App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I can honsestly say I’ve never seen movies or read books about world-wide plagues and the impending doom of mankind and though, “Gee, it’d be cool if I could take control of a virus and wipe out humanity!” And yet here’s Pandemic 2.5, a Human Extinction Via Virus game. It’s a completely bizarre concept I know, but the crazy thing is it’s actually kind of awesome.
Pandemic 2.5 is one of those sim-style games that can be finished in minutes (heck, even seconds) or hours, then played over and over again with different variables with totally different results. There are a number of options to fiddle with before the game even starts, including difficulty and virus type (bacterial, etc), all of which can have a very noticeable impact on a session. Certain settings will start the virus off with different traits while others might make vaccine creation more difficult. Once the parameters are all set it’s time to wipe out all living things, which involves a lot of staring at a map and waiting for time to progress.
This sounds a lot less interesting than it actually is. As more and more people become infected and/or die, points to upgrade the virus are earned. Symptoms affect the communicability and mortality rate while Supports tend to make it more durable. Traits can even be unlocked that can have some pretty gruesome (and effective) results. As twisted as it sounds, I felt no small amount of pride as I watched my virus spread like wildfire throughout Northern Europe before steadily infecting the rest of the world. Little touches like seeing that governments have started burning their dead also brought a sadistic little smile to my face.
As much as I love all the tiny factors that can shape a virus’ destiny, I wish I could “see” more of it. Every now and then a news item might pop up about it, and I can see if a given country has closed its borders and whatnot, but I feel like the option to view a few more finer details would make things even more entertaining. It might also help players to figure out why their virus petered out within mere days. It happens. Conversely, things kind of drag once the world is doomed. In my last game the vaccine had failed and mankind could only sit and wait for the inevitable. Which took close to twenty minutes in real time while on the fastest setting. It kind of sucked the fun out of it. The ability to save a game and come back to it later would also be awesome.
I’ll admit, Pandemic 2.5 is one of those games that really has to be played in order to understand what all the fuss is about. It’s not perfect, sure, but it’s the best viral Armageddon simulator I’ve ever played.