With the whole world becoming rather jaded by the whole COVID-19 pandemic, it takes a courageous developer to release a game whose premise is to clean your home to protect you from a virus. Yet here we are, with Virus At Home a reasonably recent entry onto Steam.
With that in mind, it does seem Virus At Home could be an interesting combination of tower defence and first-person shooter. I wanted to see how well such a game could be done.
The concept is really fairly simple. You are in your house, and you must defend it against viruses entering through the windows.
You have a Russian narrator, calling you over the phone, who talks you through what you need to do. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Russian, you do get English subtitles. This does help guide you through the mechanics of the game.
You will need to use both the various sprays to kill the virus particles that are coming in and then close the window. You will also need to use the vaccines in the bathroom to ensure that you do not get sick.
As you progress, you will be given a lot of other challenges to deal with. At certain points you may need to become home handyman and fix various parts of your home as they break. This adds to the complexity of the game, though not necessarily in a bad way.
The game itself gets extremely fast past extremely quickly. It can be a challenge to keep on top of all the different entry points and try and keep everything under control. This adds to the adrenaline rush of the game. I would definitely not call this a bad thing. They’ve got it fast-paced enough that it becomes a challenge without it being overwhelming.
The only problem I really found is the narrator. As I have no knowledge of Russian, then I have to rely on the subtitles. Occasionally these are a little difficult to read, as the text is white on a grey background. Sometimes this means you miss out on important parts of the narration, as trying to read the subtitles as they are distracts you for too long from the main gameplay. This really needed to be better thought out, as I’m sure plenty of people would be relying on subtitles to make proper sense of the storyline.
The graphics are actually reasonably decent. I am reminded of the game The Stanley Parable. The graphics are roughly on par to the graphics within the office area of The Stanley Parable. Simplified to a certain degree, but very effective.
For such a low-cost game, the graphics are very well done. The graphics are simplified enough to work with lower-end hardware, but still extremely passable. The graphics are certainly a lot better than some of the other games I’ve reviewed in this price bracket.
It’s difficult to put this game neatly into a genre. It’s part-topical, part tower-defence, part first person shooter. It’s a combination that actually works fairly well. It might not be a game I would pack days into, but it seems a good way of passing a bit of time when I have an hour or two.
My only concern is that it’s a little too topical. Many people are getting tired of the current pandemic so don’t necessarily want to be constantly reminded of it, yet once the pandemic is done with then I’m not sure this particular game would continue to be relevant.
It’s otherwise an excellent example opf how you can make these different genres work together well.