It’s not too often you see a completely unique and original Strategy title, even on a platform that’s full of hundreds of incredibly talented developing teams. It’s even more rare for a Strategy title to end up taking the #1 spot on the iTunes Paid Game’s list away from Angry Birds. Plague Inc., developed by Ndemic Creations is just that. Plague Inc. has you evolving and spreading a disease, while trying to infect and kill everyone in the world before a cure can be found. Sound evil? It is. But it’s also one of the most interesting and addictive strategy games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
When you start your first game, you’ll only be able to start with a Bacteria and will be able to choose between Casual (no one washes their hands, research doctors don‘t work and sick people are given hugs), Normal (67% of people wash their hands, doctors work 3 days a week and sick people are ignored), and Brutal (compulsive hand washing, doctors never go home and sick people are locked in prisons) Difficulties. Once you complete a Bacteria game on Normal or Brutal difficulty, you’ll be able to unlock the Virus. Completing a Virus game on Normal or Brutal unlocks Fungus, then Parasite, Prion, Nono-Virus and then Bio-Weapon. Once you complete all disease types on Brutal Difficulty, you’ll be able to unlock special cheats, with no cure being able to be found, humans never taking action against you, and the unlimited DNA cheat, which lets you evolve your plague like you were God.
Once you start your game, you’re able to choose which country you want to infect first. Once your plague starts spreading, you start earning DNA points. These are used to evolve your plague by choosing from literally hundreds of different attributes, all split up into 3 different types of evolutions; Transmission, which lets you decide what animals can be infected, and how your plague can travel, Symptoms, which lets you choose what symptoms occur, and how bad these symptoms can get, and Abilities, which give your plague the strength to survive in different climates, and how resistant it is to cure research.
As the game progresses, little bubbles will pop up across the world, letting you infect more countries, gain more DNA points, and disrupt scientists research.
You’re also able to check out the world news, which lets you know what’s going on in the world you’re trying to infect. You’ll be alerted when and where Olympics, as well as other National events are going to start, when certain countries are noticing infection, when they close down airports and seaports, block boarders, notice infection, start researching a cure, as well as some very sobering events, like when bodies are piling up so bad that they’re being buried in massive holes, when the dead are being burned, and more. There are also graphs which let you know which countries are and are not infected, how the cure is coming along, and how your infected to dead ratio is coming along. The background music adds to this very serious sort of feeling you’ll get while playing. And it will hit you, eventually. When starting a game, you might be rooting for complete world destruction, but once you read about the events and see the death toll hit the billions, watch your plague spread, see where the evolutions branch out to, and hear when governments fall, as well as the creepy ‘ring around the posies’ chant in the background, it all starts to get pretty intense.
With Plague Inc. being made Universal with their first Update, as well as being priced at $0.99, it’s one game that strategy fans should not miss. Considering it’s hit #1 on the paid app charts, and judging from the iTunes ratings, as well as explosion of posts throughout iOS forums, it’s pretty clear that casual gamers are jumping in, and are becoming obsessed with the game as well. Considering it’s 2012, and the popularity of movies like 28 Days Later, Contagion, Quarantine, and a whole catalogue of virus related films, it’s not surprising that Plague Inc. has climbed up the leader boards so quickly. But it is pretty surprising seeing a strategy/simulation game hit the #1 spot. It’s definitely a game every iDevice user should check out, and is one game that I will be recommending to everyone I know.