Viriax – Crazy 8-bit-style shmup has amazing soundtrack, puts you in germs shoes

Leave it to video games to make molecular biology and human anatomy fun. Viriax, the new PC-only freeware offering from indie developerLocomalito (opens in new tab), is just as kooky as it is simple to play (Don’t worry: It isn’t the slightest bit educational). You’re a tiny virus attempting to infect and hopefully fell your host human, but doing so isn’t so easy. Each level consists of different body parts, with the lungs and intestines being your first points of entry. And unlike other shmups, learning the level layout is rather difficult because they’re randomly generated here.

Complicating matters stillmore is how every move your virus makes takes away some of its health. That health can only be regenerated by collecting coins or strategically swimming above and bouncing off antibodies and scooping up their leavings. You might be thinking, “Ugh. Collecting coins? Swimming?” And we know, it sounds like one giant water level, but Variax is paced so excellently and the concept so straightforward that we found it more akin to Kid Icarus’ flying levels than Mario’s dreadful water levels.

Then again, a great inspiration to keep playing is composer Gryzor87’s sublime eerie soundtrack. Yes, it sounds very 8-bit, but it’s better than that lazy genre tag bandied about so often implies. It’s more like 8-bit with dying sirens, soaring Theremins, and driving arpeggiated synths. The soundtrack is also available for free, and available here (opens in new tab). But first, get a taste of the music and the game in the trailer below, and then swipe the game here (opens in new tab).

April 21, 2011

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