Developer: Richard Dare
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

At some point in the near or far-flung future, humankind will fall. It happened to the dinosaurs and countless species that thrived before them, so why should we be immune to evolution’s wrath just because we walk upright and know how to cover up our naughty bits? However, we do differ from other dominant species in a significant way: we can see our end coming, and we can (try) and do something about it.

Antigen by Richard Dare is a neon-streaked shooting game that challenges players to better the fate of the human race by putting nanomachines through a vigorous test run. The arena is a petri dish filled with weird cells that are constantly hatching germs. The player takes control of a cannon (presumably one of the aforementioned nanomachines) and shoots the germs as they wriggle around the joint.

antigen_04If a germ touches the edge of the dish, the player loses some energy. If their energy dwindles to zero, the nanomachine explodes, the germs win, and humanity plunges into chaos (though we don’t get to see that part).

Outside of its funky neon graphics and thudding techno soundtrack, Antigen is a pretty typical shooting game – but that’s not a bad thing. It’s easy to lose oneself in the beats and the struggle to keep those pesky germs away from the borders of the dish. There are power-ups that initiate different effects, such as freezing the cells/germs, or placing another nanomachine cannon opposite the first one. In other words, Antigen keeps the action thick and constant, which is what a good shooting game should do.

antigen_05Antigen does have a notable problem, however:  moving the nanomachine around can be tricky. Pressing on the left side of the screen causes the cannon to swing around the outside of the dish, whereas holding down the right side of the screen fires it. There are even handy thumbprints to demonstrate where one’s digits go. Firing isn’t a problem (though it’d be nice if the bullets were a bit faster), but moving left or right can sometimes be a crapshoot. Movement seemingly depends on whether the player places their own thumb above or below the print, but that’s not always the case.

Despite its control issues, Antigen is still an entertaining shooting game. Fans of the genre won’t regret slipping into a nanomachine and going “pew-pew-pew” for a few hours.


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