In our ongoing efforts to keep you distracted, I hereby present Cell Warfare. According to his profile, the programmer responsible for this addictive shooter, Xdragonx10, is 14. Really? Good for you, kid. Go outside, it’s almost Spring - but good for you. Why am I patting a teenager I’ve never met on the back? Because Cell Warfare’s got the gameplay that made Geometry Wars so damn addictive.
You control a small blue cell, given the task of destroying any other cell that crosses your path. In the early stages, cells merely criss-cross the environment, paying no real mind to you at all. Each level introduces a new cell, and pretty soon the new cells start to come after you. One of my favorites is a greyish cell that, when killed, makes a little oil (or something) puddle on the grid. It stays there for a few moments, waiting cause you damage should you haphazardly wander through it.
I say cause you damage because, unlike Geometry Wars, you get a health bar. I haven’t gotten far enough to see every enemy cell, but I don’t think any of them shoot back. The only way to take damage is by head-on collision (or touching the above-mentioned “oil” puddles). I like the health bar system because it allows me a slim margin of error, correctable should I live long enough to obtain a health powerup.
The controls feel inspired by the Geometry Wars-era twin-stick shooters. WASD and a mouse work fine, but don’t expect movement to behave exactly like a twin-stick. The WASD controls favors either grandiose gestures (running for your life from the later level homing cells) or slow, detailed steering (navigating an oil spill to collect a 3x shot powerup). There’s really no in between. The game gets infinitely less frustrating once you’re comfortable with how it handles.
Simple, compelling gameplay aside, the 70-some achievements it sports are what can make for some lengthy play sessions. Achievements range from levels cleared to total play time – it even gives you achievements for finding different ways to die. But on average, a session can range from three to four minutes to however long you feel like kicking some cellular ass.