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Video Game / Always Cells at Work!

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It’s almost a foregone conclusion that most popular Shōnen anime and manga series will get some kind of Video Game adaptation at some point in their existence. After all, the themes of many popular Shonen manga are tailor-made for action-game adaptations: exploring, fighting, and various assorted heroics. So it’s not altogether surprising that Cells at Work! would get a game of its own, despite the title being heavier on Edutainment than two-fisted action.

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Produced by Aniplex and programmed by Glasshead, Always Cells at Work! (Itsudemo Hataraku Saibou) is a 2019 Video Game released for Japanese mobile devices. The game has two modes of play: in the first, players must guide Red Blood Cell through the city streets while clearing her path of obstacles and pathogens. The second and primary mode is a Tower Defense game where players deploy various Cells, each with their own unique attributes and abilities, to stem a germ invasion.

Despite being reasonably well-received by fans, the game ended services at the end of January 2020, after only 10 months of existence. No explanation was given for the shutdown.

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Always Cells At Work! contains examples of:

  • Close-Range Combatant: Killer T, NK Cell, and Effector T all specialize in getting up-close and personal with enemy antigens.
  • Cutscene: Rather than adapt existing source material, Always offers an original story presented through Visual Novel-style cutscenes.
  • Edutainment: Even as a video game, Always faithfully follows the Cells at Work! ethos, weaving explanations of human physiology and health into its narrative whenever possible.
  • Licensed Game: Always was created to cross-promote with the Cells at Work! manga and its accompanying anime, which was released around the same time.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Mast Cell and B-Cell are most effective working in the back with their ranged weapons. Eosinophil and Macrophage, who both fight at medium distance, are downplayed examples.
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  • Microtransactions: While Glucose is the game's primary currency obtained through gameplay, players can use real money to purchase Energy, which can be used to buy higher-level Cells and items.
  • Stone Wall: White Blood Cell, Basophil, and Monocyte are front-line fighters with high defense.
  • Super-Deformed: While the characters are full-sized when they appear in cutscenes, they appear as chibi versions of themselves during the actual gameplay segments.
  • Support Party Member: Some cells, like Red Blood Cell and Platelet, have no combat capabilities but can offer buffs and defensive support to the combat specialists.
  • Tower Defense: The primary mode of the game is a tower-defense mode somewhat reminiscent of games like Plants vs. Zombies, in which you "purchase" and place Cells in order to stop oncoming hordes of antigens.

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