Time for coverage of another modern PC and/or mobile game that I’m playing and enjoying. Have you ever wanted to unleash a killer disease upon the Earth? Probably not. I hope not. But you’ve maybe had at least an idle curiosity about what that would be like, maybe you’ve even wondered what it would take to wipe out humanity. After all, movies like Contagion and Outbreak and 28 Days Later do well in theaters for a reason. Well, with Ndemic Creation’s Plague Inc., you can get a taste of your answer. Just a taste, mind you. This is no full-blown, WHO-endorsed epidemic simulator, but it gets the job done.
Plague Inc. is an evolution of the classic (and free) Flash games Pandemic and Pandemic II, and it improves upon those games in just about every way imaginable. Each game starts roughly the same: choose a disease type and name it, select a starting country with a single Patient Zero, and try to grow your disease into the end of humanity by evolving symptoms, transmission venues and special abilities. The only way to win is to wipe out every human on Earth before your malady can be cured. To kill people, you have to infect them first. There’s a careful balance that must be played between infection, severity (visibility) and lethality. Kill people too quickly and your victims might die off before they can infect healthy people; wait too long and you might run out of time against a cure.
There are currently nine different kinds of diseases to attack with, from the basic bacteria and viruses up through advanced killers like prions (the most famous of which is variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, aka Mad Cow) and even special fantasy options like a mind-controlling parasite and necrotic zombie outbreaks. Each disease plays differently, although many of the basics are similar. Various pre-made scenarios are also available, such as reliving the Spanish Flu, to see if you can improve on one of nature’s most crushing victories. There is an astounding variety of symptoms that can be inflicted, although they don’t always have the impact you might expect (for instance, inflicting insanity on a completely-infected world should pretty much completely end any hopes of developing a cure, but alas.) Plague Inc. isn’t the kind of game you’re likely to sit around and play for hours at a time, although who knows, it could make for great drunken Friday night fun if you’re in that kind of mood.
The screenshots above come from the iPad version of the game, which I own and purchased for 99 cents. Full disclosure: the game has in-app purchases of diseases, cheats, modification genes, scenarios and the like, but all of those can be unlocked just by playing the game and, in my opinion, don’t really take long. There are no “energy” or “token” restrictions; you can play as often and as much as you want. The game is also available on Steam for $15 and, while it has improved graphics (of course) and, I presume, comes with everything unlocked from the start, that price is still too high in my opinion. But once it drops to, say, $5? The world is mine to destroy. Again. I’m looking forward eventually to putting this on the wall-mounted 32” LCD TV and running it like something right out of the CDC.
TAGS: Plague Inc. Ndemic Creations 2010s games