By Chris Morris,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Slow & steady kills the (human) race in disease-design app.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Products & Purchases
Players can unlock genes, cheats, new game modes and other extras via in-app purchases.
Parents Need to Know
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Based on 7 parent reviews
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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?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Science: biology, life cycle, Social Studies: geography, government
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, Creativity: developing novel solutions, making new creations
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (The initial game is free to play, but additional scenarios cost $.99 each.)
- Release date: June 12, 2012
- Category: Simulation Games
- Topics: Science and Nature
- Publisher: Ndemic Creations
- Version: 1.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 and up
- Last updated: April 27, 2019
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