Plague Inc: An evil scientist’s dream game

I just killed the entire population of the world. I’m a little ambivalent about that, but on the whole I’m pretty happy.

Plague Inc is a fascinating strategy game in which you “must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself.” It’s a game that has garnered rave reviews, but also a reputation for being difficult. The basic idea is deceptively simple; you control a pathogen – a bacteria or a virus – and you can mutate it. The mutations change the way it transmits, the symptoms it creates, the incubation time and many other factors. Your aim is to infect the entire world population and have them die before a cure is found.

The graphics are pretty and all very high-level, top-down; there are no individuals shown or anything that might induce squeamishness on the medical side of things. That means that, as long as you are comfortable with your children mutating viruses and killing whole virtual populations, it is suitable for older children as long as they are interested in strategy games.

Maybe it’s just me but I did have some ethical squeamishness as I watched the world collapse into disease and anarchy – maybe I’m just not cut out to be an evil, mad scientist. There’s something fascinating about the way the game develops though and you get the real sense it has been properly thought through to mirror a realistic situation. If it is realistic, I’m seriously considering buying real estate in Greenland or New Zealand as both seem to survive a long time.

The top-down graphics can get a little boring after a while and I found myself using the button to speed things up quite often. That said it’s a compelling puzzle to solve just because you have no direct control over what happens, it requires some patience. If you want your disease to spread to warmer climes you need to mutate it to resist heat, but then there also has to be a vector that will take it in the right direction. And that’s not mentioning those pesky research scientists toiling to find a cure – try mutating your pathogen to induce paranoia so the scientists wont work together. There are a lot of different ways to approach winning.

Plague Inc is a great game for less than a dollar. There are a pile of in-app purchases to add bonus mutations and so on, but after a couple of days of play I haven’t yet found them necessary.
[appstore id=”525818839″ style=”custombox3″]

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