Lysis: (n) the disintegration of a cell by rupture of the cell wall or membrane.

How long can you keep the viral cycle alive in this precise, high-skill arcade game?

Play as a bacteriophage virus with one purpose in life: reproduce. If you're familiar with biology, this is done through the lytic cycle, in which a virus injects its genetic code into a cell where it gets replicated. In Lysis it is up to you to see how many times you can loop this cycle before being destroyed by the dreaded immune system and its antibodies.


These are documented in-game as well.

  • Mouse: Charge and launch your bacteriophage virus, guide your RNA
  • Left Mouse Button: Click rapidly to inject your RNA, and have your RNA move faster once injected.
  • Right Mouse Button: Detach from a host or have your RNA move slower once injected.
  • M: Toggle Music.
  • F11: Toggle fullscreen.
  • F12: Hold to restart.
  • Escape: Hold to force-quit.
The Stages

This game is divided into three stages.

  1. Infect a host. Skillfully land your virus backwards onto a host cell, and click repeatedly to inject your RNA. Watch out, because there are a lot of antibodies out here, and the host cells themselves may attack you if you can't inject your RNA fast enough!
  2. Invade the Nucleus. Guide your RNA to the nucleus and munch away until you make an opening. The organelles will try to attack you, but your RNA can dissolve them. Watch out for ATP coming towards the nucleus, it will make it powerful and invincible!
  3. Defeat the DNA. Guide your RNA and munch at the tail of the cell's DNA. Last one standing wins, but you can only deal damage at the end of their strand.
Good luck! May the fittest survive!

Source is also included too. Feel free to learn from it.

So, how obvious is it that I know nothing about biology?

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  • Kwis
    Lv. 67

    Ended up with an high score of 10110!

    • I like the idea, but the complexity made it very difficult to get into. There was a lot going on in the tutorial, and now that I understand how the game works, I think I would have prefered concrete examples for the tutorial. Notably regarding the three different phases. I think the tutorial itself is also not in the best order in terms of information hierarchy: Would have preferred it to go from general to detail. First, mention three phases, then get into details for each with pictures showing what you're expected to do. In the end, I read a bit, thought it was too long, so I dived into gameplay thinking I'd figure it out. Then after my first death in the sea of confusion, I read through for the first phase. Managed to get into the second phase were I was utterly confused cause there is a lot going on! It took me a while to figure out that I could attack the things going, that I could avoid the big ball (forgot the name) going crazy, etc... So I read through the tutorial as I went on losing. Many players prefer playing by themselves and figuring out the control as they play, and this is my case. Basically it's like being thrown in a bowl filled with piranhas: If I didn't learn how to kill a piranha before hand, I can't really deal with that much at once. Terrible example but you see what I mean lol
    • Something to help with this is progressing elements by elements. When inside, just have one enemy. Have it easy. The first one should always be stupidly easy: that's the best way to make the player understand how the game works. By doing and succeding. Then can come the "lose and learn from your mistakes". It's generally too harsh to have this right from the start.
    • Understanding the game was made significantly harder by the amount of elements presents: Flashy colors, Moving background, a lot of elements switching from a color to the next. It's a mess that can be taken in control once you get used to it.
    • good game tho (not enough characters left to write more sorry)
    Night Fuss

    Night Fuss

  • Tero Hannula

    The idea was creative, though that background started to be a bit eyesore ^^" The music was good, the controls tok a bit to understand but it was also more interesting this way. Sometimes though there was just too many enemies to handle and the controls were bit too whacky to avoid them :s Nice entry overall, bit more informative :)



    • Mcwequiesk
      Lv. 10

      Thanks for the feedback! The controls (and some of the gameplay) could've been a little less convoluted, and number of enemies is one of things I didn't really have much time to work on.

  • Metroid3D
    Lv. 8

    Whacky and quite a lot of fun. One of the most unique games I've played in a while.

  • WangleLine 🌸

    Getting taught the entirety of the game's mechanics right at the start is a bit confusing, it would be much easier if it was split up into small segments that appear when the information is actually needed at that time, but other than that, I love the idea of a playable biology lesson, haha :D

    Night Fuss

    Night Fuss

  • trolog
    Lv. 6

    Wow this game is right up my street, I love bullet hell type games like this, and you had some really creative enemies, I also found it unusual moving as a heliex but so clever. I'm into viruses and how they insert DNA and how it can also insert mixed dna... Anyways on to the game.

    I think ultimately this game was really fun, and when I'm making games this is what I aim for.

    The music was good, but I think something a bit more urgent would have suited the style better.

    I felt the tutorial was very text heavy, it was presented nice, but it was a lot and for the first play through I felt confused but the 2-5th play through I had it down.

    My best score was 6450(ish) I love the difficulty increase, it's pretty hard to balance out games during game jams but you got this down pretty nice, and kept it within the theme.

    Well done.

    • Mcwequiesk
      Lv. 10

      Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!

      This is actually the first song I've made entirely myself for a gm48, and I'm quite happy with it. I debated getting more urgent tracks the deeper you go into a cell, but I just didn't have the time.

      If I could change one thing, it would definitely be the tutorial text. And honestly I didn't spend a long time testing the difficulty so I'm happy it feels alright!

  • CheekyChap
    Lv. 3

    Very nice art but can be a little overloading sometimes, however it's a enjoyable game to play peculiarity the way the way player attacks each part of down to the DNA level was great, and it meets the theme well.

  • Yosi
    Lv. 46

    I'm very impressed by this game! I love how the view keeps on changing as you get further into each cell. This game really fits the theme well!

    • Mcwequiesk
      Lv. 10

      Thanks! It was especially fun to do the changing backgrounds, this is one of the first time I've written my own shaders (even if they're just simple sinewaves). I'm glad you liked the game!

  • 89o
    Lv. 18

    First of all: Wow! What a great game! It's really fun to play, and the concept is great.

    Second of all: YAAAAWN, what a boring tutorial.

    Third of all: there was a strange bug where when I clicked in the game over screen, the Generations turned from 2 to 0.

    Fourth of all: Great job! I think you might win top 5 with this one too. ;)

    • Mcwequiesk
      Lv. 10

      Thanks a ton, I appreciate the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if the tutorial is a pain in the butt. That should have been much more concise.

      On the game over screen the number of generations decreases to 0 and adds 1000 to your score for each one, akin to a timer counting down. There's probably problems with it though, that's one aspect I didn't really test.

This was a fun game to make, and the first gm48 where I composed unique music, wrote and used my own shaders, and sat down and took it seriously. I stayed up for more of the 48 hours this time than I have in the past couple years of the jam.

I was concerned when the theme first came out: I didn't have any ideas cool or unique enough for me, so I wasted about 10 hours thinking and doing other stuff, until it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I wanted the game to originally be about computer viruses, but as I continued developing I realized that would be a little hard to do.

I would like to say that my planning worked out in the end. I went most of the development getting the player controls, effects, and game loop right, and actually programming in more enemies kinda took a back-burner. By the last day I did add as many enemies as I would've wanted, though. It was a little tricky balancing my time working on the three stages as well as the title screen, even though the title was much easier.

I'm happy with the end result. I'm afraid the game wouldn't make sense right away, or that the difficult increase is too sharp, or players wouldn't be able to grasp the controls, but based on player feedback it seems like those aren't fair concerns to have, and by having them I created the long and boring text tutorial, which is the one thing I would go back and change. Other than that, I love it and am super satisfied with it!

Result 9th