Immune Attack

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Immune Attack Game Poster Image
Educational adventure makes biology thrilling.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The biggest takeaway from this game is that science is way cool. Kids shouldn't look at an educational experience as something wonky and boring, but as a chance for excitement.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The doctors and scientists that run mission control in the game are intellegent heroes. They use their brains to aid their compassionate mission, which is to save the life of a patient with an impaired immune system.

Ease of Play

Steering your nanobot through veins and arteries isn't the easiest task in the world. Although you can use the keyboard for movement, it's definitely less frustrating to use a mouse.


While the white blood cells do "eat" the invading bacteria, this is depicted in realistic cellular-level animation (i.e., no monsterous jaws, cartoonish fighting, or invented weaponry). The attacks aren't violent, they're enlightening.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this free Windows game is technically science fiction, it's entirely based in real science, and works well as an educational tool. Hearing the concept -- a microscopic robot that swims through someone's bloodstream to help stop invading bacteria -- may give you the impression that the game involves cartoonish bacteria monsters or that the bot shoots lasers at the enemy cells to kill them, but that's not the case. The nanobot you control is there simply to aid the ailing immune system; it tracks and marks the bacteria and trains the white blood cells to find them.

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What's it about?

IMMUNE ATTACK is a free educational PC game created by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), meant to teach players about the working of the human immune system while entertaining them in the process. The game's story centers around an immune-impaired patient who will die as the result of a bacterial infection unless his while blood cells are "trained" to deal with the invading bacteria. A team of scientists injects a nanobot into the patient's bloodstream, which the player steers around, tracking down invading cells, marking them, and making sure they're properly targeted by the white blood cells.

Is it any good?

The amount of scienctific knowledge passed on in Immune Attack can seem daunting to adults: You need to transform a monocyte into a macrophage, mark C3a chemical trails, target pseudomonas, releases CXCL8 signals to summon a neutrophil, and so on. It sounds like the kind of overly-technical gibberish that would immediately turn kids off. But that's only because we are adults. Kids love overly-technical sounding gibberish. If we heard kids talking about adding Bulbasaur to their Pokédex and evolving a Charmander into a Charizard, we might think the same thing, but that's just Pokémon. By turning this biology lesson into the kind of game that kids will enjoy -- the "landscape" and environments are beautifully alien and the story is played out with much suspense -- young players will happily absorb the accompanying data. While it's true that the controls can be a bit difficult to use at times, you can't complain too much, as the game is indeed free.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the value of educational video games. How much can children really learn from playing a game? Can a game like this one, in which the science is boldly front and center, be enjoyed as simple entertainment? Or will it be impossible for kids to look at it as anything other than a school assignment in sheep's clothing?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure and simulations

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