This is a concept or project early in development

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Platforms: PC
Languages: English
Players: Single-player
Dec 6, 2012 @ 10:01am
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Syndemic is a randomly-generated action shooter game that emphasizes upgrades, quick reflexes, and microbial puzzle-solving in a biological setting.

Take control of a unique microbe that can dodge, tumble and weave through bodily tissues and avoid swarms of invasive pathogens. Accumulate a massive arsenal of antibiotic weaponry, upgrade your genome and cell structure, and unleash powerful metabolic abilities. Explore the human body, destroy invading diseases, assist the immune system, and ultimately, discover your origin and the fate of your host.


Syndemic is not intended to be true-to-life. My aim is to exaggerate the weirdness and coolness (and action) of real microbial ecology, and hopefully inspire players to dig deeper into the actual research that's out there.

My presentation of biology will be less about mechanics and more about the big-picture themes and ideas. However, in keeping with the spirit of science, the game will include 'Reality Checks' that point out inaccuracies within the game when compared to real-life biology. Some examples include:

“Viruses are actually much smaller than bacteria, and can range in size from 1/10 to 1/100 of a bacterium.”

“Bacteriophages are viruses that target bacteria specifically. They are highly specialized to attack individual strains.”

“The presence of pathogens in the bloodstream is a serious and potentially fatal condition called Septicemia. If untreated, it can lead to septic shock and organ failure."


Syndemic represents a fusion of elements from two of my favourite genres: the 'roguelike' (Diablo, Torchlight, Borderlands), and the 'shoot-em-up' (Gradius, R-Type). Unlike generic action RPGs, Syndemic does not wholly rely on statistics and numbers to determine your success in battle. Your reflexes and anticipation are just as important as the power of your weapons or the activation of your abilities. Likewise, unlike generic action shooters, mashing the fire button is not a guarantee of success – you must use the right tool for the right enemy, and adapt your style of play to the environment.

Planned Features:

- Randomly-generated levels and environments filled with microscopic enemies and biological hazards.

- Experience events inspired by real biology: chase down a cancer cell before it metastasizes, investigate prion sightings in the brain, clear cholesterol from the bloodstream, and guide immune cells to sites of infection.

- More than 100 possible antibiotic weapon combinations, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, including rare 'designer drugs' capable of mowing down dozens of enemies in a single blast

- Enlist or exploit the immune system; use the body's cells as shields, tools to solve puzzles, or feed them your slain enemies to gain powerful allies

- Stylized, living backgrounds that simulate the interior of the human body... travel the bloodstream, survive the stomach, and wage war in the brain!

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virotti Jan 16, 2015 @ 9:20am 
Saw this game on Desura and came here to give my thumbs up. Are you still far from greenlighting this cool game? Maybe if it was in a bundle it would be easier to get more votes. One question: does it have controller support?
Adjuvant  [author] Jan 19, 2013 @ 11:10am 
Yeah I agree with your assessment. I'm not quite sure how to define it myself, but I'm hoping once I get a more 'adventure-like' demo it will become clear to people where the roguelike elements come in. I think I would get criticized if I used the word RPG, because you're technically 'roleplaying' as a microbe which isn't really a typical character (and barely even a living organism!). It's not like you have to rescue microbe damsels or talk to friendly bacteria townsfolk after all.

So I guess the strictly roguelike elements would be:

- Random weapons, environments, bosses/events
- Permanent host death (the 'dungeons' you enter and fight through)

But this is all with real-time action and in a very different setting. I guess it's a sub-genre of the Action RPG, which is also sort of a sub-genre of the roguelikes?
MrSnowman Jan 16, 2013 @ 8:21am 
I was thinking about how you put Diablo Tourchlight and Borderlands as roguelikes (from what I read). But I see what you mean now, the RPG elements (random weapon generation, sortof) from those three games.

I still wouldn't say that's what defines a roguelike. I get the picture but I think it's more accurate to say that you have the RPG elements from those three games and that it is a roguelike (is it?).

It's weird you've made such a long and good descritpition of the game and I'm still confused, there must be something wrong with me. I like this though.
Adjuvant  [author] Jan 12, 2013 @ 1:29pm 
Action RPG with elements inspired by roguelikes.
MrSnowman Jan 12, 2013 @ 1:10pm 
"Syndemic represents a fusion of elements from two of my favourite genres: the 'roguelike' (Diablo, Torchlight, Borderlands),"
This is not what most people would refer to as a Roguelike.
Adjuvant  [author] Dec 13, 2012 @ 6:20am 

Yeah I should have mentioned that the 'jellybean' is just a placeholder, and that I'm still working on making a more interesting hero. Hopefully he will look similar to the logo, and I plan to have it so that his current 'equipment' is visible inside of him!

I want to have several classes of hero that all behave and handle differently. Like, a heavier one that accelerates slower but packs more of a punch, or a nimble one that can dart and dash more effectively.
DIGI Dec 13, 2012 @ 5:52am 
looks cool, but in all honesty, i wouldnt buy it UNLESS the hero can look cool, i dont want to play a game where you look likea flipping jelly bean

if im some sort of parasite or organism, you want to be unique, cool and changable, i want to look as cool as the games logo
Gorlom[Swe] Dec 9, 2012 @ 1:50pm 
AetherSquirrel Dec 8, 2012 @ 7:15am 
This looks really cool, it reminds me of a mix of Osmos and Asteroids.

I'm interested to see how you come along with it, good luck! I'm looking forward to that demo.
Adjuvant  [author] Dec 7, 2012 @ 1:45pm 

Thanks! It seemed like a no-brainer idea so I was kind of surprised that no one else had come up with something similiar (or maybe they have and I can't find it?). I'm trying to balance the scientific realism with fun, so not to piss off the scientists but still keep it accessible. I'm trying to get a demo out ASAP so hopefully people will understand the gameplay I'm going for.