Strategy games that involve creation or domination of a world are familiar enough to most fans of the genre, but world destruction via plague is a fairly unvisited premise. In a new iOS strategy game Plague Inc., the objective is exactly that – infect and destroy the human population by creating and evolving a virus so deadly that no cure can be found in time. Not only do you have to evolve your virus into a plague, but also adapt to world events that are brought about by the introduction and transmission of your virus.
Plague Inc. is a hyper-realistic strategy game that can be played in minutes, not days, but it spans years as you wait for your virus to evolve and destroy the human population. With a map model of the world, Plague Inc. displays infection and fatality rates, regional spreading, air and sea transit, and simulated world events are displayed in a news ticker-style window across the top of the screen. From the first infection of “patient zero” there is only a limited amount of time before researchers develop and disseminate a cure.
To begin the game, players assign a name to their virus and select a country to introduce the virus in. Players are awarded DNA points, which can be used to evolve the virus, by spreading the virus to other countries and regions. The strategy of Plague Inc. is in the evolution of the virus itself – whether you choose to evolve it quickly or slowly over time, make it highly adaptable but not easily spread, or simply go for an all-out deadly virus is up to you. Paying attention to the world events that occur – such as travel bans and windstorms – can help you make decisions about virus evolution.
Plague Inc. is a simple (and maybe slightly morbid) concept to grasp, but can be challenging to master. There are three difficulty levels to play, but unlocking other options beyond bacteria, such as virus, fungus, parasite and bio-weapon, can only be achieved by winning the game in normal or brutal modes. The game is visually simplistic, but pleasing and depending on how strategic you want to be with your plan, several levels of details and statistics are available for viewing in sub-menus.
If you enjoy strategy games above other genres, then Plague Inc. pits a unique concept against players’ strategic abilities to create an infectious game that shouldn’t be fun, but is. On screen tips help guide new players making it simple to begin playing and by introducing new plague types with different abilities and symptoms, the game offers some added replay value as well. So for an uncommon strategy game experience, sit back and watch Plague Inc.’s simulation of what a single microorganism can do to the world.