I’m not sure how I missed the October release date of Plague, Inc. on Android, but I’m more than making up for it now, right? Trust me, had I known, I would have let you know sooner! Sure, the game isn’t a new concept – having been done by Pandemic 2 in Flash, the version I played years ago – but between some clever showmanship and an incredibly replayable design that fits well on my mobile (except for the battery draining part), you haven’t had this much fun with a virus simulator before. Did I mention it’s free?
As you start in Plague, Inc., you choose which form to take, starting with the lowly bacteria and working up through the radically multiplying virus and far-reaching fungus forms. Like a reverse XCOM, you pick a country to lay your first seeds to begin infecting the masses. Your interaction with the map is scarce, but you’ll need to be on watch to pop bubbles that either give you DNA points to upgrade your plague, grant you access to new countries to run amok, or in the endgame, smash the research efforts of those puny humans who dare defy you.
Instead, you’ll spend much of your time cashing in on those DNA points to upgrade your disease, which is ultimately where all of your strategy lies. Between how your plague behaves, spreads, and other attributes, you’ll have to walk a fine line or face extinction yourself before you can destroy mankind. Spread wide with a docile virus and the humans will catch on to start working on a cure right away. Make your disease too violent early on and you’ll get the same response. If you ever make a mistake in how you deploy your DNA points, you can use more to devolve your features, but you aren’t getting those points back and distribution is limited. As you progress, you’ll see random events that help or hurt your efforts and little factoids pop up to remind you of the scale of your effort, like comparison to how many people died in the Black Plague, etc.
As I mentioned, the game is free, granting you access to 90% of the game’s functionality. If you’re at all interested in the game or the ability to add extra modifiers to your virus or speed up time even further, the purchase price of $.99 (coming to $1.06 with tax as I purchased it) is hardly a pain for the amount of time you’ll probably put into it. The game’s biggest flaw may be the fact that it’s actually too easy. The challenge didn’t kick in until the Hard difficulty level and I was only stopped after destroying 70% of the population. You’ll find little reason to change your gameplan and the ball gains momentum a little too easily in lower difficulties. Still, watching your destructive influence spread across the globe is a rare kind of joy and you owe it to yourself to cash in.