Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital port of a solitaire board game from Victory Point Games and designer John Gibson that puts you in charge of what is essentially the CDC and tasks you with stopping the end of the world. No pressure, right?
I’ve been a pretty big fan of the physical game ever since I first got my hands on it last year. It’s a very brutal and surprisingly intense puzzle that will punish mistakes like spreading your proteins too thin or wasting all of your funding on lab equipment you never use in short order. It’s not so difficult if you have enough time to study the virus and prepare a vaccine, but you won’t have time. You never have enough time. Because the virus can and will spread, eventually wiping out all human life if you can’t stop it fast enough.
All of that heart-pounding uncertainty and second-guessing is present and accounted for in HexWar’s mobile version, now with a fancy-looking interface. The problem is that, while the new look is very nice, it’s not as functional or easy to navigate as I’d prefer. Both the anti-viral solutions display and the shop/lab are tucked away on either side of the screen, which isn’t so bad at first but can become bothersome once you’re halfway through a game and need to constantly bounce back and forth between them to remind yourself what scientists and lab equipment you have or can buy, and what proteins you might want in order to clear out the remaining virus molecules. It doesn’t ruin the fun, and since there’s no real-time time limit you won’t be at a disadvantage, but it feels clunky.
What wasn’t in the original game (at least it didn’t come in the box) and is very much appreciated here is the addition of several scenarios. Along with the basic game type that has you battling the virus the old fashioned way, now you can try your hand at non-randomized challenges that offer a nice change of pace. They start out fairly forgiving and steadily become more of a challenge as you move through the list, so they’re also a great way to learn some of the game’s more intricate strategies. Of course there’s also a tutorial available if you still need to learn the basics.
There are some things I prefer in this digital version of Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp over the physical one, like having no setup time or need to constantly shuffle the virus and protein tokens. There are also some things I prefer in the physical version, such as the ability to simply glance over and see what I can buy, who I can hire, and who/what I already have in my lab. Regardless, if you’ve never heard of the board game this is a great little world in the balance puzzle for you to stress over. And if you have already played the board game, well then this is a great way to enjoy it either on the go or when you don’t feel like unboxing everything.