App review: Plague Inc.

App review: Plague Inc.

It'll make you want to wash your hands, in a good way.

 

Plague Inc. has quickly taken over from Robot Unicorn Attack in the title of "best game I'm the worst at." I have played four games so far - four entire games - and accrued a score of a whopping 55 points. But I can't stop playing! 
 
This game is all about destroying the world. And don't we all want to destroy the world once in a while? (It's okay. I won't tell.) Plague Inc.is about the global spread of a deadly disease versus the scientists trying to find and deploy a cure. The twist being that you play the disease.
 
You begin by naming your disease and selecting a few early traits. As the game spins out, you get points for tapping bubbles that appear. You can use those points to buy new features for your disease which will make it spread faster, be more deadly, or become more difficult to cure.
 
Plague Inc.is a game of infinite complexity. As an example, you begin by selecting the country (or multi-country area like "Central Africa" or "Western Africa") where you want your plague to begin. Each country has either sea ports or airports or both or neither. 
 
If you start in a country without ports, it will take longer for your disease to be spread to other countries. However, that can give you time to build up your disease's abilities. Choose a country with both a sea port and an airport and your disease will spread faster. But this means that the scientists will also start working on a cure sooner.
 
As you play, the game scrolls up little news items to keep you abreast of your plague's progress. These news items have a lot of tongue-in-cheek dark humor, which brings a lot of fun to the game.
 
Each game takes about 1-3 hours to play, meaning that you can blow through a round in an evening of half-watching television, or keep pausing it and play it periodically throughout the day. Contagion rates high in what I call "pick-up-able-ness." You can pick it up and play it for as long as you like - minutes or hours - and it doesn't really matter. 
 
Plague Inc. costs 99 cents. You can either earn new abilities and disease types by playing and accruing points, or buy them through an in-game purchase. So far I have only played with the default plague (bacterial), but parasites and viruses are also available. Evidently the Zombie plague type is currently in development and should be released soon.