Game review: Systematic Immunity – control 20 white blood cells, stave off disease and learn about the human body

This cool little platform puzzler puts you at the frontline of fighting off infections while avoiding certain organs and trying to keep your cell count up

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 1:01pm

Systematic Immunity

Felix Wunderlich

4/5 stars

Here’s a concept that isn’t usually seen in the gaming world: the fascinating ways our bodies fight off viruses and infections. There’s been a few, without a doubt – the popular Pandemic, a couple of smaller mini-adventures including Sneeze and, to some extent, Plague Inc. – but considering the phenomenal abilities of our own DNA, it’s a wonder that more developers haven’t tread the territory.

Indie PC game Systematic Immunity uses our ability to fight infections as a springboard to create a cool little platform puzzler. The game is hard, without a doubt, but as it should be: running and gunning in war-torn situations hasn’t got anything on our natural immunity.

Gamers control 20 white blood cells as they hold together and traverse through the many (75, to be specific) challenges of our nefarious bodies. There are organs to avoid, germs to kill off and plenty of dark corners along the way, but as long as you can regroup and keep your cells up to a 15 count by the end of each level, you live to, uh, live another day.

A good platformer needs a combination of pitch-perfect elements, and that’s what kept me coming back to Systematic again and again. Like a perfectly constructed human, it has nearly everything in check: I couldn’t help but admire the neon-shadowy, contrasting, cartoony landscapes and weird electronic soundtrack as I desperately ran levels over and over, its intuitive set of controls allowing me to perfectly time jumps, gather every collectible and pretty much aim for the perfect score, while actually learning a bit of about the body in the process through interactive, end-of-level info pieces.

Systematic Immunity’s creative genius comes from the inspired mind of the wonderfully named game developer Felix Wunderlich – I don’t know the guy, but can’t you just imagine him sitting over a tiny cup of coffee and ridiculously rich cake in Vienna or somewhere similar, pondering the beguiling state of our bodies?

The truth naturally disappoints (he’s Irish, for one), but hey, at least we big blobs of skin, blood and antibodies can dream.