The Playstation Vita has a lot of genres well covered, however puzzle isn’t one of them. Germinator hopes to fill that void.
The system isn’t completely lacking in the puzzle department, it does have the wonderful Bejeweled beater, Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, which is just simply outstanding. That is about it though, so Gamestyle were rather happy when Germinator was announced.
What we have here is a game that is a cross between Peggle and Bust-A-Move, where the object is to eradicate each of the themed levels from the germs that have infested. It’s a basic concept which has a very basic slight story behind it, which is used mainly to explain the various power ups available. It truth though, it would have been no better or worse to use bubbles, balls or any other type of graphic.
What’s is always important in a puzzler is how easy it is to pick up and play and how the mechanics work so you can eventually master the game. Germinator neither exceeds, nor does it fail in the this department, it simply does a decent job. It is clear from the start what the target is and how you do that and the first world on offer has tutorials along the way that explain how the various power-ups work. It ticks all the boxes.
The idea is simple. You aim your coloured germs in an attempt to match them to the colours on the board, chain together three or more and they grow and eventually exploding before destroying any connecting germs. The idea is to clear all the black germs on the board to progress. That is it, simple and to the point.
You have a number of levels to get through too, with 75 spread across five different themes. You also get a puzzle mode to unlock, which happens pretty early, so no grinding just to get another feature needed. This is essentially the same game, but you now get a limited number of germs to use. Once these are depleted it is game over. This mode actually really tests you skills later down the line and does get very addictive.
The concept is there and generally plays rather well. However there are a couple of issues that seem to hamper the experience a little. The aiming of where to fire your next germ can be a little difficult to work out, especially if you are trying to bank off the sides. In Peggle you get away with this, as you usually have some clear reference points and objects to bounce off, in Bust-A-Move you are playing on a narrow board, so judging where to bank off the side is clear. Here though, with the width of the gaming area being the full width of the screen, it is very difficult to judge, which will more often than not result in a misplaced shot.
Now this wouldn’t be that bad if there was an option to fine tune you aim, yet as it stands that isn’t there. Aiming is done with the left analogue stick and even the slightest touch seems to have a large affect on your aim. If this had a precision option, then it wouldn’t be so bad. It does however allow you to use the touch screen for aiming too, which is a much better option, allowing you to really pinpoint where you want the shot to go. The only slight down side to this is learning not to take your finger of the screen to try and aim again. As doing so means you take your shot, which can lead to moments of frustration.
None of these are game breaking issues, just minor quibbles that not everyone will have. Overall Germinator pays a decent game and whilst not being your main go to game, it is one that is nice to have on the system for that quick blast, whether it is a short journey, a break at work and the likes. The 3-Star rating system on each level will see you going back and they set a decent challenge. You also have the puzzle mode beyond the main story levels. So there is plenty of content for your money.
Germinator is pretty much a one trick pony, but that particular trick is fun and challenging, it is a low price and you will get some decent value. It is a game that is worth picking up as a nice accompaniment to your existing catalogue for when you fancy something a little less meaty.