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Come on now! Admit it. We’ve all had a day here and there when the entire human race seemed incapable of doing anything but vex us. Days when our misanthropy is at critical mass. Days when world events, politics, and even your friends just made you want to unleash some kind of Super Ebola virus onto the unsuspecting populace, decimating all of mankind in the span of months. Sometimes those days are consecutive, and last your entire adult lifetime, but enough about me! Now you can unleash your very own Super Ebola thanks to Plague Inc., from Ndemic Studios and Miniclip.com.
There have been other games to tackle the whole “breeding a cataclysmic, apocalyptic super disease” motif in the past, but I dare say that Plague Inc is far and away the best executed. Starting with a simple bacteria strain and a country of origin, your goal is to mutate your pathogen strategically to cover the globe. Easier said than done, as there are many factors. You can evolve different ways to transmit the virus, via such carriers as birds, rodents, insects, blood, water, and even air. Wealthier countries have better health care, so you can build some drug resistance to fight that, and mutations to fight the inevitable race for a cure.
You also get to pick and choose what symptoms develop. Making a disease too scary too quickly will result in a global cure effort, or with countries taking drastic preventative measures to infection. On the flipside, if you don’t make it deadly enough, you can infect the entire planet, but not kill it off quickly enough. It’s a delicate balance, and so many factors go into everything that it’s both challenging and fun to experiment like a mad scientist.
Now, the game is free and ad supported, but you can pay to unlock the full version, allowing you to use game changing gene mutations and the crucial fast forward button. On top of that, you can either unlock the various disease types and mutations via gameplay, or you can just buy them all, but that’s optional. You start out with bacteria, but quickly unlock viruses and fungi, working your way up to biological weaponry. Each classification of disease evolves and infects differently, and require vastly different strategies.
The game also sets an almost satirically dark mood with various random sound effects, such as a hospital heart monitor, or a little girl singing “ring around the Rosie.” Something needs to be said for the game’s sense of humor. In between status updates about the world’s ravaged state of affairs, the world news feed will scroll with some truly funny references and jokes. This game might not seem like much at first, but it’s so easy to lose yourself for hours at a time. Hours and hours of the extermination of those pesky human beings. Everyone should download this and see just what that’s like.