Plague Inc: Evolved isn’t exactly a brand new title. There have been multiple mobile versions, but now, the Plague has spread to Xbox One.
In what is best described as a real time strategy game, your goal in Plague Inc: Evolved – most times – is to infect and kill off the whole of the global human population by evolving your plague to be more easily spread throughout the world. As your disease spreads you will gain DNA points for each new country infected, and for seemingly random level of infection per country. You will use these DNA points to either evolve, or devolve, mutations from your plague. Evolutions can make the plague more deadly, while devolving could help you stay under WHO’s radar until you are ready to throw down some Total Organ Failure.
Other mutations allow for more easily spreading your plague, and include items such as animal susceptibility, infection from insects, and even air and water. The expectation is that you will need strategy to infect the regions of the world, but I found that dropping DNA points into air and water to create a bio-aerosol was the easiest way to infect the population without wasting points in any other transmission methods. Likewise, when it comes time to actually purge the world of the human populace, there are only a few options necessary to win and any changes are purely used to sink points into something instead of wasting them.
Plague Inc: Evolved also features a robust statistics tracker during gameplay that will help you look further in-depth for each country, check the lethality and transmissivity of your plague, and see what countries are currently healthy, infected, or even dead. Saying that it is fun to see how all of these statistics change while you spread your plague is a little morbid, but it’s the truth.
While the graphics aren’t a big step up from what is featured in the mobile game, the point and click, bubble popping nature of Plague Inc don’t really demand more. This is a game about strategy, after all, and the interface is setup in a way that allows easy navigation of game space. Likewise, you won’t find anything really new or exciting going on in the sound department. It’s not phenomenal sound design, but what is there doesn’t detract from the gameplay.
A slight save issue has kept me from unlocking further than the Neurax Worm – which is the 4th plague – in the Main Game, but there are currently 9 different plague types for the campaign – and each can be speed-run for leaderboard scoring – with more listed as being released in the coming months. Even better, there are a multitude of Official Scenarios that task you with everything from spreading the Joy of Christmas across the world to dealing with wiping out humans in an Ice Age. They add some nice variations to the game, and shift the rules for each country to attempt to make players rethink their strategies.
Unfortunately, that strategy seems to be nearly identical for each of the 9 main missions. Devolve mutations until 100% of the population is infected, and then kill them all as quickly as possible. This isn’t to say that Plague Inc: Evolved is a bad game, just that the enjoyment might be short-lived when you find out the most deadly combinations.