App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Clearly iOS users are a fairly twisted lot, what with the somewhat astounding success of what I can only think to dub the “Viral Extinction” genre as of late. In fact, I was somewhat taken by a similar title not so long ago. I’m not too crazy about comparing the two, but it’s sort of unavoidable so I’ll just cut to the chase. Plague Inc. is pretty much the go-to iOS game for gamers looking to wipe out the human race via infectious diseases.
Plague Inc. begins by giving players an illness to call their very own, then asking them to pick a country for it to inhabit. A lone carrier soon becomes dozens and before long DNA points are earned that will be needed to mutate the virus, making it more effective at spreading or just plain nasty. Before long, small DNA bubbles will begin to pop up which can be tapped in order to earn bonus upgrade points. These, in turn, can be used to make the virus even deadlier. There’s no direct control of the disease, however. Players will instead influence a number of hidden factors simply by customizing their plague. If countries begin to close off their borders then mutate it to allow transmission through birds or insects. Once cure research begins (and it will) it might be a good idea to dump a lot of points into drug resistance. Or possibly just make it super deadly in an attempt to kill off the scientists working on it.
There are a lot of factors to consider when tailoring apocalyptic germs, and thankfully Plague Inc. makes it easy with a very friendly interface and lots of status updates about the world’s various countries. The wealth of behind-the-scenes actions and reactions also means there’s plenty of strategy to be had. My preferred approach is to make the virus really, really infectious but non-lethal. That way it spreads through a vast number of the populace before anyone even considers it a threat.
My only real annoyance with Plague Inc. is the way random info pop-ups tend to get in the way of my collection of DNA bubbles. I never really felt as though I lost a bunch of points from it, but those dang things always seem to show up at the same time as the bubbles and it’s irritating.
While Plague Inc. isn’t ground-breaking iOS game, it’s definitely one of the most refined. With features like self-mutating viruses, government collapses that actually effect the spread through a given country, unlockable virus classes, and an honest to goodness save feature (yay!), this is the apocalypse plague game to get.