Mobile Infamy Reviews cover mobile and handheld games. For mobile, MI only cover Android games, as my distrust of all things Apple-related is prolific and well documented.
|Image from Google Play
Developer: Ndemic Creations
Business Model: Free / InApp Purchases for $2.99
Google Play: Plague, Inc
iTunes: Plague, Inc
Rating: 2.75 out of 3 Stars
Plague Inc. is a game that scares the hell out of me…in a good way. It’s not meant to be a horror game, but the topic of the game, trying to design a plague to wipe out the human race, tends to fit the “Scare me shitless” mold pretty well. The game is addictive, well designed, and a ton of fun to play. The music is a bit repetitive, and their aren’t many graphics.
The game is one of the few original games to appear on the mobile scene. Billed as a strategy game and a simulation game, Plague Inc. puts in you control of a new pathogen. The goal of the game is to evolve your disease to wipe out the human race. Through a combination of choosing how your disease is transmitted, symptoms, and abilities, like cold resistance, of the disease, you pick a country to infect, and Patient Zero pops into being. As you infect more people, you earn DNA points which you use to evolve the 3 basic traits of your disease mentioned above. The trick is not to become too deadly too fast, or the people the world will develop a cure to your disease, and you lose the game.
The game is brilliantly designed. It’s inventive, well-thought out, and the strategy is deep. The game features several different modes, from “Casual” to “Brutal” which are essentially your different skill levels. Upon picking your skill level, you are then prompted to pick a plague type, which have their own pros and cons. These function as levels within the game — you have to successful kill off the human race using each plague time, before you can advance on to the other plague types. You start with only bacteria to chose from, and once you beat the bacteria scenario, you can then move on to virus, and so on and so on. Additionally, there 4 other types that have not yet been released on the Android version, claiming “Coming in Future Mutations.”
I should note that you can purchase access to all the levels at once by buying the “Full Game” via In App purchases for $2.99. This also unlocks 3 cheat codes for the game.
The premise is the game is deceptive simple, and creepily realistic. Evolve your disease to kill the human race. The strategy comes in with the fact that at the start, your disease is more akin to the common cold. As you evolve some symptoms, other more fatal options open up. But if you go too big too fast, the world realizes you for what you are, pools their resources and develops the cure.
The game takes into account transition across national boundaries, and countries can shut their borders, carriers take the disease to other nations via plane or train (indicated by a red plan flying from one country to another). As you play and grow more virulent, countries will eventually become so over-run that the government collapses, and the country is essentially defunct. This is important in the cure development — countries will work together to develop a cure, and so those countries that are contributing most to your cure you probably want to develop your disease to specifically target that area.
There’s a ticker at the top of the world screen that shows Top News from around the globe, and that’s a good barometer as to how seriously the world takes your disease. When you start, there’s lots of nonsensical stories, but as you build, your disease starts to dominate the news more and more. It’s a good indication of how well you are doing in the game.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the game is deep and well designed, and a ton of fun to play.
There are remarkably few cons for this game. The music is a bit repetitive and annoying. I turned it off after about 4 minutes. And there aren’t very many graphics in the game. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing — it’s a strategy game about a disease — not too much to show. But I think that maybe it could have benefited from a few more graphics and animations than what it had. I think the creepiness factor could have been increased 10 fold with a few well placed disease ridden images. That’s just me though, and like I said, this is a very minor gripe.
In a genre of gaming filled primarily with thinly-veiled money grabs, and clones of successful games (and money grabs), Plague, Inc is a welcome breath of fresh air. The game-play is familiar enough to be easy to play, but still hard to master. Everyone from your Mom to your CoD playing little brother will find something to like about this game. I know I did. Then I immediately washed my hands and went to find my face-mask.