At first glance, Plague, Inc. appears to be overly minimalist and potentially boring. Both assumptions are hugely incorrect. Gameplay opens up to a simple world map, but this game is so intricate and involved that it worlds away from boring.
You begin your game by choosing your level of difficulty; casual, normal, or brutal. The level of difficulty determines how fastidious your world population is in preventing disease; this includes hand washing, how the sick are treated, and how hard doctors work to cure and prevent disease.
Next, you need to decide what type of disease you will be working with. You’re going to start out with just one disease option; the bacteria. As you complete each disease type, the next type will come available to you. In all, normal play will include one of seven disease types; bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, prion, nano-virus, and bio-weapon. The attributes of your disease will vary from type to type; for example, the bacteria is slow to evolve and can be difficult to make deadly while the bio-weapon is out of control and you will have to work to keep it from getting too deadly too fast.
The next part is where you get the chance to select the name of your dastardly disease. Or, you can just name it “My Penis” which will result in lots of laughs during game play. Trust me, it’s funny.
The first time you play this game, you will wonder how such a simple game screen will get you hooked. What you have is a world map that starts out with the land masses being the pretty green we all expect them be. You select which country your disease will begin in and, from there on, you earn DNA points that you use to mutate and evolve your disease to become more infectious and deadlier. As your disease spreads, you will begin to see little red dots of disease start to get bigger in the country of origin as more and more people become infected with your disease.
DNA points can be used to make your disease air or water born. You can evolve the symptoms of your disease; which (by the way) become worse and worse as you play and you also have the option to make your disease more resistant to drugs or extreme climates. Another thing you will have to keep in mind is how curable your disease is and how close scientists are getting to finding the cure.
The range of disease types and the sheer amount of symptoms can make you feel like the ultimate mad scientist. Greenland and Madagascar will spark rage in you with their ability to avoid infection from various diseases. Symptom combos will make you laugh gleefully at the pandemonium you picture in your mind.
With a spooky soundtrack and creepy sound effects (imagine the soft echoing voices of little children saying “ring around the rosie; a pocket full of posies; ashes, ashes, we all fall down”), Plague Inc. allows the player to feel like they really are decimating the human race from the comfort of their own home.
**BONUS** For now, there are 2 “special” disease types that can be unlocked through gameplay or by being impatient (like me) and paying for them. The Neurax Worm that burrows into the brain and slowly takes over the brain controls of the infected. The Necroa VIrus can be described in one word: ZOMBIES!!! In this special version, you have to go just beyond tailoring your disease to destroy everything. You work to make it deadly and then you work to make the zombies it creates as terrifying as possible.
A word to the wise, try not to make your disease too nasty too quickly. Two things can happen; 1 – Your disease will get discovered and cured very quickly or 2 – You’ll kill all your hosts faster than you can get the entire world infected.