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.