Germinator is the newest released game from Creat Studios, maker of the very much liked Labyrinth Legends. Totally different from the dungeon puzzler, Germinator is more along the lines of Bust-A-Move where you shoot colored balls from a central point to make matches. Matches eliminate the orbs which grant you a longer lifeline against the ever-rising infectious black goo. Along the way, things happen that make the simple premise more and more difficult, granting the game its staying power.
That Good Ol’ Feeling
While I can’t call the game’s graphics intense or straining, they are pleasant. They remind me of Saturday morning cartoons, with vivid colors and toothy smiles. The same goes for the characters within. Each of the colored orbs are actually smiling blobs of germs, both repulsing and endearing. When you beat a level there is this weird Hulk-Like guy – The Germinator himself – who just grunts unintelligible things that made me chuckle every single time. It’s all in good fun.
Gameplay that Germinates
During the actual game, when you match up the germs, they will explode explode explode, thus killing the mounting infection. I guess this is like extinguishing fires with explosives, killing an infection with germs. Beneath the pre-contructed levels, a black ichor rises, aptly creating a time constraint. So, you gotta match fast.
When you match these germs, instead of forming chains, like colors are absorbed, making it larger and larger until they pop. The magic comes when your germ starts growing uncontrollably. As it grows, it can reach farther germs to grow more to reach farther germs. Eventually, it will take up the whole screen, its face contorting and bulging grossly until it blows up and detonates a huge chunk of the level with it. It’s a really, really satisfying way to finish a level.
200 CC’s of Content
There is also a massive wealth of content here. Albeit, it’s more of the same; puzzles. Still, there is a good amount of replay value here. The Story mode walks you through the mechanics of the game and introduces you to the concepts and puzzle parts you’ll encounter later. From simple puzzles will come exploding pills and reflecting walls (the first two things) and so on to keep it fresh. But, you can also play local multiplayer, Arcade mode or puzzle mode. It’s well over 200 levels to play.
Linear, not Lateral
While it’s certainly enjoyable, the biggest problem comes from the time constraint. In later levels Germinator requires you to do specific things with your pre-set order of germs. In other words, instead of having you think laterally, you have to think linearly. Blue has to go here first, then yellow twice over there, dump the red, hit the blue again … so on and so on. This takes the feeling of solving the puzzle your way away from the equation.
Another small quibble is the imprecision. Because some puzzles require you to shoot germs in specific equations at specific times, I would much rather have seen a cursor than an arrow (a la Peggle when using a mouse). It just feels bad when you miss your shot by millimeters even though you know exactly what to do. It should be a puzzle of the mind, not a test of aim.
All in all, Germinator is a good game. It is quite enjoyable and very well made. It even managed to sneak a chuckle out of me every now and again. On top of this, it’s large and in charge, hosting hundreds of challenging levels. With clever designs and a pretty stiff difficulty curve, it should be a game you keep your eye on until its March 5th release.
Review platform: PlayStation 3