The initial idea behind Germiz was to make a casual game inspired by biology.
The challenge was to mix a casual game genre with some microscopic life features.
We wanted to provide different experiences depending on the player approach. Anybody should be able to play and enjoy Germiz as is, but the game could also be used to explain concepts like micro-organisms spreading, infections, mutations, stem cells …etc
So, is Germiz a casual game or educational game ?
Our goal is not to make an educational game at the price of fun and playability.
A good educational game is the one where the player learn without even noticing it. If Germiz can help young players to understand some microscopic life features, great!
Let’s say that it is a casual game for large public, with educational bonus for the youth 🙂
The most important is to enjoy playing it!
We wanted to use many interesting micro biology aspects in Germiz, while keeping the mechanics very simple.
The whole game is based on three core mechanics.
- Move to duplicate : a creature moving to a neighbor cell duplicates.
- Infect neighbor cells : After a creature move, if there are opponents in neighbor cells they get infected.
- Jump to spread : Some creatures have jump ability; they can spread to a distant spots. When a creature jumps, it won’t duplicate.
Jump can also be used to traverse obstacles like walls or holes.
The above mechanics are sufficient to gamify spreading, proliferate, cell-division, and infection. But we wanted more …
We wanted to gamify mutations, cell death and stem cells as well, and make those concepts easy to understand for children.
Gamification of biology concepts
One obvious implementation of mutation concept is the jump ability : this mechanic is not initially available but acquired through mutation.
Next concept was apoptosis : the cell-suicide. In order to gamify this concept we introduced life points.
Creatures with life points lose one point each turn except if they move. To stay alive, a creature must keep moving to renew its life points.
Stem cells are used in Germiz boss levels : A boss is a cell that can’t fight but have the ability to give rise to other enemy creatures. The player have to kill the stem cell in order to stop the opponent proliferation.
With the core mechanics and the above features we had the basics of a pretty cool strategy casual game.
Next we had to entertain the player through attractive level design, gameplay variants and more game features.
More mutations! More variations!
Next we wanted to give more depth to the gameplay, while keeping the same defined rules.
The life points feature opens new possibilities for mutations, we implemented new ones:
- Kamikaze mutation which cause a cell to explode and destroy all surrounding instead of just dying.
- Wall mutation which transform a dead cell to an obstacle.
To vary the challenges, we used three level types :
- Dominate the organism : The creature with the higher population wins
- Collectibles : The player needs to collect certain cells to win.
- Kill the targets : The player wins by killing all cells of certain type.
Some levels are limited in number of moves, others are time limited, to give the player different experiences and challenge his estabilished strategies.
The first public version features four worlds with a total of 60 levels, each world ends with a boss level.
More levels, mutations and challenges are already planed.