This review is based on the video game version and NOT the board game version. I have prioritized this over other reviews because of current events.
Firstly, I prioritized this because Plague Inc in on sale for a limited amount of time. On Steam, it is 60% off until Feb 4, regularly $14.99, now $5.99. The DLC for Plague Inc: The Cure just released on Jan 29. The game creators are including this for free across all platforms until the COVID pandemic is under control. In March of 2020, they donated a quarter of a million dollars (split) to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. They previously worked with fundraising for Ebola in 2014. Your purchase will likely go towards another donation, its a win win.
The science behind Plague Inc.
Plague Inc (now Plague Inc: Evolved) came out in 2012. It is a strategy game that have difficulty settings ranging from easy to mega brutal. You are the plague and you have to navigate around human intervention and nature to make your plague work, or at least this is the case with the base game…
This game is constantly updating. Most of the time, the updates in plagues and cheats are included for free as you unlock scenarios. For those who don’t want to wait and unlock them, there is the option to purchase them. (Again, your purchases are likely to go towards a charity at some point…) Special plagues are sci-fi in nature including a mind-control brain alien (think Yeerks from Animorphs), zombies, the Simian Flu (from Planet of the Apes), and vampirism. Scenarios are specific illnesses with their own data or sometimes completely random stuff. This ranges from Smallpox, the Bubonic Plague, and Mad Cow Disease to Volcanic Ash (think Mt. St. Helen), releasing your own board game, and Santa’s Little Helper (think mind-control alien meets Christmas cheer).
Plague Inc is unique because the game is based on modern and historical science, with many models from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showing “epidemiology, disease transmissions, and diseases/pandemic information”. The CDC has spoken highly about this game and the creators since 2013 (a year after the game’s release). Teachers and professors have used this game to help demonstrate things to their students. You can read the CDC’s first review here.
“I became interested in Vaughn’s (the creator) game as a tool to teach the public about outbreaks and disease transmission because of how 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.”Ali S. Khan, former Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) at the CDC
The Cure: no, not the band
As I stated above, Plague Inc: The Cure released on January 29. It fully encompasses all aspects of disease control from slowing/stopping contraction to research and development of treatments to its namesake… the cure.
The Cure DLC is very unique as it was created with the help of experts from all over the world including but not limited to the WHO, CEPI, and Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
“Games like Plague Inc: The Cure represent an incredibly important medium for education and public awareness that can be used to show the world the steps needed to address similar global health threats and their associated complexities.”Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI
Random Plague Inc in the news:
In February of 2020, when COVID really started spreading, China not only banned many of the media outlets and internet capabilities, they decided to place a ban on Plague Inc citing that “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.”
Plague Inc’s multi-player servers started crashing after receiving record number of players since quarantine.
Plague Inc has dominated the charts since it’s release, however it has spikes depending on what is happening in the world. During the Ebola outbreak in 2016, the number of players using mobile devices increased from 900,000 to almost four million within two weeks. During the current COVID, global downloads of the game have increased by 123% since January of 2020.
Pros and Cons of Plague Inc
- Very educational. Great for your kid who is interested in science.
- The ability is there to create your own scenarios. If you have someone obsessed with Pokémon or something else, they could create an entire scenario revolving around Pokémon taking over the world.
- Play for a good cause
- Never the same gameplay twice (humans and the environment are unpredictable)
- Even if your special needs person cannot play this, I recommend this for the adults as well.
- Can be difficult. I do not recommend for lower functioning or cognitive issues.
- The game is suggested for ages 13+. The music is dark and scary and the themes can creep people out. There’s nothing like hearing kids singing Ring Around the Rosie while you spread your plague. Photos can also be dark and graphic. I will attach examples below, link to soundtrack on Youtube. One of my kids has played it since they were 10, two of them love watching me play it and telling me what to do, and the other two nope their way out.
Available on mobile/tablet, PC/Mac, and Xbox ONE/PS4