You might know the game ‘Space Invaders’ developed in the late 70s by the software company Taito where you fly a starship and shoot all those bad aliens invading from space.  (  

Well, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have thought about modifying this idea of a ‘shoot ‘em up’ video game and shoot the Corona virus instead of aliens with a vaccine syringe (or later on, a bottle of disinfectant spray)!

And so, Covid Invasion was born (see Figure 1)!

Figure 1: Title page of Covid Invasion

Programmed by us completely in Python using pygame and standard available Python libraries, we had a lot of fun developing this game and also testing it by playing. Consider it as a sort of anger management and coping strategy during the lockdown :). Check out some in game footage from the game:

Covid Invasion in-game footage

Here is the simple game plot: The player (that’s you) is a syringe flying through 40 levels packed with fleets of Corona viruses and shooting them with vaccine shots (see Figure 2). The goal is to survive all 40 levels without getting caught by the virus and shoot all of these evil Coronas to gain your best high score.

Figure 2: Playing Covid Invasion

During your journey, you will encounter three types of viruses flying from the right hand side of the screen towards you on the left hand side (see Figures 3 and 4):

The ‘standard’ green virus is the standard SARS-CoV-2 virus, but there are two mutants, either red or yellow viruses behaving more randomly like the green ones – very similar to the real-life pandemic, isn’t it?

As you reach higher levels, the movements of the viruses change slightly, making them behave more oddly. Furthermore, the viruses become faster and more difficult to shoot. When you miss shooting a virus and it passes you reaching the left side of the screen or it collides with your syringe, you lose a syringe (‘life’). You only have three syringes in total, so when losing all three syringes, you lose the game. That’s why you have to keep moving and shooting the viruses without getting caught by them.

Figure 3: The Three Corona virus types in the game – watch out!
Figure 4: Meeting with a renegade yellow mutant in the virus fleet

Besides tackling the viruses as a syringe, you automatically change the shape to a disinfectant spray for a limited time when having shot a certain amount of red viruses, which can kill many viruses nearly batch wise. Or even better, you can wipe all viruses off the screen at once by simply catching a mask dropped by some of the yellow renegade viruses at level 15 and above (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Your two best friends – the mask and disinfectant spray

So there is quite a lot of action in the game and you have to skill yourself while playing it to become a professional virus killer (see Figure 6). Luckily, you can select between three difficulty levels: ‘Easy’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Hard’, each of these levels differing only in the speed of your syringe and the viruses attacking you. So don’t get overwhelmed when taking your first adventures in playing this game. (NOTE: The ‘Hard’ difficulty level is really that – hard!)

Figure 6: In the middle of the action!

If you are now curious and want to give the game a try by yourself, you can download Covid invasion here for free:

(Update: Version 1.1 with minor bug fixes, Apr 30, 2021)

System requirements

Windows 10, 64-Bit Version (if you would like to have a build for a 32-Bit machine, let us know in the comment section below).


The covid_invasion.exe is not digitally signed, therefore Google Chrome and Microsoft SmartScreen may block it if you try to start it. In that case, do the following:

In Chrome:

If Chrome blocks the downloaded file, click on the arrow to the right of the file and select ‘Keep’. Then, click the file.

In the SmartScreen dialog window:

Click on ‘More info’ and then on the ‘Run anyway’ button. Don’t worry, the executable is safe!

Have fun and happy virus killing!


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