A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Plague Inc: Evolved is a downloadable strategy game that is a continuation of the popular Plague Inc. game. The goal is to choose and customize a virus to kill off the entire human race. Your virus can evolve on its own as well as by using DNA points to buy symptoms and transmission scenarios to quickly spread it from human to human. This strategy and realistic simulation game is fast-paced, and you must create and spread your superbug before humans can create a cure to destroy it and end the game. The intense themes may be overwhelming and sobering for younger players, as spreading illness and death are the main goals. But this game was recognized by the CDC, and there are some realistic elements that can be used to understand how pathogens and viruses can evolve and spread from person to person in a short amount of time, possibly affecting the world as a whole.
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What's it about?
PLAGUE INC: EVOLVED is an intense strategy and modern simulation game where humanity doesn't know what's about to hit it. Your objective is to select a pathogen and create a virus you can evolve into a full-blown plague to infect the entire globe. It's set in modern times, and you must kill off as much of humanity as possible before scientists are able to find a cure to stop it. Beginning with a weak strain of the simian flu, you must collect DNA points via pop-up radioactive and DNA bubbles and make your virus indestructible as quickly as possible. You can buy a variety of options with your points to make the virus incredibly contagious via water, hand-to-hand contact, air, and so on or give it the ability to become drug- and treatment-resistant. You can also choose the effect it will have on a person's body: headaches, nausea, body aches, bleeding, shortness of breath, and so on. The more elements you put into your pathogen, the harder it will be for humans to find a cure and stop it before you can kill off the entire world population. Once you kill off the human race, new pathogens and scenarios are unlocked, keeping gameplay challenging.
Is it any good?
While the pacing of this strategy game can be slow, the speed at which you have to stay on top of your virus' progression as it spreads from country to country will keep you busy. Pop-up DNA and radioactive bubbles (which give you points) are slow to show up at first, but as you spread your disease, trying to pop them all before they disappear is tricky and requires fast reflexes. To evolve your pathogen, you must have enough points to buy new traits, symptoms, and transmission abilities to keep it from being cured, which means you'll start watching planes and boats around the world take infected passengers from one place to another, which can give you bonus points as the virus spreads like wildfire. You can also keep track of the world stats to see how many people have been infected or are dead, along with when and where your once-small virus has now turned into a full-blown plague. As you continue to evolve your disease, you begin to see how some countries may realistically respond by closing down airports, shutting down seaports, and closing borders. You can even take some creative spins on the disease creation. With the simian flu, for example, you can choose whether or not it can be spread by apes and the apes can rise up and protect themselves (think Planet of the Apes). The mix of strategy and scenarios makes Plague Inc: Evolved a challenging and fun game, so long as you don't focus on the large amount of destruction you're causing. But the addictive gameplay will have you trying just one more time to destroy civilization over and over again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the realistic aspects of the game. How do illnesses spread from person to person? What would you do if there was an infectious disease in your area?
What are some simple ways we can prevent the spread of germs and illnesses? How do doctors and scientists work together to find cures for viruses and diseases?
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