‘Plague Inc.’ Game Review

Format: Mobile devices.

Genre: Strategy.

It’s also good to see a new developer produce something so fresh and original and strike gold with it. While the iPhone App store is increasingly becoming dominated by Angry Birds wannabees and heavily market researched games churned out by the big companies. The success of this game bodes well for what was a highly creative market. The subject matter of the game, on the other hand, makes the success a tad disturbing.

In Plague Inc. you control a plague. There’s a range to choose from, such as bacteria, virus, fungal and even nanobots, that each come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. You begin a map of the world and choose the country that Patient Zero will start in, and your little condition begins to spread person to person. As you disease begins to infect more and more people you collect DNA points that you use that manage mutations that shape the ability of your plague. Falling into three categories you can manage the way the disease transmits (insect, air-borne, blood, livestock, etc), the symptoms (from coughs through to total organ failure) and abilities to resist drugs and different climates. Your goal is simple – destroy the human race.

The clever part of the game comes in the interaction of the globe. Transit routes for planes and ships are accurate, as are country climates and economic status. All of these factors impact on how your plague spreads and what you need to keep it effective. You can infect a continent quickly using the right one or two transmission methods, but if you crank up the symptoms and start killing people the rest of the world will take notice and start shutting down their borders. Poorer countries don’t provide as much transit to other nations but without access to advanced medicine will succumb to infection much quicker. Major world events such as the London Olympics and the FIFA World Cup impact on what kind of transmissions should be used.

Plague Inc. is insanely addictive. With the average game running between 10 and 20 minutes and a huge amount of factors to monitor it moves at a brisk pace. Everything is managed using a series of menus on the touch screen and the set-up is simple enough to manage the complexities of your plague without frustration. The best part of the game is naming your virus. Seeing the spread of Cybermen is entertaining enough, but seeing the game notify you that the Indian government has fallen due to Lolcats or that Stupidity has started to cause a rash is pure comedy gold.

If you’re finding that Words With Friends just isn’t killing time the way it used to then this is a more then this is a more than worthy substitute.