Quick and easy action with tight controls; graphics/sound do not interfere with the action
No online leaderboards; difficulty doesn't really escalate
At only $1.99 (200 points in the DSiWare store), Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival seems one of the better deals in the Nintendo eShop. Essentially a prettied-up version of the classic time-killer, Snake, Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival pits the player, a DNA collector of sorts, against a host of DNA-destroying virii, in a race to collect various DNA pieces before the virii get them. The player does this by touching the DNA pieces, and as they are collected they follow the player’s character around in a train. If the virii touch the line, the collected pieces will spin out and the player will have to collect them again before they’re lost forever; if the virii touch the player, a life is lost. (Fortunately, unlike in Snake, touching the player’s own line does nothing.) Meanwhile, various helpful power ups, such as virus-destroying homing rockets and helpful invulnerability vaccines, make things easier. That said, it probably would’ve been nice to increase the number of virii that come out as time goes on, because if you’re quick with your fingers, you’ll be in there stress-free for quite a while.
However, that’s just how Normal Mode– one of two of the modes in Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival– is played. The other mode is new to the Escape the Virus series. Titled Baby Mode, this incarnation of the game still tasks players with collecting tiny DNA pieces (the titular Babies), but instead of going in a line behind the player, the babies just make the player bigger and slower. Much like the Delibird minigame in Pokémon Stadium 2 (we remember this game, right?) this means the player has to go back to the entrance periodically to drop off the kids before a virus takes hold.
Both modes of Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival come with local rankings to track your progress, though unfortunately there are no Wi-Fi leaderboards. And while that’s not particularly necessary, it does bring up a good question: why doesn’t Nintendo just provide this kind of thing by default? Apple’s got Game Center, after all. In any case, that’s neither here nor there– leaderboards in this game are really just an incentive, as in any arcade-style game, to keep playing, even if it is a simple contest against yourself.
While the graphics and sound aren’t exactly anything to write home about, especially considering most of the former consists of the same graphics overlayed repeatedly and most of the latter consists of squeaks and cheers, that’s not really necessary in a game like this. Escape the Virus: Swarm Survival is the latest in a line of games on DSiWare that is perfect for pick-up-and-go play, with graphics and sound taking a back seat to gameplay. The game does, however, seem more fit for Apple’s line of iOS devices, especially considering it doesn’t exactly do anything interesting with the dual-screen aspect of the Nintendo DS system. (You can control the DNA protagonist using your touch screen, but you might find yourself using the D-pad instead just for accuracy’s sake.) That said, Nintendo eShop and DSiWare can always use more games, and Teyon’s latest effort isn’t bad at all– especially for just $1.99, compared to all the other more expensive games on eShop and DSiWare.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.