There’s an app for that: Ndemic’s virginal product “Plague Inc,” a happy little game that has bloomed into a success of epidemic proportions. It is a simple enough game to play, at least in the beginning. With seven levels of diseases of increasing complexity to play with, you start out as a bacterium, and from there you progress to virus, fungus, parasite, prion, nano-virus, and finally bio-weapon. Your goal: the utter domination and decimation of humanity.
It’s pretty damn simplistic as far as user interaction goes. You pick the type of disease you want to use (which depends on how many you’ve unlocked,) pick the country where the infection starts, and go from there. After you accumulate more and more DNA points, you can evolve and specialize your disease further. This is where the game truly begins and your inner mad scientist can emerge. You can make your biological terror more resistant to the heat or cold; cause it to be more infectious for a wide variety of animals or even become a blood borne illness, and manipulate the symptoms it unleashes, ranging from insomnia and paranoia, to coma and insanity, just to name one variety.
As your disease spreads across countries, governments begin to take notice, and the war is on.
Possibly the most enjoyable part of the game is watching the news crawl at the top of the screen, sometimes supplemented by actual headlines that pop up in the middle of the screen. Some range from the mundane (economic issues,) to the cheeky (plague-infected squirrels in LA, 3D TV’s increasing intelligence), to breaking the fourth wall outright (one good example being referencing it being strange that radioactive material has a “half-life” of “3” when it goes through a “valve.”) The game’s developer, James Vaughn, shows a keen ability to infuse the game with a quirky humor that is partially derived from reality (including a mention of the US government shutdown due to the budget).
With an approach so realistic that Vaughn was invited by the CDC to discuss the educational benefits of “Plague Inc” and how he modeled it after real world scenarios. This is definitely a solid, and free, game to have in your mobile library.