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Cellular Harvest is like Pokémon Snap but everything is slimy

VIDEO: Why you should play Cellular Harvest. Also on YouTube (opens in new tab).

Here are some of the creatures I took photos of in Cellular Harvest: pulsating sky-jellyfish; eyeballs on stalks; leech-faced fish with bioluminescent fins; weird slugs. If you thought Pokémon Snap could do with more weird slugs then Cellular Harvest is for you.

As an astronaut with a booster-jet backpack, you are the rare videogame protagonist whose ability to double-jump makes sense. You use it to explore an alien planet on behalf of a corporation that, years before, seeded this world with life. Your job is to document the life that's evolved since then so that it can be evaluated and exploited. The various worms, bugs, and spiky birds you find might produce chemicals that can be turned into medicine, or have military applications, or make excellent toothpaste. The possibilities are endless, as are the potential profits.

There are plenty of photography games on PC, like Umurangi Generation and Pupperazzi, and I've spent a substantial amount of the time I should be saving the world in Mass Effect Legendary Edition just toying with its photo mode. Cellular Harvest is different. It's not about taking well-aimed shots of cool creatures and colorful skies (though it does have purple or green skies, depending which version you play). It's about hopping across pillars and squirming through tunnels and splashing through ponds while you figure out whether the tubular worm creature with the lolling tongue has any commercial value. It's a gross world full of gross things, but maybe the job you're here to do is grosser than any of them.

Cellular Harvest is available on Steam (opens in new tab) and on itch.io (opens in new tab), where you can choose to play a green or purple edition depending on your preference for alien sky color.

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.