Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
Today’s edition of Indie Game of the Week will take a look at A Virus Named TOM; a downright incredible action-puzzle game where you play as a tiny cybernetic virus who’s trying to light up circuits.
In the distant future, a professor known only as Dr. X has made quite a name for himself working for an organization known as MegaTech. It’s pretty simple to see why, of course- he’s invented pretty much every single piece of technology utilized by MegaTech’s City of Tomorrow. Of course, X is a little bit on the off side – his invention of Globotron, a robot designed to destroy anyone caught walking (X explains that he ‘cured’ walking with treadmill streets) led Megatech to terminate the legendary inventor. Naturally, he didn’t take kindly to that, and unleashed an endearing little virus robot by the name of TOM.
That’s where you come in as the player. You are TOM. Your purpose is to infect all the circuitry in Megatech’s technology, causing it to fail in a spectacular, amusing, or occasionally horrifying fashion.
The first thing that caught my eye about the title was, admittedly, the graphics and sound design. The game is positively mesmerizing to look at, and the music is downright incredible (I’ve yet to hear a song I didn’t enjoy on the game’s soundtrack). TOM, in spite of the fact that he’s essentially a sentient, digitized weapon of mass destruction; is actually kind of cute in an off-kilter way, and everything – from the circuitry to the antivirus bots – is eye-popping.
Of course, TOM isn’t all form and no substance – the game itself is quite fun to play (though the puzzles get a touch ridiculous at higher levels). Basically, your goal is to flip around circuits on the board until every single circuit connects to the original, infected piece of circuitry. You do this by moving TOM around a circuit at ninety-degree angles while holding down a particular key. The circuit will flip around as TOM moves.
That simple mechanic gets a lot more complicated. TOM’s only got so much power, so as a result; every single match is timed. Failure to complete each puzzle in a timely fashion will result in TOM’s ‘death,’ forcing you to restart that stage. Anti-TOM bots designed to seek out and destroy TOM eventually start making an appearance later, and while you can drop down a ‘glitch’ to temporarily destroy some of them (others are immune) your best bet is usually avoidance.Antivirus circuitry muddies the water even further – connecting antiviral panels to your circuit will nullify the infection, leading to an automatic loss.
In addition to the entertaining single player, TOM features an incredibly robust multiplayer offering, with more than fifty levels. Even better, multiplayer – which can be played cooperatively or competitively – supports up to four players.
So…long story short, I love this game. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys a good puzzle, you will too.