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Rating: 4.4/5 (205 votes)
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DoraCellCraftIt turns out destruction is imminent for the homeworld of platypus biologists Spike and Syndey, and it's up to you to save them!... the part of "you" here being played by a cell in the first stages of its growth, barely able to defend itself against incoming threats or generate enough energy to move. Just like that one meteor movie with Bruce Willis! CellCraft is one part resource management, one part puzzle, one part strategy, and even one part funny. Oh, and did I mention? It's (*gasp!*)... educational!

The game, created by CellCraft Team (Anthony Pecorella, Lars Doucet, Chris Gianelloni, and Hibiki Harutois), is primarily controlled with the mouse, clicking and dragging on the outer area of your cell to move it, and clicking on the various buttons on screen to create new enzymes or perform other actions. Most of the game is actually given over to resource management; your cell needs both Nucleic Acid and Amino Acids to perform most actions, and initially you'll need to pick both acids up by moving over them, but eventually you'll be able to generate your own. Sort of. Not well versed in the respected field of "Making Cells Do Stuff What Is All Scientific Like"? Don't worry. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the educational capabilities of a platypus, but it turns out Spike and Sydney do an excellent job detailing the controls and finer points of cell growth as you go along. Before long, you'll be generating and recycling enzymes with the best of 'em!

The game is broken up into levels, each of which introduces new elements to the gameplay, and has new challenges to overcome as the story progresses and you move to new environments with new threats. If you find your eyes glazing over during the short periods the game takes to describe the nitty-gritty of how cells actually work, don't worry; most of it is just there to provide you with extra information, should you so desire it, and can usually be skipped. As long as you're comfortable with the notion that, somewhere, you're making your fifth grade teacher cry.

Analysis: If you ask me, two of the greatest stealth educators of all time have to be Bill Nye and Alton Brown. It's sort of sad that in some cases have to be sneaky about imparting knowledge via entertainment, like telling your dog you're going to the park when you're really going to the V-E-T; it seems like calling something "educational" is a good way to get someone to skim right past it. Of course, as far as "stealth" goes, CellCraft ignores that bit, because after a few minutes of play you'll probably have learned or relearned at least the very basics of what you should have already picked up in junior high biology. The game mostly does a very good job at mixing the knowledge in with the actual gameplay, which is actually pretty captivating once you get the hang of it. The tutorial is very good at popping up just when you need it, so you rarely wind up feeling overwhelmed. Despite being an educational title, CellCraft also knows not to hold your hand too much, so the challenge level is fairly nice and constant.

CellCraftOf course, that said, there's a weird disassociation between the between chapters cinematics and the gameplay itself. While it is quirky, weird, and cute, it sort of feels like it's just there to lighten up the gameplay, as if the developers felt it wouldn't be received as well without the cartoonish aspect and tucked in your furry hosts. Make no mistake; Sydney and Spike are adorable in the way that only one of nature's most ridiculous creatures can be, but they still feel a little out of place here... especially during the gameplay itself when they just spew biology at you while staring straight ahead like furry robots.

A lot of people are unfortunately going to pass by this game because of its relatively dry and slow first few stages. CellCraft has its audience, and if you're a fan of strategy, or even platypus, this is probably the game for you. With its relatively slow gameplay, it isn't what you'd call action-packed, but it's not trying to be. It sets out to be a surprisingly complex and smart title to educate as much as it entertains, and for the most part, it succeeds. The amount of work put into it by its talented crew is more than a little impressive, and the end result is something that should keep you busy (and thoughtful) for quite some time.

Play CellCraft


I think I'm too stupid to play that game. I'm confused and I'm not even through the tutorial.

Jed Macosko July 12, 2010 10:58 AM

Don't give up, Pete! You, too, can have the fun of fending off the evil viral hoards. Once you get past level 2, you'll feel like a pro!


Fun game! I played through the whole thing, but I still don't understand the grades you get at the end of each viral wave. I've gotten everything from an A+ to a D, and didn't really change my strategy at all.


dang robot! the space stage is sooo hard!


Really fun game! I think the grade you get for the viral waves depends on how well you do...how many new viruses spawn and escape from the cell.


Wow, very impressive! This is one of the best educational games I've ever played. My memory of the details was vague at best. Hopefully a lot of kids, and adults for that matter, get a chance to play this. Are there any translations (e.g. German)? Keep up the good work!


On level 6 (after being launched into space), I keep failing. I can't get enough FA to build an economy, so I run out of ATP and die.

How do I get more FA? At the beginning of the level I spend all the FA I have on chloroplasts and disable my mitochondria, but I still don't build FA very fast.


This reminds me of super energy apocalypse.


im still looking for a guide, i think its too hard )= should have easy/medium/hard mode =P
anyways, good game, very well done!

Sesquiped July 12, 2010 7:45 PM

Wow, this game was designed by biologists, or people who did their research.

Pretty fun game, not too hard, I thought, and it had a cute ending, to boot. I wish it was longer.

Astinjei July 12, 2010 8:00 PM

At first glance I thought, hey, great game, why didn't I find this before my final exams? After playing it through, I'm quite happy that I didn't. Sure, great information, but so much of the educational part was sacrificed for the gaming part that the inaccuracies started bugging me at some point. I could rant about this all day long, but I will spare you.

Despite the inaccuracies, I liked this game. I would have liked to see more levels, though.

tigrita July 12, 2010 8:23 PM

Ezra, here's my Level 6 strategy that's worked for me a few times:

First, I don't add any mitochondria or chloroplasts. I also keep the cell's membrane the same size. Next, I make sure to have 3 peroxisomes (2 for the chloroplast, 1 for the mitochondrion) and set the ER to automatically replace them. Then I start building up my lysosomes and defensins. I tend to get about 8-10 lysosomes and 3-5 defensins until I run out of AA. After that, I cruise around looking for more AA to gradually build more until I eventually max them out. Remember that the protection from the defensins can only go up to 50% (which means you only need 8 of them if you haven't increased your cell's size). I wait until the viruses actually show up to build slicer enzymes with whatever's left over. And when I've got my 8 defensins and 25 lysosomes, I just sit and wait for the rest of the viruses (so I don't waste ATP moving around) and replace my slicer enzymes or lysosomes whenever needed

Hopefully this helps!


That's because it was made by the same people/person.


Awesome game! I knew most of this biology, but it was really fun to experience from a cell's POV. Excellent!

If you're having trouble with the deep space stage, I beat it by not defeating the first wave of viruses for a long time. I just didn't build any defenses except slicer enzymes, and I never built more of those than there were viruses. That way, my chloroplasts got to hang out in the sunlight for half an hour. Once your cell has lots of resources, it becomes a pretty easy level. Cheap? Yes, but it worked.


Thanks, tigrita! That worked much better!


Blah! Ugh! The tutorial levels were very easy. Then it jumped to soul crushingly hard. One of the worst games that I have played in a very long time. I love the idea behind this game but the execution was severely lacking. Challenge is great so long as you aren't going up against nukes using a pea shooter.

Anonymous July 12, 2010 10:39 PM

I can't get past the level where you are swallowed by the crodidile. Any hints? I normally build up my fatty acids at the beginning by getting lots of glucose, then I get some acids. I build up my slicer enzymes and my lysozomes and keep getting more glucose. Then the viruses come and I do everything I am supposed to but I can't keep up. I really love this game but I wish I could see the ending.

vole-in-hand July 12, 2010 11:29 PM

There's a tip in the encyclopedia: if you reduce your cell size, you boost your Defensin concentration. (And get bonus fatty acids)

To win on the crocodile level, take it slow, don't make venom too fast. (lol is the croc's immune system made of viruses?)

And remember, get as much Glucose as you can. (It should be obvious, if you don't eat you starve!)


I won. It doesn't seem very long -- it could use a few more levels between the last Monotremus level and the first space level, then maybe one more after the crocodile for something about growing a platypus.

I'm not clear what being big does for you, besides increased sight range.

Anonymous July 13, 2010 3:32 AM

Being big increases your max hp, and the increased size can help out with free radicals and stuff. But for the most part, being big is a waste of resources.

Besides the croc lvl, I found the levels very easy. After setting up your cell, the only thing you need to manage is to repopulate your splicers. The rank for the viral outbreaks depends on how fast and how much damage you took.
Some hints for the crocodile lvl.

Remember you can recycle your parts. Those chloroplasts aren't doing much good, so just those them into the blender for resources and just grab sugar from inside.
Each toxin gives 2%, so you'll need to make 50 of them. There are additional viral outbreaks at 10%, 25%, 50%, 80%, and a final at 100%. (I think...) You don't need to defeat them all as long as you can last a bit after it gets to 100%. Don't try to fight multiple outbreaks at once, though it might be easier to just spam a lot of toxins at once and just try to hold out for a bit.


I'm stuck in the cold level. The heat increases too slowly and I don't have enough ATP (for the viruses and the toxins). Help?


Nevermind, forgot I could clone the cells.


I really liked this game.
No biological background here, so I can't comment on how accurate it was, but the gameplay was good anyway. :)

One thing that may or may not be a bug that I came across on level 7:

When you get to a certain temperature, viruses start appearing. Wave, countdown, wave, countdown, etc.
I was concentrating too much on fighting them off and forgot to keep watch on the temperature.
It dropped below some threshold and that made the viruses stop appearing.
However, once I warmed up again they never came back. I could then heat myself up in peace.

Anonymous July 13, 2010 4:05 PM

Thanks for all the tips, I was able to reach the end and I found it very clever.

Anthony Pecorella July 14, 2010 10:55 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone! (this is Anthony from the CellCraft team, in case it doesn't show my name since I'm a guest)

Astinjei - I'd be very curious to know which inaccuracies you're referring to. We did our best to maintain accuracy, though we did certainly take a few liberties. It'd be good for us to at least be able to have an encyclopedia page of "here's what's not quite accurate" though - would you mind contacting me with any specific complaints/corrections? You can leave me a shout on Kongregate or Newgrounds (username CellCraft on both), leave a post on our forum (www.cellcraftgame.com/forums), or email me at cellcraft at gmail dot com. Thanks!

TheRealTJ July 14, 2010 9:20 PM

There seriously need to be more edutainment games like this. Not only is the game fun, but the educational bits are actually vital to gameplay.


I love how I finally understand how the rough and smooth E.R. work (if they are described accurately here).
I think the gameplay gets a bit tedious, or maybe my computer's slow.
The first space level, with the robot's viruses, was the hardest for me. I was low on health, so ATP kept on being automatically used for regaining health. Then, I couldn't make anything else very easily to defend myself. I finished the level, though, and I never died.
I wonder what happens if you die - is there some dialogue? I wanted the robot to be evil.
Sorry if this is too poorly-constructed of a comment.


It's been pointed out on the biology education web site PandasThumb that the game lists two prominent creationists as being responsible for the game:
" Also thanks to Dr. Jed Macosko at Wake Forest University and Dr. David Dewitt at Liberty University for providing lots of support and biological guidance."
The game's premise is that of intelligent design creationism. Evolution is conspicuously absent, replaced by intelligent designers.

Could the game's creators comment on this please? What was the role of Macosko and Dewitt? Why were they used in the development? Would it be possible to correct the problem and make the game ideologically/politically neutral and just referencing the science?


Well... I certainly feel prepared for my next science class.


This has been a really enjoyable game. I have interest in science, and I found the game a fun and challenging experience. Much better than the only other cell-controlling game I know, PBS Kids' "Lifeboat to Mars".

A suggestion for Level 8, Indigestion (final level, contains the crocodile).

Use what you have to get 4 peroxisomes (never heard of them before this game), 5 defensins, 2 mitochondria (fun fact: dressed up as a mitochondrion for Halloween '07! Really cute.)and 2 chloroplasts, 20-30 slicer enzymes (replace when level drops significantly) and some 20 lysosomes.

Now, go around and collect as much glucose and amino acids as you can. Try to fill yourself up so much that your excess glucose gets converted to fat. Keep yourself stuffed until you get 50 fat. By then, you should hopefully have 2000-plus AA and over 5000 ATP (Well, I had this, anyway). Then, create as many toxins as you can all at once (up-tempo music not required, but awesome nonetheless). Even though a bunch of virii (the offical plural for "virus" is "virii", not "viruses") are chasing after you and storming in like heck, your toxin-happy spree will get you coughed up out of the crocodile just in time.

Only tried once.

5/5 stars.


(the offical plural for "virus" is "virii", not "viruses")

No, it isn't. See Wikipedia for a detailed discussion, or alternatively check any reputable dictionary. "Viruses" is correct, "virii" is not.


Grrr. I can't beat level 7. Any suggestions?

Cell Crafter July 19, 2010 1:23 AM

@Mike - I don't see this as a game either for or against creation NOR for or against evolution. Never saw a single mention of that whole debate throughout the game. It is a fun _GAME_. My recommendation is to try and not to read into it so much and just enjoy it.

@Radium - Spoiler tags would have been nice but the tips were quite helpful.

One thing I would add to Radium's guide for the final level is that you really have to crank out toxin FAST. Make sure you count to 50 - stopping halfway through is a quick way to die. Doing all 100 toxins at once requires LOTS of FA, AA, and ATP. I didn't have enough of something my first time around and therefore died. It also seems like the longer you play the level, the more enemies that get thrown at you. Eventually, you will be overwhelmed.

Level 7 (Cold level):

There were only three waves of viruses for me, I defeated those and then spent the rest of the time figuring out how to warm up. I ended up with three mitochondria and two chloroplasts. One mitochondria made ATP while the other two warmed up the cell. Moving around the level uses up ATP but can acquire much needed sugars. Once the viruses stopped coming, I was able to recycle the various defenses and get FA. Took about 20 minutes or so to complete. The level could do with maybe one round of viruses and then let them figure out how to warm up instead of having multiple waves. I found level 7 to be slightly harder than the final level.

Overall, good ramp up in difficulty and fun game. The "videos"/cutscenes were funny and clever.


Level 7 is actually really easy.

Divide your chloroplasts and mitochondria untill you have 3 of them both. Use 2 mitochondria for heat and 1 for ATP (untill you have about 1000 ATP, then use that one too for heat).
Make 15 slicer enzymes and make sure you have 4-5 peroxisomes.
Just recycle all of your lysosomes (:

Make sure that your Glucose-level won't drop too low. If you reach 2 or 1, disable 1 mitochondrium and wait a while until the G hits 5-6 again.

This way I just had enough heat before the second virus wave started :D

Anthon y July 20, 2010 1:08 PM

Hmmm - Need more lysosomes to recycle a mitochondrion or chloroplast in order to recover some nucleic acids. Trouble is... I need some nucleic acids to build more lysosomes.

A deadly handshake.


Ha! Finally beat it after a week or so of trying.

The last level is pretty easy once you get a strategy. Focus on defensive strategy and get the max amount of lysosomes and defensins, then search everywhere for glucose so you can get enough fatty acids to make acid all at once and will only have to make it through about 1 virus wave.


Mike here says that two creationists are listed as creators of the game. That might be a joke. The in-game encyclopedia does not shy away from evolution. The chloroplast page mention how chloroplasts may have once been independent bacteria who evolved into more complex cells together with other organisms.


I can't beat level 8. I just can't make enough toxins before the viruses kill me even with the max amount of lysosomes and I can't get the max amout of defensins before the viruses start coming.


i got to the end of level 7 in about half a hour but level 8 may be impossible. I've been stuck on this level for the last 3 hours!!


to beat lvl 8 you make ten lysosomes and recyle a chloroplaste and one mitochondrie and then reycle 3 lysosomes and make a peroxisome and wait till the timer hits zero then make as many toxins as you can.

kyle vedder December 13, 2010 6:07 PM

i cant get enough fatty acids can you help me?

noididn't June 4, 2011 11:36 AM

I'm having trouble at level 6. Can you guys help me out? I don't know how to produce glucose efficiently. Now, how do I get past with the 6th level? :(


level 7 (croc), build 10 lisosoms and recycle your chloroplasts(screen will apear saying that you can't win level without them, it's a lie, there is only 10% light in the croc), it should give you enough resouces to start with, eat as much glucoses and don't start building toxins until you have your defences up and ready.(at least 12-14 lysosoms and 25-30 slicers)

level 6, 3 mytohondries are a must, also, 2-3 chloroplasts, don't waste "gold" on defences.

hope this helps..


Box pops up: You've got fatty acids! Teehee.


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