Plague Inc.

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Plague Inc. App Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Slow & steady kills the (human) race in disease-design app.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how the global economy allows disease to spread through the use of airliners, cargo ships, animals, and other modern conveniences in Plague Inc. They can also learn how mutation and adaptation make disease resistant to medical breakthroughs, as well as how disease spreads among populations. Teens will pick up some biology and social studies concepts as they work toward the very negative goal of Plague Inc.

Ease of Play

Plague Inc. can be tricky to master, especially when trying to figure out how each disease works, but the game offers a variety of difficulty levels and a good explanation of how to play. 

Violence

Plague Inc. isn't a bloody game and doesn't focus on gore, but the object of the game is to eliminate the world's population with a mutating super-virus. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Players can unlock genes, cheats, new game modes and other extras via in-app purchases. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Plague Inc. is a simulation game for iOS and Android devices. In it, players attempt to decimate the earth's population by creating a constantly evolving super-virus that's transmitted around the globe, first causing people to get sick, then killing them. The game takes a top-down view of this, with no blood or gore (aside from a skull icon next to the death totals). The theme, though, is likely to be too intense for younger players. Gameplay's also frequently updated to include newer potential health threats or incidents that could spread disease that have occurred in the real world. For example, a recent update added anti-vaxxers (people who intentionally choose to avoid vaccinations) as a possible disease vector. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

Wondering if Plague Inc. is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmBrown February 21, 2020

Impressed!

I was told by another teacher that this was a good app, so I gave it a try. I wasn't expecting to be very impressed with it. It's really very good! It... Continue reading
Adult Written bymelwinmathew September 20, 2019

Plague Inc best statergy game

This is one of the cool games. You can use various strategy to win the game. You can also check out other games like Plague Inc here https://tricksfortech.com/g... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byRaevynstar July 29, 2016

Dark but educational and fun

Maybe the premise is creepy, maybe symptoms like necrosis have gross descriptions, but overall, if you're mature and at least twelve, play this. Why? Well,... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 29, 2019

It's a good game but...

It can be scary for some kids. when I first saw this I was kind of freaked out the game is about evolving a virus to destroy humanity with also including symp... Continue reading

What's it about?

In PLAGUE INC., players try to create a disease that evolves and strengthens quietly, spreading from country to country infecting, then killing, all humans. That evolution takes place by slowly strengthening the virus, fungus, or bio-weapon, adding symptoms and giving it defenses against cold, water, and the like. Players get points to upgrade their virus by "popping" bubbles that appear on screen as the virus spreads. Once doctors become aware of the problem, they'll work on a vaccine; then it becomes a race to kill the human race before there's a cure. Of particular interest given recent debates is the game's "science denial" scenario, a free-to-play optional offshoot. In this version, the world has largely turned its back on science, putting its faith in things like healing crystals and snake oil. As your plague spreads, though, a band of surviving super scientists will work to find a cure. Depending on how you evolve your virus, though, will the anti-vaxxers support those scientists or turn further against them?

Is it any good?

Like Pandemic 2.5, this strategy game is based loosely on a popular web-based Flash game about evolving diseases into superbugs that are strong enough to destroy the world. Unlike Pandemic, though, Plague Inc. better explains the concept and lets people play at a skill level of their choosing. The game is still fairly passive, but the inclusion of DNA points to adapt the disease (and popable bubbles giving DNA point bonuses) keeps people's attention focused on the screen. 

As it has matured, the game has become more enthralling, with additional disease types and new scenarios (ranging from a disease spreading in an anti-vaxx world to, believe it or not, a cheerful Christmas scenario). It has taken player feedback into consideration and done away with pain points (like the near impossibility of infecting Madagascar). It has also tied into several pop culture events (such as the Planet of the Apes movies) to keep players attention. At the same time, it has kept its addictive nature, making you eager to try again once it ends. What's more, the loads of enhancements to each disease means that players will constantly return to try new methods and locations to infect as they try to come up with the most destructive bacteria ever known. It may seem macabre, but Plague Inc. is a great way to explore the end of the world (in a darkly humorous way, of course).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the scenarios in Plague Inc. Could something like that happen in real life? If so, how could it be prevented?

  • Where's the best place to find information on historical events in which disease played a significant role, such as the plague? How did these start? How did they end?

App details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love simulation apps

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate