When I was a kid, I saw the movie “Fantastic Journey,” and ever since then, I have wondered what it would be like to be a cell traveling around the human body and how it would react to the different mechanisms that make the body function. Well, thanks to Room 8 Studios, I can finally find out. Sort of. Room 8 Studios’ Cyto, puts you into the role of a little cell that has lost all of his memories but somehow needs to regain those memories in order to save his world from a looming threat. Taking place in a beautiful, strange and dangerous world, Cyto tasks players with recovering the lonely little cells memories across more than 100 levels of mind bending puzzles. Recovering these memories will take cunning and skill as the action takes place against a haunting atmospheric backdrop, complete with unique gameplay mechanics, an engaging narrative and an original soundtrack created by Grammy Award nominated artist David Ari Leon.
Just a normal day in the life of a cell.
Gameplay in Cyto consists of flinging the main character across beautiful, other-worldly levels to collect memory fragments and piece together his story. Each level contains three memory fragments that you must collect in order to open up the clues to what has happened to Cyto and his world. Initially, Cyto can only attach himself to one other cell and fling his way through the levels. As you work your way through the levels, Cyto will learn other abilities such as how to attach to two cells at once to fling himself even greater distances as well as how to use fast moving currents to get to hard to reach locations. There are also obstacles like spiny cells that kill you on contact as well as rogue portals that will fling you to your doom. Using puzzle-solving skills, different abilities and elements and a good aim will help you to conquer each level on your way to delivering Cyto’s world from its impending doom.
The visuals in Cyto are a big part of the charm that this game possesses. Levels are done in a really cool, brightly colored, cartoon-ish looking style that makes you feel like you are playing an animated movie at times. While Cyto is just a little blue cell with big eyes, the environments that he has to maneuver around in are stunning to look at and pulls you into this world where dangers are just a fling away. Cyto lives in a beautiful, dreamlike, effervescent world that is filled with lots of viruses, hostile organisms and mysterious anomalies that make up the many levels that you will have to complete in order to figure out what is going on in this world. The visuals in this game really help to immerse you into the narrative and is a nice change of scenery from the typical browns and greys that is seen in most triple-A titles today.
Situations can get very “spiny” really quick.
The music in Cyto is a real high point for this quirky, puzzle game and the people at Room 8 Studios suggests that you wear headphones in order to really appreciate the artistic nuances that the tunes that play in each area has to offer. Tasked with creating the haunting and atmospheric soundtrack was Grammy nominated David Ari Leon. Leon is known for using cutting-edge sonic palettes that range from soothing instrumental soundscapes to electrifying hard rock anthems. Most recently, he has brought his signature blend of acute classical expertise and emotive pop ethos to countless video games, TV shows, films and albums. In Cyto, Leon has created a soundtrack that is all at once haunting and surreal and these tunes are sure to play over and over in your mind even when you are not playing the game.
Cyto has been a breath of fresh air for me in regards to the puzzle games that I have had the pleasure to experience as of late. The idea to navigate a little single cell around in an environment that the cell would be found in is a unique take on a puzzle game and the premise works to spectacular results. The action of simply flinging Cyto from destination to destination while avoiding dangers is a novel way to have the user interact with the game in an attempt to solve the puzzles. The collection of the memories is where the game really shines in that it forces you to think strategically about how to collect all of the memories and not just to try and exit the level as soon as possible. The fun happens in Cyto as you are trying to determine the best routes to take to collect the memories and then be left with an available method to exit the level.
Bonus levels can be really challenging but are very satisfying when you figure them out.
Cyto currently offers four outrageously designed worlds with each world containing 32 levels and 4 bonus levels. Each world also has a specific tune that plays in the background of each of the available levels. Puzzles range in difficulty from easy to more difficult so obviously at some point you will have to replay a level a few times in order to execute your method on exiting the level in a successful manner so listening to the one song that plays in each world for so long can get a little monotonous. Especially if you are playing the game with your headphones on. However, not so much that you won’t keep trying to collect each memory and to discover the solution to each of the levels anyway. It would have been really nice, though, to have a few more selections in the soundtrack just to make the song list a little more interesting. That is the only thing that keeps Cyto from getting a perfect score in my opinion but other than that minor blemish, it is an excellent game through and through.