Review of Plague Inc. and a Coronavirus Update
Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak in China, a strategy game has increased in popularity. While some people say playing the game takes their mind away from the fear of the virus, others have been playing it for as long as the Plague Inc. Game has been available.
What is Plague Inc.?
In May 2012, the strategy game came out with a simple task: infect a country with a disease and wipe out the world's population before they invent a cure. Of course, there are factors that are built in to stop you. If you use birds to spread the disease, prominent countries will wipe out the bird population before it spreads. If a healthy country creates a cure and they eliminate all of the infected people, you lose. Over the years, expansion packs have upped the ante with varying ways to infect people such as a Neurax Worm Expansion, Simian Flu, and more.
How do I play Plague Inc.?
One great thing about Plague Inc. is its self-explanatory interface. Of course, you can follow the tutorials that provide suggestions on how to play, but its really fairly simple to navigate. First, you select a plague type. If you're using the absolute basic version, the only option you have is Bacteria. All other types of plagues are locked until you win the game with a previous disease type on 'Normal' or 'Brutal' difficulty levels. 'Casual' is best for those who are new to the game. Next, you name your plague, then modify the genetic code, which allows you to customize how the plague mutates. To start, you pick the country you want to infect, i.e. your Patient Zero. Throughout the game, you earn DNA points, which helps you spread the infection and stop the world from creating a cure, as well as choose from a variety of symptoms. You get to choose how the disease transmits through saliva, blood, insects, birds, and more. One tip is to make sure you keep the disease low on the world's radar, which in turn will delay the cure. The key is to focus on the transmission and ensure there are no healthy people left by the time the pathogen starts killing people.
Where do I play Plague Inc.?
What started off as a mobile game has spread onto other gaming platforms. You can buy it on your smartphone app store for $0.99 (with an additional $8.99 for expansion packs). Or, you could purchase Plague Inc: Evolved for $14.99 for the full experience on your Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, Mac, or Linux (which includes multiplayer, co-op, and more). It's also available on Steam. While the mobile app is cheaper, it allows you the freedom to play it wherever you want (like the doctor's office to make sure you don't have the Coronavirus). However, the expansion packs and full Evolved version allow for ways to wipe out the population that you simply can't on the app.
Plague Inc: Custom Scenarios - 2020 Wuhan Coronavirus
Is it worth it?
Absolutely. There's a reason why it's topped China's iOS download chart. While the game may sound easy, it's still a strategy game, and an addictive one at that. Personally, I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars. And don't worry, the creator of the game, James Vaughn, issued a statement saying, "please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model." If you're interested in seeing how disease can spread at your fingertips, this game is for you. And you should probably wash your hands.