Developer: Hothead Games Inc.
Price: 0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Microscopes have intrigued me since I was child. When I visited our local museum of both sciences and art, I adored looking at and identifying cells under a microscope as a participant in summer programs there. As a therapist, I continue to be awed by science and often attempt to answer the evasive question of whether my career as a therapist is more informed by and indicative of science or art. Cell Bound, a new universal app developed by Hotheads Games Inc., fulfills both my need to capture my scientific side and engage my artistic nature.

Cell Bound is elegantly designed and artfully simple. I immediately immersed myself in the “Play” mode, which appears on the home screen. One tap, and I was then directed to three different modes: “Burst”, “Infinite”, and “Timer.” I intuitively spun my finger around the jewel-colored cells and became a bit entranced as the sherbet-hued forms connected and coagulated into clusters almost like an organic mandala. The sheer beauty and intuition of the app provides pleasurable discovery of both new ways to approach the game or to simply allow cells clusters to bind naturally. I observed this and pondered whether the universe is inherently ordered or chaotic.

The music and sound effects only serve to enhance the meditative experience that Cell Bound provides. Not only is the game engaging and difficult to resist due to its functional design, it is also pleasing aesthetically, allowing the player to even create a “custom” set of colored cells with which to play. Cell Bound also explains its object and purpose well via clear instructions within the app.

The goal is to allow the cells to bind and stay cell bound, which again reflects on the subtle yet brilliant design by Hothead to keep the player spellbound. The overuse of the word “addictive” to describe apps is sometimes unappealing to me, but as I played Cell Bound, believing it to be relatively easy at first, it didn’t take much time for me to realize and appreciate the rapidly built difficulty and layered complexity of the game.

I have to admit, as I played and instantly became captivated by Cell Bound, I ceased to ponder my unanswered scientific questions. I wanted more time with my prized iPhone and greedily zoomed through the app’s universe at the speed of light to outdo my previous scores. After several rounds I acknowledged that dishes must be washed and dogs must be fed, but true to Cell Bound’s hook into the obsessive part of me, I can now say free of self-judgment (naturally), “My name is Monica, and I am a Cell Bound-aholic.”


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