GAME REVIEW: Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. Screen 1Do you ever look around and think that there are just too many people in the world? People who get in your way, rob the planet of resources and generally make a real nuisance of themselves? Then this game just might scratch that itch.

Plague Inc. is a pandemic simulator which sees you try to engineer your own pathogen and try to infect the world’s population as widely as possible before the pesky humans start to engineer a cure. What seems a simple premise soon unravels to reveal a surprisingly multi-layered game, with all manner of paths and options available to you.

After the screen in which you can name your virus (cue the option for the world to be infected by the “Cuddlebug” virus or any other hilarious name you can think of), you have the option to alter the DNA of your bug. You can unlock various options by playing through, or you can go the microtransaction route of purchasing something. On purchasing any single thing in the Android version however, the full game unlocks totally, which for around 65p is a fair deal in my opinion.

The next screen lets you choose which country to unleash your patient zero case, and then, you watch and wait. News items flash up at the top of the screen and tiny boats and planes zoom across the world. After awhile, you might hear a coughing sound effect and the number of infected rises slowly. While you wait, small bubbles appear with DNA strands or biohazard signs. Tapping these grants you more DNA to use in the process of evolving your pathogen. Entering the Disease screen, it soon becomes apparent how many options you have. You can evolve the transmission qualities, making it travel further and easier. You can alter and introduce symptoms, and also give the virus new abilities that help it evade a cure for longer. Everything is unlocked via the DNA you collect in-game.

The aim of the game is to try to create a truly effective pathogen; one that infects the maximum number of people, and causes untold casualties. There is some strategy involved however. From which country you decide to start with, to how deadly you make it and how quickly you upgrade it, all things factor in to how soon the world becomes alarmed by the new threat that you have engineered. In my first play through, I took the option of a minimally deadly virus, but a highly infectious one. I did successfully infect the whole world, but the number of fatalities was sadly lacking. Once the world starts pulling together in its research efforts, you get small blue bubbles with a beaker inside them, the tapping of which is meant to hamper the research a little more.

All in all, I enjoyed what I played of the game. The iOS version is paid for upfront, the Android version free, with a lot of functionality that can then be unlocked with an in-app purchase. For myself, the game was definitely worth the minimal outlay, and I feel I will easily get a few hours out of it, even if the attraction dwindles after awhile. It is truly interesting to see how your virus spreads, and there are all kinds of graphics and charts that tell things like how long it lasted and the course the pandemic took. For under a pound, I rate this very highly.

Version Reviewed: Android

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Casey Douglass

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