I’m a big strategy gamer at heart with my roots closely tied to X-COM and Civilization. So when a game has global ramifications I pretty much always sink my teeth into it. And Plague Inc deliverers! In Plague Inc., you are the plague and you get to choose and select what symptoms are seen and how the disease is transmitted through the world. Everything from making the human population cough and sneeze its way into a global pandemic situation to causing the disease to be silently transmitted by birds and livestock. Even the air and water supplies are at your command. Then once you have the world infected you can release your deadly combination of symptoms by causing tumors and fevers, total organ failure, ruptured lesions or (my personal favorite) combining diarrhea and insanity and causing the people of earth to run around in the streets and crap their pants off. Resulting in the well deserved achievement “Brown Streets”. Also, you get to name your personal plague, and watch the world moan and groan in despair as everyone is infected with “BABIES”
And while you might think its sounds pretty simple to infect the world with such powerful contingents, the world fights back. Countries take measures to stop the plague by shutting down airports, closing borders, burning livestock and even the dead. You’re notified how each country is trying to stop you at each mutation. There is also a global effort to work on a cure by flying specialists around the globe to work together. The mechanics for developing symptoms, transmissions and even resistances to the cure and the climate itself are very simple. Little DNA bubbles pop up on infected countries and pop up when the disease mutates on its own. You simply tap the screen and collect these DNA points to develop your global infection. And for the end result, if you don’t end up killing every last person on the planet you lose. If you miss the lone hermit hid away in Greenland, then victory has slipped through your hands.
The guys at Ndemic Creations have made an incredibly addictive and satisfying strategic game that will keep you coming back as you try to find the best way to infect and spread your latest diabolical creation. And also on another level, the game is really informative and educational. I learned a lot about how symptoms are related and especially how they spread. And granted, I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t want to know! It’s pretty terrifying to think how quickly a disease can spread if we don’t keep things clean and sterile! Also just realizing how many people there at in the world! Ndemic Creations has definitely done it’s homework on accurately representing the current population numbers. So I have to say, its been almost as entertaining to learn about these things as much as it is to play the game. And in game design that really doesn’t happen, like at all…
The only things holding Plague Inc. back, unfortunately, are some simple bugs and early design issues. I played the 1.2 version and I’ve seen on their website that they are planning to take care of a few of these bugs already, such as, not enough space to click DNA bubbles in, say, Russia and fixing a bug where you couldn’t unlock unlimited mode, which I actually had to reinstall the game to fix. Also there are quite a few achievement glitches that don’t activate properly. Graphically speaking it looks great for an iOS strategy game, the UI has weight and just feels right. Also the soundtrack is pretty stunning as well. It feels like its straight out of a plague film from Hollywood. It gets under your skin and pulls you in and gives the game a good foundation for its theme.