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Plague Inc. Review

June 22, 2012

There aren’t a lot of games out there that can put fear into people. Not even just into the player, but put fear into it’s competitors. Plague Inc. went from nothing into the number 1 game on iTunes for a few weeks and still holds a top sells spot only second to Temple Run. But what makes Plague Inc. so addictive? That slight pun was absolutely intended.

If haven’t caught on yet… Plague Inc. is a disease simulation mobile game where the goal is to eradicate all human life on the planet before a cure is made to destroy you. If you can put aside any moral insecurities, Plague Inc. is one of the deepest games I’ve played on the iOS. You start by naming your plague and then picking your type of pathogen. There’s a total of 7 types to choose from ranging from common bacteria to a bio chemical weapon. Of course, stronger pathogens need to be unlocked by defeating the previous ones. Moving on from there leads you to the main screen — where you see a global map. Your disease begins in one of the 62 countries of your choice.

This is where the strategy of the Plague Inc. begins. Your ultimate goal hasn’t changed, but from the start your disease is weak. As your disease naturally spreads from person to person, you earn DNA points. This currency is used to upgrade how your disease is carried across to different countries, what kinds of symptoms you’ll have, and the abilities of your disease. Plague Inc. does a great job of making all of these perks feel like separate pieces of a puzzle you need to create. So lets say you pick China as to start (Sorry China). That is a heavy populated country with an unspecific type of climate. You can pick minor symptoms like a coughing and/or not add transmission through the air to spread rapidly. It won’t be long before the entire country is infected. Depending on how you’ll play, it can be a good or bad case scenario. Once you infect a fair amount of a country, they’ll take notice and start to develop a cure. At this point you need to use the abilities to upgrade your resistance to cold/heat and antibiotics while using your pathogens special traits. The more infectious or deadly or resilient your disease becomes, the more countries will contribute to developing a cure against you. Remember that the only way to win the game is to kill off every human. If one person remains uninfected and your disease is too deadly, there wont be any carrieres left to speard it so it’s a loss. With certain diseases you can play them in your own way but you still need to maintain a sense of a light touch.

There’s a lot to love about this game. The graphics might seem simple, but here simple is beautiful. As your diseases spreads, these countries fill with bright red and blackens as the death toll raises. Tiny jets and boats carrying the plague will travel around the world. The interface of your plague’s abilities adds a real puzzle element to the gameplay. Unlock one symptom to get stronger ones — there’s even some hidden combination bonuses like add Insomnia with Vomiting to create a Walking Dead syndrome. Ndemic Creations, the team behind Plague Inc. seems highly dedicated to their game. Within the first 3 days of it’s release, a patch was release to fix glitches, slightly change the normal difficultly level, and give the players the option to pay to unlock the different diseases. As a fan after weeks of play, this was highly appreciated.

This one misstep I need to mention is another reason why this game is so addictive. There’s is way too much downtime. As your waiting for your disease to spread, the only thing you can do to contribute is to pop DNA bubbles and stop Cure bubbles as they appear randomly. Too much time is spent watching the screen waiting for something to happen. But… there is this certain urge that just kicks in and forces you to not miss a thing. Once a majority of the world is infected, it becomes an all war to infect everyone that isn’t and halt the cure procedure as fast as possible. The pacing of this game is simple but ingenious in it’s own way.

Now it took me awhile to write this review, because I heard some news. There’s another game on the App store that came out first, which is very similar to Plague Inc. called Pandemic 2.5 . I wanted to see for myself so I shelled out another dollar for Pandemic. I’m a little salty that Apple doesn’t give refunds for apps. Yes, a very similar interface, symptoms and ideas here but none of the polish that Plague Inc. has. One could say that Plague Inc. is a remix to Pandemic, and their right. But saying that Plague is blatant copy is dumb. Pandemic give you 3 types of disease, Plague has 8. You choose where your disease start , Pandemic does it for you. If someone wildly improves on something you create, consider it a complement and then step your creation up rather then bashing them on twitter. Plague Inc. is a cheap, crazy addicting, super challenging game. And while it can take long hours to complete one game, it never feels like a wash. From me, Plague Inc. earns a 9.5 out of 10. A definite must buy. Thanks for reading.

Cheers.

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