Soombot though, I’m sorry), and his trusted companion, the CL1NT vacuum cleaner. Their assignment is to clean the ISS Prospero, a huge interstellar spaceship, from various germs which have infected the ship’s surfaces.

The game is split into stages, and stages are split into levels. Each level comprises of multiple tiles filled with germs. The goal is to pull Cl1NT the vacuum cleaner across those surfaces until they’re germ-free.

However, cleaning is not as easy as one might think, because they obviously don’t have CILIT Bang in space – sometimes you will have to pull CL1NT multiple times across the same surface to clean it, and there are also germs following you around, wanting to destroy the cleaner.

Think of it as a PacMan game with a twist.

The twist

Germs 1So what’s the twist? It is in CL1NT, as you have to drag him across the room with you, as you clean it. The two robots are tied by rope, and only after you have moved S00-T across the room, will CL1NT follow. This becomes increasingly interesting as other robots start walking around the map looking for you. Not only do you have to clean the room, but you also need to pay attention where these enemies are walking, as well as pay attention to where your cleaner will be in a few seconds, when the rope is pulled.

The design

I really like what the developers have done with the game’s look and feel. Not only is the game cutely drawn, but it also works around noise pollution quite well. Just look at the screenshot above– there are so many elements: germs, obstacles, enemy units, power-ups, everything is there. Still, in all this clutter, you can tell perfectly, right from the start, what’s going on in the screen. It’s a dangerous undertaking that can easily go wrong, however this time it was done with perfection.

Mission types

Another great aspect of the game is the way it constantly keeps you entertained. You will play dozens of levels and the game will still have aces in its sleeve to surprise you. There will be simple levels where you only need to clean the room, but there will also be more complicated ones with portals, obstacles, and enemies that can destroy CL1NT the vacuum cleaner. There are also a couple of power-ups to help you pass those harder levels. All things considered, you will not get bored by this game.

The shop and in-game currency

Germs3The game also flirts quite nicely with the idea of in-game currency and shops. It offers a large amount of power-ups and boosts to help you pass through those tougher levels. Those include speed boosts for your robots, slowing down enemy robots, faster cleaning, you get the picture. All these boosts are really useful and change the way a certain level plays out. There are a couple of ways to get your hands on some of these boosts. You can either pick them up during play (they spawn every once in a while on specific locations in a level) or you can purchase them before playing in the in-game shop.

The boosts can be purchased with in-game credits that can be acquired in two ways – either with real cash or by doing specific things, like sharing the game on Facebook or watching a video ad.

I have also spotted a few pop-up ads in between the levels, but they are quite rare and don’t interfere with the game, which is a great plus.

A well-rounded game

Germs2To conclude the review, I can say this is a good, well-rounded game that has all the elements necessary to be successful. It has a solid game design, it is interesting and constantly keeps introducing new things, it has quality graphics and is big enough to keep you entertained for hours.

The game also perfectly balances between low quality monetisation and being just plain annoying with ads and in-game purchases. It will award you with credits if you play the game or spread the word, or you can add extra cash for a faster play-through, if that’s your thing. The in-game purchases are valuable; they’re not there just for the sake of being there – every boost, every power-up is useful and that is something developers, unfortunately, often neglect.

Well done, lads.

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