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Some games have you fighting to save the world or trying to survive after an event that has ended it for most people, but Plague Inc. from Ndemic Creations makes you into the virus trying to take down the humans. There’s no human involvement in developing the plague that infects patient zero, you’re just an above average germ that’s managed to find a foothold to exploit. I like this better than having some kind of organization release a plague. It’s a grim but interesting game, as you, the infection, race to evolve yourself into something that the humans can’t cure. You start out as a lowly bacteria, but each time you successfully eradicate mankind, you can start again using a new pathogen, working your way up the ladder until you reach the ultimate expression of plague, the Bio-Weapon. You start in one country then spread to the rest. You watch the map of the world and wait for Bio-hazard or DNA bubbles to show up, and then you touch them, thereby transferring the points to your DNA bank. There are also Cure bubbles that you must pop to slow the cure, but they don’t seem to reduce the existing cure percentage any. I’d like to see that implemented, because once you’ve spent all its drug resistances and genetic tricks, then the cure can usually eradicate the danger with ease.There are three levels of difficulty to the game, Casual, Normal, and Brutal. Each one has distinct set of factors working against the pathogen and helping the humans to cure the infection. The cure is represented as a percentage, from 0-100.
If you find you’re kind of bored watching a few bubbles pop up every now and then, there’s a fast forward button that speeds up the world so you can see the days go by much quicker. The only problem with that is that you may get bubbles and then a pop-up message at the same time, which will prevent you from popping the bubbles sometimes. The pop-ups can be kind of annoying, there needs to be a way to turn off the tips, because once you play a few times, then you already know to do what they’re saying for the most part. It would be better if the information in the pop-ups showed instead in the banner at the top of the game, which can also get in the way if you’re trying to pop a bubble in upper Russia.
Besides watching your plague spread across the globe in an ever expanding red blotch, you must also spend your DNA points to evolve new transmission vectors and symptoms or abilities. Evolutions such as Cold or Heat Resistance help you infect pesky places like Greenland or Australia. Other evolutions help you work against the cure research, such as Genetic Reshuffle, though sometimes the evolutions work better than others. There’s no set percentage of research that any of the evolutions knock down, in some games it took five to ten percent, in others the same evolution reduced the percentage by only 1-4 percent.
If you evolve scary symptoms right away, then the humans will work harder and faster to find a cure than if you pour points into infection vectors and develop the symptoms later on. It can be kind of frustrating to watch the infected numbers fall as the cure progresses, but not every pathogen is born to murder the world.
Once you’ve infected enough countries, it’s time to release the symptoms! There’s everything from nausea to Insanity to Necrosis. Some symptoms, like fever, make your pathogen easier to cure. Others, like skin lesions make it spread faster. More often than not, humanity’s researchers reach a 100 percent cure despite your best efforts at slowing them and start distributing it to the world. At that point, your reign of terror is over. You watch as your red zones shrink down to nothing and the world goes back to normal, a little more spacious for your effort but not quite as dead as you’d hoped.
Plague Inc. is available on IOS devices in the App Store.