Spread the flu... I mean, news! Your long awaited fantasy of seeing the world be wiped out by a ravenous micro-organism has come true! Among other end-time scenarios such as alien invasions, zombie apocalypses and catastrophic celestial collisions, the pandemic is hold dear by many. Although manifesting itself with the somewhat recent Ebola hoax and subsequent panic, a world pandemic still has the highest potential of occurring. So there's good reason for someone to make a hyper realistic endemic simulator. Just so you can envision it better.
Plague Inc. makes you responsible of introducing a new pathogen agent to the world, make it spread, evolve its traits and increase its detrimental effects until it kills the entire human population. Sounds fun?
At the beginning of the game, you get to chose the type of organism. The bacteria is the most versatile one, but once you have some successes under your belt, you may try more specialized agents such as viruses, fungi and parasites, to name a few.
Once the game starts, you are prompted to chose an origin for your microscopic friend on a grossly distorted map of the world. The plague will begin spreading inside of its home area while generating DNA points. You will be able to use these points to mutate and gain certain traits. These are spread over three large categories: Transmission, Symptoms and Abilities. Depending on the geographical area of the disease, it will need certain traits in order to spread easier or to kill faster. You may chose for example livestock transmission in order to promote infections in rural areas of the world or insect transmission to make it spread in warm climates. Abilities deal with environment resistance such as temperature, drugs and general health of the population.
The last category is also the most delicate. Symptoms are two edged swords. For once they begin accelerating the death rate (which is essentially what you aim for) but at the same time make the disease more visible in the public eye. Once the world has noticed that something is wrong, the work on a cure is started. At the same time, countries may decide to close their international traffic which means that free tickets on planes and cargo boats will no longer be available.
For the player not to complain that he's looking at self played game, you are encouraged to follow the evolution on the main map because depending on the infection rate and on regional spread you get DNA point bubbles which may provide the edge you need in desperate situation against the cure. Tap on any balloon that pops out, especially blue ones since that will slow down the cure progress.
Plague Inc. is a difficult game with a very dark theme. Although the different pathogens initial mutations and game modes offer some replayablity, I don't think it has great staying power. Still if you love this theme, may I recommend that you try the board game Pandemic or its smaller spin-off Contagion? C'mon put that tablet away for a while, invite some friends over, get a game out and pour the beer and juices. It's way more fun than tapping on virtual bubbles. Cheers!