A Virus Named TOM Review
In Misfits Attic’s A Virus Named TOM you play as, well, a virus named TOM. Your creator, a mad scientist obviously, has set you loose in all of his inventions. See, he was recently fired from his position at a prominent company because of the increasingly insane inventions and is now seeking revenge.
This silly backstory gives a meaning to the puzzles and pulls together all that you’re doing. Navigating the circuits of Dr. X’s inventions, TOM must infect them to cause them to malfunction, thus striking back at the mega corporation Mega Tech. In order to do this, you will have to navigate through a a myriad of circuits and connect them to allow the virus to travel through unhindered. This, at first, is insanely simple, with the solution to the small puzzles laid out clearly before you. In the first few puzzles, the only real challenge is the clock and the leering high scores of those that played before you. However, as you play further through the game, the puzzles become increasingly difficult and a few roadblocks are thrown in your way.
The first of these are the anti-virus Drones that are deployed by Mega Tech. These spider shaped baddies move along a fixed path in the circuits, causing you to rethink your moves. Soon after their appearance however, TOM is upgraded and is able to use ‘glitches’ to combat them. There’s a catch though; the glitches only freeze the drones in place for a bit, putting a hold on their incessant march. But, as the game progresses the Drones are upgraded as well and are given the ability to siphon TOMs energy, adding to the need to finish the infection quickly. The most difficult of these puzzles, and by far the most annoying, are the cloaked boxes. Basically, the boxes are hidden behind question marks until you fumble your way into connecting them.
The game also allows for up to 4 player local co-operative play. Co-op adds an additional 54 levels for you to enjoy with friends. Specifically designed for more than one player, co-op plays out a little differently than Single Player. Now that you have a teammate(s) one person can distract or take care of the drones while you figure out out to connect the circuits, or you can each take a part of the level and solve it together. This is quite fun, and if you don’t have the right partner, can lead to a bunch of hilarious situations. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option for online co-operative play, however it makes sense as communication and teamwork are key to success. Vs. Mode has you facing off against another player in a mix between Old Skool games Bomberman and Qix (It’s a lot like the Art mini-game in Rockstar’s Bully) in a race to see who can capture and control the most squares on the board.
The graphics of the game are simplistic. However, it works well for AVNT because it doesn’t rely on fancy graphics and flash, but purely on its gameplay alone. Because of this, there weren’t any frame rate or texture issues. The story sequence is made up of a stop-motionesque animated sequence narrated by Dr. X himself and does well to set up the story.
The Bottom Line: The puzzles are challenging, albeit annoying at times (i.e the clocked circuits), but it holds a tremendous amount of replayability; I found myself going back and completing the level’s over again, trying to beat my highscores. The game really shines in it’s co-op and Vs modes, but you may find it difficult to find someone who wants to play the game with you locally, as it has no online option. Regardless of the few complaints I have against TOM it is still well worth the buy.
Nizulo rates this game 7/10