Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita (reviewed)
Germinator is a “bubble puzzle” game that has you going room to room in your suburban house to rid it of the pesky germs that have taken over. Your goal is to clear each level of static black germs before they reach the top of the screen by using a variety of colored germ bubbles. By crashing germs of the same color together you’ll increase its size until it explodes, which also destroys any germs surrounding it. As you create larger and larger germs and begin destroying others you’ll build up a meter that will let you perform special abilities. Each different colored germ has a unique ability (ranging from destroying all other germs of that color to growing enormous and taking out any other germs it comes in contact with) and these will become valuable assets as levels begin to ramp up in difficulty.
The game offers 75 story levels and another 75 puzzle levels. Like many other games similar to Germinator, upon completing a level you’ll receive a numerical score as well as a grade of one to three stars. So this can help replayability if you’re into score chasing or maxing out your stars. The game also offers up an arcade mode (with four difficulty settings) that plays much like a survival mode and tracks how long you can keep the germs away before they overtake the screen. Finally, there is a battle mode that lets you battle against a friend or an AI opponent of varying difficulty. So if Germinator hooks you, there’s no shortage of gameplay options.
As far as presentation goes, Germinator isn’t much to write home about. The menus and graphical style are rather simplistic and maybe a little too colorful and cartoony for my taste, but they also aren’t offensive to look at by any stretch. One sore spot does come in the form of the music and sound effects. Both of these grow old rather quickly and eventually I got to the point where I had to turn my Vita’s volume down and just sit in silence or watch something on TV.
One last thing I should mention is that the game can be played entirely with touch screen controls or by using the Vita’s normal controls. Having the option to use either was a welcome feature, but I found the touch controls in the menus to be a little finicky and using your specials in game might take a little getting used to. All-in-all though, both control options are viable and come down to your personal preference.
Germinator is a fun and sometimes addicting puzzle game that is an adequate time killer, but does little to reinvent or invigorate the genre. It wasn’t a game that truly hooked me, but I can say I did enjoy a majority of my time with it. So if you’re in the market for a simple puzzle game and prefer your puzzle solving a little more classic and lot less “platformy”, Germinator might be a game worth your time.