Plague Inc. infects Windows Phone 8 with strategic epidemic gameplay

In Plague Inc. you play as, well, a plague, and your goal is to infect and ultimately wipe out humanity. You do this by evolving symptoms to attack the population and evolving defences against different climates, regional environments, and eventually global efforts to find a cure.

I've been beta testing Plague Inc. for a while now, and I've obliterated my old Lumia 1020's battery due to its infectiously addictive gameplay.

Infect the world

Plague Inc. takes place on a world map, and it's up to you to destroy civilisation. In order to do this, Plague Inc. offers you various virulent tools, which present themselves progressively throughout a pandemic. Once you've chosen your starting nation for infection, you begin accruing DNA points, these points allow you to evolve your plague in various nefarious ways.

Each type of plague has its own unique traits. For example; Bacteria are resistant to different climates, they'll survive well in the dry heat of North Africa and the blustery dampness of good old England - but they mutate less often than other types of plague. Mutations add symptoms to your diseases without spending DNA points, and they occur at random. Viral plagues mutate at a breakneck pace, but can reveal themselves to doctors more easily if you're not careful. There are 7 overall to choose from, and you can unlock them with regular play over time or via a reasonable one-off micro-transaction.

Whichever plague you pick, when a nation-state detects your plague they begin to work on a cure. The game becomes a beat-the-clock scenario at that point, forcing you to make more rapid decisions. The trick is to infect as many people as possible avoiding detection, and then ramping up your symptoms and lethality.

From virulence to victory

Some of the symptoms you can evolve are pretty grim, and can produce even grimmer combos. Combining anaemia with insomnia causes "The Walking Dead" combo which decreases cure research rates; vomiting and coughing produces projectile vomiting, which as you might expect, increases infection rates. There's a whole bunch to discover, in addition to discoverable DNA mutations which help you customise your plague at the start of a game. These can also be discovered with regular play or unlocked instantly with a one-off payment.

As you infect more people, you gain more DNA points allowing you to defend against the global response to your plague. Unless you're using the DNA modifier to auto-tap DNA bubbles, you can claim DNA points every time a yellow or red bubble appears on-screen with a quick tap.

Once detected, nations may start eradicating your methods of transmission, from killing rats, handing out purified water and so on. Eventually research teams will fly around the world to study your plague, presenting blue bubbles for tapping. Doing so slows down their research progress and gives you even more DNA points.

You can adapt your plague in various ways to sabotage humanity; from scrambling your DNA to make a cure harder to find, to increasing your infectivity through symptoms and other forms of transmission and even targeting the weaknesses of nations who are spearheading cure funding. Eventually though, the world will conspire against you to the point where lethality is your only option.

To help you, Plague Inc. allows you to view data on different world regions, as well as offering frequent news bulletins (some of which are for pure comedy value). For example, if nations begin eradicating insects and that's your primary method of transmission, it might be wise to switch to another form of transmission, by becoming airborne or infectious to birds.

You can also discover which nations are providing research against your plague, as well as information on how best to infect them. As an example; a wealthy urban country like the UK is more susceptible to rodent transmission, and evolving resistances to cold and humid climates will help you eradicate the population and collapse the British government.

Overall impressions

Plague Inc. on Windows Phone is a stellar port of a stellar game. It has 4.5 stars across 1,796,354 reviews on Google Play, and 4.5 stars across 129,455 Ratings on the Apple Store. While it doesn't support the native resolutions of all Lumia handsets (as you can see from the screenshots captured on my 930 above), there isn't a hint of crashing or lag and Ndemic Creations have been diligent in responding to feedback in the beta program.

Plague Inc. is also tipped to hit Xbox One in the future with a port of its expanded PC version: Plague Inc. Evolved. There's a missed opportunity to sync Plague Inc. for Windows Phone and the future Xbox One version, but who knows what the future will bring - providing we aren't all killed by a super virus in the meanwhile.

Download Plague Inc. for Windows Phone (£0.99 / $0.99)

QR: Plague Inc

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

128 Comments
  • Great game, but I prefer the larger screen of my Asus Vivotab note for it.
  • I agree. Hope a universal app comes soon. I play the steam version on my SP3, but its touch support is somewhat lacking.
  • Waited so long for some of these apps, they might as well just wait for w10 so we get universal right away.
  • Waiting for clash of clans
  • It will never come. The developer has told he dont need Windows Phone.
  • Dafuq...paid?!?!
  • Yes. An entire $1 for hours of entertainment.
  • Oh yeah, forgot. Developers don't have to earn money and eat and drink! :o /s
  • Thank YOU!!! XD
  • If it removes the iap. I'll gladly pay 1$. Does it?
  • Nope, but you can unlock everything in the game fairly quickly without iaps. You really don't have to spend a penny on them to enjoy it, IAPs are just a revenue stream to take advantage of people with more money than patience.
  • This game should be played with patience.. The fun is in waiting for your virus/disease to evolve and slowly watch it take the world down.. IAPs would ruin the game. So don't worry too much about it.
  • Dafuq... you don't have one dollar to pay for an awesome game?
  • Ohh..my bad...I thought it was free for other platforms and paid only for wp platform...I dont mind paying for the app but if it was free for others and paid only for wp then definitely that would get on my nerves ;)
    Otherwise awesome game...was waiting for it since thee news of beta came back in the month of December..
  • It's a dollar you cheapo.
  • Who cares?
  • One buck! Single buck only! Geez, do you eat cockroaches for meals?
  • $0.99 for a game and it's such a big issue for you? Developers work hard to earn a living.
  • @fatfox g, u r right, its free on play store,
  • So?
  • Last time I played it on Android it had a massive amount of IAPs and ads, this version has the IAPs but no ads.
  • Android version has ads and lots of iaps. This is better, no ads.
  • But then explain why it is free in the play store..
  • Who cares, get an android if it bothers you that much.
  • Because it's ad supported and most Android users only download something if it's free anyway. As mjrtoo says go use Android if it really bothers you so much!!!!
  • I just wanted an explanation. And I'm not asking for it to be free. Tell me where I said that. I was only saying the difficulties some of us have when paid apps are launched. I would gladly pay. I think you are bothered, not me!
  • I think the free version on the play store is either some kind of version with limited functionality (ex. You can't use the fast-forward function unless you buy the full version of the game.) or it has a shitload of ads, some ads are even on the screen while you play the game. But that may not be the case anymore cause it's been a year since I've played it on android