Whether I should review the game “Cell” has been “a matter of some previous dicussion”, but a majority of Mass Deduction readers have voted for me to do so. So without further ado, I bring you “Cell”.
Though possibly not intentional, the name of the developer is deviously brilliant as, at a casual glance, the “2.0 Studios” logo on the box art looks like it’s trumpeting the game being a more mature “2.0″ release. A read through the game’s description, however, does not list any 2.0 update information, though. However, the game is large (45 levels), so a lot of work seems to have gone into the first release.
The game seems to be clearly inspired by the PC indie hit Osmos, and while it doesn’t reinvent the formula it does have its own levels and a personality unique to it. Like with Osmos, your goal is to absorb smaller cells, seeking to be the largest organism in the primordial soup. Movement requires that you expend mass to propel yourself, so tactial thinking is required to make the most of it. Compared to a game like “Solar 2″ or any of the Katamari games, the lack of cost-free movement ensures that every move counts and that none are taken for granted. Be careful though, mass you expel into neighbouring cells fattens them up, as it were, potentially making it harder to absorb them.
Also compared to the other games I mentioned, you face a decent variety of enemy cells that liven up the combat and give the game some life. If you’re lucky enough, or good enough, to quickly eliminate enemies you are rewarded with a bit of downtime, and the developers thankfully give you the ability to speed up time until the next batch of cells appear, but that process does help reinforce the feeling of being part of something that’s evolving around you at all times. That speed up/slow down element is also at work in the levels, as you can slow down when navigating between cells. It’s a great 80 Microsoft Point experience, and does just enough to differentiate itself to make it worth a purchase. As a side note, it’s availability for Windows Phone is an appreciated option for me (since I have a Windows Phone 7.5 handset).
Here’s what the developer (2.0 Studios) has to say about the game:
“Cell is a cellular life game, where your goal is to grow into the biggest cell. Using a clever mix of cautious thinking and twitch reflexes to eject your cell’s mass to propel you through each level, whilst carefully avoiding larger cells. Absorb your way through 45 levels that entertain and challenge you with gravity wells, intelligent cells and much more.”