Robots are everywhere, they’re going to sing metal at you, and you’re going to shoot them.
Level 2: The Virus Master marks the return of John Bell and Lazy Brain Games. After a brief hiatus from game creation due to some real life setbacks, Bell took some time off the job. Now he’s back and better than ever, and we should all be very thankful.
The Virus Master could be summed up as Galaga-turned-music video, but that would still be selling it short. It’s a score based shmup where robots pour from every corner, and you have to take them down as fast as you can. Split into four unique sections, Virus Master offers varied environments and plenty of bosses you’ll have to destroy over the course of its short run time. One playthrough will take you five minutes to complete, but chances are you’ll play it more than once to unlock the bonus stage, achieved by obtaining a near perfect score.
The soundtrack is composed by progressive metal band, Last Chance to Reason, and the game integrates music into the game in a way that reminded me of Child of Eden, and I loved Child of Eden. Enemies move to the music, and the soundtrack feels so smartly integrated into the game that it really makes the whole thing amazing to see in action. The shooting and score mechanics are already very good to begin with, but the additional layer the music adds makes it that much more special. The fact that a tiny team was able to recreate even a small portion of one of my favorite game experiences is incredible, and reinforces how totally worth your time it would be to check it out.
I would definitely drop more cash down to play more stages themed to new tracks, but I’m not sure how feasible that would be after seeing how much work has gone into creating this perfect five minute experience. Get the game from Lazy Brain Game’s itch.io page, and pay whatever you think is fair. I love John Bell’s previous work, especially Time Squid, and I definitely want to support him to see what he can do next.