Metavaxx — Vaccine Overdrive

Disclaimer: The following piece is about a game on vaccine development. Any data or information on vaccines included is checked to ensure that it is as accurate as possible. Please refer to your official government websites for the most up-to-date information on vaccine

Metavaxx, the latest offering from French developer duo PUNKCAKE Délicieux melds classic Minesweeper tactics with shooters. You might think vaccine research and development to be boring — but Metavaxx ensures that you are kept on your toes. As someone who has recently received a vaccine shot, this game caught my interest with how well they gamified the biological aspects of the process.

There is artistic license within the game, and that only adds to the experience. What’s more is how well each cell sample is made — hitting one portion would ensure that the corresponding mirror portions were to disappear. Cells duplicate by means of mitosis, so hitting all relevant parts seemed to be a creative take on it.

Various cell samples at various percentages of infection. On the right, the current vaccine and its features.
Choose your fighter!

The simple pixel graphics and chiptune music add a sense of nostalgia towards retro games of yore — Minesweeper was released in 1989, after all. Within Metavaxx, you are able to upgrade your vaccine shooter with a variety of genetic power-ups. From humble beginnings of just a mucus layer, to Basophile projectiles, to the addition of an adrenaline gland — Metavaxx takes human biological processes and turns them into fun ways to beat the virus.

Cover art for Metavaxx, featuring the game in a medicine package.
What’s more thematic than medicine packaging?

As I made my way through the increasingly infected cell samples, I soon found myself thankful for the prior evolution upgrades that I had picked up earlier. Not only is Metavaxx a combination of two classic styles of gameplay, its roguelike elements give it almost infinite replayability. At the start of the game, your early boost comes from which laboratory you choose to work with. You can even name the vaccine that you’re developing!

A vaccine would do little good if not taken, and here I am awed by how PUNKCAKE Délicieux makes Metavaxx a literal shot of good vibes.

Grab Metavaxx for only 6USD on itch.io! Support the devs on Patreon too!

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