|Multiplayer:||GameCenter leaderboards only|
|AI:||Sort of; you are dealing with a model of global civilization; 4 levels of difficulty|
|Universal App:||Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)|
|Purchase for iPhone:||Use link below to purchase universal app|
|Purchase for iPad:||
GD Star RatingPlague Inc: Simian Flu,
We don’t often give IAP expansions their own reviews – particularly not when they’re arguably used as movie marketing – but the Simian Flu expansions for Plague Inc. makes enough changes to the gameplay that we felt it warranted it’s own review. Can you help the apes rise?
(A brief note: this review assumes you believe in evolution. Americans of the fringe right may do well to stop reading now)
At its most basic level, gameplay remains the same: you play as a virus hell bent on taking over the world from the pathetic humans who believe themselves the top of the food chain. This time, however, you’ve got a secret weapon – mankind’s closest relative, the apes.
The plot of the game basically follows the Planet of the Apes reboot (genetic engineering accidentally boosts the intelligence of apes, forcing a confrontation between the species when it escapes the lab) and introduces the first new gameplay mechanic: the Gen-Sys labs, where research is being conducted on apes to find an Alzheimer’s cure. Initially only one exists, but as your simian flu rises, Gen-Sys labs will sprout up all over the world, speeding the cure research but also representing a recruiting opportunity.
In addition to your usual bag of viral tricks, your simian flu is able to infect apes as well as humans – but while your virus eventually evolves into lethality for homo sapiens, it stimulates the brain in apes, allowing you to develop them into migratory animals of culture.
As you unlock additional ape abilities, you’ll be able to move against Gen-Sys, both recruiting new apes and setting back the cure research, and create colonies that not only increase the ape population but afford them better protection against human attacks.
Your ultimate goal is still eradication of humanity, but this time there’s a twist – you can win without total genocide if you can outnumber them with your ape population (a neat end-run around The Greenland Problem). This also adds a new layer of management to the game – you have to keep that careful balance between virulence and deadliness, while making the apes powerful enough to sustain themselves without going too easy on your biological attack on the humans. Allow the apes to rise to win the game.
As could likely be expected of an IAP expansion, not much has changed in the game’s implementation. The new game mode features detailed art, and the specific evolutionary options open to you are a little different – you have more vectors for transmission than usual, and it seems a shorter evolutionary hop to destruction than in standard play modes.
The ability to interfere with research by destroying Gen-Sys labs adds a very interesting wrinkle to the proceedings. When Gen-Sys loses a lab, they seem to also lose some of their notes – this makes sense, but also allows for a dramatically different curve on the Cure Graph than seasoned players might expect. It’s even possible to recover from a 100% completed cure by exploiting this wrinkle, though you aren’t likely to survive long unless humans are right on the edge.
The expansion can be unlocked for free by beating all other disease types on the new Mega-Brutal difficulty introduced in the prior major update; if this is more plague-mongering than you’re prepared for, you can also unlock the simian flu for $2. There are also 10 genes that you can use to customize your virus; these can be unlocked piecemeal for a buck apiece, obtained as a set for $8, or unlocked one at a time through victories – assuming you have already unlocked all the other genes…
With interesting new gameplay wrinkles that change both your strategy and your gameplay experience, the simian flu represents the best kind of expansion – it changes the particulars of gameplay dramatically while still leaving the core intact. One of your best gaming dollar values on the iPad just got better.