Before I scare any readers of a sensitive disposition… this game has strong ties to its name. That means it’s about viruses and there is illness and death within it. Please stop reading if this all sounds too morbid for you. Disclaimer aside, yes this game is all about infecting the world’s population and trying to exterminate everyone on the planet.
You start off infecting one country and then you manipulate your plague cell’s characteristics to increase its infectivity and alter its severity and lethality. As you infect more people you’re awarded more DNA points and you need to strategically select your upgrades to maximise on your spread. For instance if you’re in an urban country then perhaps you want to make rats hosts of your pathogen.
A lot of this game simulation is set on the world so you spend a lot of time looking at the world map. From there you can see the flight and shipping routes which will allow you to plan some of your infection route. So you need to think of your way to spread via air, sea or adjacent landmasses. Just to be clear about the routes – they’re animated by planes or ships… and they’re about the most animation there is in this game!
Ok, I lie, the random bubbles which pop up are also animated. These can be DNA bubbles, new infection indicators or they can be research flasks. But ultimately, there’s not much in the way of fancy graphics here. Instead this game is heavily focused on strategy. There are also random news headlines which provide some hilarious reads… one of my personal favourites is: “Goldman Stanley encountered an error in their random number generator”… so true… so true…
When you start off initially, you’ll probably just dive in and try any old upgrade options you see which are available. But once you understand the potential methods and strategies, then you’ll spend a bit more time looking at the infected countries and the infection rates. A lot of this game is about being patient and understanding critical mass. Once you have enough people contaminated then your infection will snowball out of control and spread amongst the masses.
There’s a fair amount of complexity in this game, but for any strategist out there it should be relatively easy to pick up. More importantly, this is a “must have” for any keen puzzle game player out there. Even if you’re not a hardcore strategist it’s still worth your time to play the game. The reason for this is because it spreads the message about germs, viruses and other pathogens. Once a killer infection gains momentum it can spread like wildfire, and unless people are educated about the potential doomsday scenarios then they won’t understand the difficulty of implementing procedures to limit the spread of these infections.
Rating: 4.5/5 Plague Inc is a supreme strategy game which is also quite morbid, but it’s addictive for the brain and puzzle market fans out there. Hopefully it can also serve an educational purpose in case we ever face a pandemic in real life.
Plague Tips and Tricks
- Remember that the aim is to exterminate everyone on the planet. This means that you need infect all the countries AND all the people within the countries before you’ve killed off all the infected people. I’ve had scenarios where I hadn’t finished infecting all the countries and the lethality of my virus caused the remaining countries to close their borders… thus preventing me from being able to infect them… and hence forcing me to restart the game. I’ve also seen scenarios where I’ve killed all the infected people, but the infection hadn’t spread to everyone yet so there were still healthy people left on Earth.
- In your early games you’ll find that if you get detected too early, then you’ll be rushed to increase the lethality of your disease. In doing so your rate of killing may exceed your rate of infecting. To avoid this, you can de-evolve your pathogen from having any illnesses then you can stay hidden from the researchers forever. As long as there is no illness then you won’t be detected.
- After a few games, you’ll realise that there are some countries which are particularly hard to infect due to their island nature. Personally I’ve found that starting your infections in these countries can help towards letting you win easier.