Videogames are all about doing what you can’t do in real life: restoring order in a messed up world.
In Spider-Man, you sling your way around New York City thwarting criminals. In Wolfenstein, you defeat the nazis. And in City Shield, you rid your home town of a deadly virus, allowing your fellow citizens to emerge from lockdown and breathe the sweet air of freedom.
City Shield Defender is a touchscreen arcade shooter with a public health mission. Inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic, the game sees you tapping on your screen to eliminate airborne viruses rising from surfaces.
These surfaces exist in a variety of settings, starting with your very own kitchen before progressing to the park, the coffee shop, the office, and so on. As you clear these stages you earn points to spend on unlocking new areas of your city, thus lifting lockdown.
Exterminating a deadly airborne virus is no picnic, of course. As you stab at the viral particles that patrol the stages you’re constantly exposed to the danger of infection, with treacherous strands of rogue DNA threatening to attack your lungs and overwhelm your system.
Your aim, therefore, is stave off serious lung damage, followed by death, until you’ve unlocked the next area of the city. There are eight of these areas in total.
City Shield Defender isn’t explicitly about Covid-19, because that would violate Google’s policies regarding Covid-related content on the Play Store.
But it’s clearly about the current pandemic and the associated lockdown – something the developer was affected by, just as most of us have been. It gives players a sense of agency as they fight back against the virus that has dominated world affairs throughout 2020.
It’s fun, too, with punchy arcade gameplay and a rad ‘80s soundtrack. You can download City Shield Defender on the Google Play Store for $1.99 right now. You can also find the game’s official site here.