Developer: Ndemic Creations
Release Date: May 26, 2012 (iOS, Android), February 20, 2014 (PC via Steam as Plague Inc: Evolved)1
Plague Inc. is a strategy, simulation, video game similar in concept to Pandemic. However, while that game is about putting up a concerted effort to cure and halt the spread of a virus, Plague Inc. allows the player to turn the tables on humanity. Set in modern day, the goal is to infect and kill all humans on Earth before a cure can be developed.
The game mechanics are simple. The player chooses a plague and a starting country. As the plague infects and kills, DNA points are awarded which the player can use to “evolve” the plague’s efficiency with tiered and branching powers (Transmissions, Symptoms and Abilities). The plague spreads utilizing a simulated infection model praised by the real-world CDC2. If the plague is too overtly aggressive, humans will panic, in which case, border and ports systematically shut down, and scientists begin to develop a cure. With some of the earlier, less sophisticated, plagues this can lead to an early loss when countries such as Greenland, Cuba, or Madagascar become inaccessible due to infrequent travel to their one seaport. Therefore, the strategy players have to develop is a balance between infectivity and mortality rates.
1: The game is currently listed as an early access beta. However it already exceeds the features of the original mobile version, with many more updates planned. The game works, the creator just wants to keep adding to it.
- Bacteria – The basic nuisance.
- Virus – A bit more compicated pathogen which rapidly mutates.
- Fungus – Can spread via spore clouds.
- Neurax Worm – A parasite that latches onto the brain and can influence behavior.
- Parasite – A relatively stable organism which rarely mutates.
- Prion – A protein which hosts inside the brain.
- Necroa Virus – A virus that can animate its victims into zombies.
- Nano-Virus – Out of control microscopic machine with a built in kill switch.
- Bio-Weapon – Exceptionally lethal pathogen that kills everything it touches.
- Simian Flu – A franchise tie-in with the recent Planet of the Apes movies, added in July 2014, including a trailer for Dawn. In this you mechanically have to play two versions of the game simultaneously as you spread the virus that kills humans, and foster the fledgling ape civilization.
2: In March 2013, the game creator, James Vaughan was invited to speak at the CDC. Afterwards, and spokesperson for the organization stated "it uses a non-traditional route to raise public awareness on epidemiology, disease transmission, and diseases/pandemic information. The game creates a compelling world that engages the public on serious public health topics."
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