Pandemic for iOS is a faithful recreation of the popular Web-based game where the object is to play as a villain and infect our entire planet with an evolving disease. The game is obviously quite morbid, but it's also extremely addictive as you start with one infected person in a random location and try to spread a disease to every corner of the globe. You can choose from three skill levels at the beginning of the game, with the easiest setting for quick sessions allowing for more experimentation, and the hardest setting making it a real challenge to even get your disease off the ground.
Pandemic starts out with the simulation paused. Before getting started, your first step is to set up the kind of disease you're going to set loose on the world. You can choose from three disease types: Bacterial, Viral, or Parasitic. The three have different infection rates and give bonuses for specific attributes of the disease. With your type of disease selected, you get to give it a name before you get to the main map screen.
With the game still paused, your next step is to choose what your disease actually does to people using the disease menu in the lower right of the screen. Does your disease cause sneezing? Do people grow bumps on their skin? It's all up to you, but you can only develop your disease by spending eight EvoPoints in the beginning. You can also choose "supports" -- attributes that help with spreading your disease, such as better performance in cold weather or more resistance to drugs. Planning out the type of disease is one of the best parts of the game, and as you gain more points by spreading to other countries, you'll get more EvoPoints to make your disease even deadlier.
Pandemic makes for a fun simulation that requires plenty of strategy, but you are going to spend a significant amount of time waiting. A lot of the game is spent looking at growing infected numbers in different countries, and waiting for more points to cause your disease to evolve with. The worst part about this is when you know your disease is not going to spread farther (airports, shipyards, and borders are all already closed), but there's no way to simply speed to the ending to see your score. You have to wait for all the activity to die down. Maybe they'll add a fast-forward button in a later update, but it's hard to ding the game too hard for this oversight.
If you can put aside the tragic nature of destroying every human being on the planet, Pandemic is definitely a great time-waster. You may have to wait during slow parts of the game, but even just watching the number of infected rise in various countries is very compelling. If you want a slower-paced strategy game with lots of variables to play with, Pandemic is great download.
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