Global Outbreak

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Global Outbreak App Poster Image
Limited progress power-ups slow down strategy game fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Starts simply, gets complex.


Constantly turning zombies into little splats of blood.


Progress means literally buying time.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Global Outbreak is a free-to-play strategy game involving military intervention in a zombie apocalypse. As such, its focus is guns and killing; blood is frequent. The top-down view keeps violence from getting too graphic, but progress is difficult without buying time accelerators from the in-app store. The app claims to use your phone's GPS when determining leaderboard rankings. The privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared. To read the privacy policy in its entirety, click here.

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What's it about?

GLOBAL OUTBREAK puts you in control of a mercenary army and tasks you with defending the world from a killer virus that turns people into mutant zombies. It's up to you to choose which cities around the world need the most help and send forces there by helicopter. Your troops drop into strategic hot zones, mow down zombies, and collect money, ammo, and research points. Once they're back, you can use the spoils to upgrade your soldiers and research bigger, badder weapons. Shooting and movement are done with an easy tap/swipe, tap/hold system. Travel between destinations takes real time, and timer speed-ups cost real money.

Is it any good?

Though not original, the start of this game plays like a fun strategic shooter. The straightforward combat makes it a gimme as far as understanding how to play and playing well. Then there's the fun upgrade system and tension-making global map showing the real-time spread of the outbreak. Alas, developer ShortRound threw a wrench into the works in the form of an irritating travel timer.

The main idea in Global Outbreak is to prevent the spread of a zombie-making virus. Hot spots bloom on the global map indicating cities under siege, and the sight creates great tension. Picking the most urgent targets is key, because reaching them takes time, and if you don't choose your destinations wisely, people die. Travel can take an hour or more, but can be sped up -- at first. When you start, you're given a power-up that puts the travel timer on fast-forward. Once it's gone, though -- say, after two battles -- your momentum stops until you buy more. Once again, players encounter the difference between fun free-to-play and the not-so-fun variety -- it's almost always because of a stingy approach to free-to-play.  Here, ShortRound's (pun intended) mercenary approach squashes the fun well before you can squash the virus.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about global outbreaks in the news. How do local governments respond to such emergencies?

  • Talk about pay-for-progress gaming. Is this a way of unfairly giving players an advantage, or does it mean that players can determine how dedicated they are to a game?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

Themes & Topics

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