Plague Inc.

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Slow & steady kills the (human) race in disease-design app.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Plague Inc. can be tricky to master, 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
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

In the iOS version of the app, players can unlock genes, cheats, and other extras via in-app purchase. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Plague Inc. is a simulation game in which players attempt to decimate the earth's population by creating a constantly evolving super-virus that is 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. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • life cycle
  • biology

Social Studies

  • geography
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • making new creations

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Much of the gameplay is watching and waiting, though the information, concept, and graphics are scarily fascinating.

Learning Approach

Plague Inc. uses statistics, distribution lines, and disease characteristics to teach a spectrum of social concepts. However, what's learned here doesn't transfer well to real life: Who wants to start a plague?

Support

Data is extensive, and play is amazingly intuitive considering the complexity. Scoreboards and achievements help players track their progress.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • life cycle
  • biology

Social Studies

  • geography
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • making new creations

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

What's it about?

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.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like Pandemic 2.5, Plague Inc. is based loosely on a popular web-based Flash game. Unlike that game, though, this version 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. 

You won't get an adrenaline rush playing this game, but you will find yourself eager to try again once it ends. And you'll likely find yourself cursing those borderland officials in Madagascar at some point if you play for any length of time.

Families can talk about...

  • Help teens find information on historical events in which disease played a significant role, such as the plague.

  • Ask teens to think about the scenarios in Plague Inc. Could something like that happen in real life? If so, how could it be prevented?

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free-$.99
Pricing structure:Free, Paid
Release date:June 12, 2012
Category:Simulation Games
Size:30.20 MB
Publisher:Ndemic Creations
Version:1.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 and up

This review of Plague Inc. was written by

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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Aim is to kill off humans with disease in slow, passive app.
  • Complicated app best for hardcore railroad enthusiasts.
  • Restaurant sim feels like a treadmill of making orders.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byDrayoc June 15, 2012
 
LEARNING

Not for little kids, but a great strategy game!

It is a odd, and unsettling feeling watching the human race fall slowly into extinction. But, Plauge inc. is an amazingly well done strategy game, based off the well known game, pandemic. The purpose of the game is to wipe human's off the face of the earth with one of seven disease types. You design the plague, and then send it out into the people. They don't just give up there though. If they notice the disease, and find it to be dangerous, they will start to work on a cure. They can also slow down transmission by shutting down airports, exterminating all birds, and closing boarders around there country. It's harder then it may seem. But it's also extremely fun, and has decent amount learning potential. I can't stress enough that this game is not for kids younger then twelve at the very least, but I would only recommend it to thirteen and above.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Written byAnonymous August 23, 2014
 
LEARNING

Stellar medium for grabbing kids' attention.

Plague Inc. is a gripping game with a unique twist: instead of trying to eradicate a disease, the player is trying to infect the entire world, with the goal of killing every human. The player must also strive to prevent a cure being developed. Now, while I wouldn't put this in an 8-year-old's hands, any well adjusted kid over 12 can totally handle this game for what it is: a fictional challenge. The player must learn the differences between bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, prions, nano-viruses, and bio-weapons. They must strike a balance with infectivity and lethality as they try not to kill the hosts before infecting the entire population. Fun parts for me include the special abilities. Viruses can be made more volatile, and more likely to mutate, while fungi can be made to send out spores, infecting the population in it's unique method. Added to that is the functionality of 25 modifiable genes, which allow the player to start with different abilities. This allows players to make a disease more infectious, more tolerant of different climes, etc. With humorous quips in the news, such as "Gangnam Style to be remade as a musical" and "Recycled tires key ingredient in childrens' sweets.", the game entertains while the player strives to find the delicate balance between infection, lethality, and cure prevention. The best part of this game? The fact that EVERY major form of transition, and EVERY major symptom are covered. Birds, Cattle, Pests, Blood transfer, Airborne and Waterborne traits, each with multiple levels of severity make up the transmission abilities. The symptoms include Insomnia, Rash, Cough, Coma, Edema, Fibrosis, Insanity, and many others. The worst part of this game? Feeling a teensy bit guilty when you get mad at Greenland for bombing its infected population. Not because of the inhumane measures they will take to protect themselves. Rather, you are ticked that they eradicated the illness in their part of the world, with little hope that you will re-infect it before all the other hosts are dead. Only real concern with consumerism is the in-game purchases, but you can unlock most things by winning. For the record, if the "ultimate pandemic" ever comes, I'm moving to Greenland, with the Falkland Islands as a close runner-up.
Teen, 15 years old Written byjmtlala July 21, 2012
 
LEARNING

My Idea

This app to me is actually fine for kids 10 and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass