Mobile Mondays: Alto’s Adventure

This week’s Mobile Mondays is a simple yet beautiful and frankly addictive title, thats all about, sliding, gliding and… I couldn’t think of a third rhyme. Climbing! There we go. All about sliding, gliding and climbing through those levels. In all seriousness, Alto’s Adventure genuinely feels like a neverending adventure, which substitutes a story for stunning visuals and fantastic core gameplay that kept me coming back for more.

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Gameplay

Alto’s Adventure is incredibly easy to pick up and play. You automatically start snowboarding down some snow-covered peaks as you chase down a flock of escaping lamas. You simply hold down on your screen to jump, over obstacles, pull off backflips, or doubles backflips or even triple backflips, there’s a lot of backflipping to be done, all whilst trying to collect coins and escaping lamas for points. The further you can get the better. As well as a distance score, you also have a skill score for successfully pulling off huge combos of impressive moves along the ride. There are rocks and campfires to dodge grinds to ride along like old ruins or bunting style hanging flags, and plenty of treacherous caverns to cross. Now, whilst fun, this alone wouldn’t be too engaging, but Alto’s adventure shines through its various levels and bonus objectives to complete. Not only were these challenging and fun to finish but they genuinely switched up how I played the game and offered some sweet rewards like alternate characters with different traits or bonuses like the wingsuit which offers temporary flight.

These challenges almost always felt well balanced and achievable and on the off case, they felt a little too challenging they can be very easily skipped with coins which I always had an abundance of.

Alto’s Adventure captures that feeling of adventure perfectly and whilst it doesn’t tell a tale, the sense of traveling and exploring is surprisingly brought to life well considering you’re sliding down the same looking slopes over and over again. All be it very pretty looking slopes.

Story

like I said, Altos Adventure doesn’t attempt at telling a story other than, the game kicking off with you chasing down some escaping lamas. I can only assume you are some legendary lama farmer, trapped atop of this giant mountain and must recapture your livestock to save the land of Skyrim from the evil Thalmor invaders and…yeah I might be making most of that up…or stealing it from another game. The point is whilst Alto’s Adventure didn’t have a narrative I never felt like it needed one.

Graphics and Sound

Alto’s Adventure looks absolutely stunning. Seriously is rather basic and clean cut visual style works wonders. Everything from frocks to trees to old ancient ruins looks simple but they work beautifully. The backdrop reminded me of that you’d find at a stage play and whilst the game only boasts 2D graphics its simple depth perception is used to great effect. Your travels are combined with a soft soothing soundtrack that blends nicely with the gameplay and helps add a little more atmosphere to the world.

Progression

Alto’s Adventure is built on its progression due to the repetitive nature of its gameplay. Luckily each level has three challenges to complete which are all very unique and feel incredibly satisfying when finished. Some were just a little too tricky, but like I said can be easily skipped if you want to. Using coins to upgrade pickups like coin magnets or outright unlocking all new characters to use was also a great incentive to keep playing. There’s plenty to keep you occupied here in Alto’s Adventure.

Alto’s Adventure is a great little distraction to play through in your spare time. Its beautiful yet simple visuals and its addictive yet simple gameplay kept me coming back for more and more. I highly recommend you try out Alto’s Adventure if you’re into these types of games. I don’t think Alto’s Adventure is finished there, however, I think next week Alto’s Adventure might just turn into…an Odyssey. Thats called foreshadowing.

 

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Comic Review: Tony Stark: Iron Man #8 Stark Realities Part 3

We’re back with Stark realities part 3, as Tony and team fight against The Controller to free the players trapped inside the eSCAPE, who are still causing some real-world chaos, whilst his biological mother Amanda is fighting her own battles against the VR world’s motherboard, AKA Maria Stark! Whilst the action is tensing up, I have to say The Controllers ultimate goal seems too ridiculous to be genuine and God, I hope isn’t. Surely it can’t be that simple, right? Also, can we appreciate how amazing this cover art is!

(This Review Will Contain Spoilers) 

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Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #8 is written by Dan Slott with artwork from Valerio Schiti, Edgar Delgado and, Joe Caramagna and picks up over in Russia of all places where people are causing all sorts of calamity, hacking down real people for experience points all whilst believing they’re battling an orcish army inside the eSCAPE. We see Russia’s Winter Guard, (basically a band of Russian Superheroes) From what I could see I think the team is made up of Ursa Major: A mutant who can transform into a humanoid bear. Crimson Dynamo V – Russia’s answer to the Iron Man armor. Darkstar – Laynia Petrovna, a mutant who can draw power from the Darkforce Dimension. She has died once and was later resurrected and finally, Red Guardian – Nicolai Krylenko, also known as Vanguard, leads the current roster of the Winter Guard as the Red Guardian. A mutant with the power to reflect energy at his attackers, (I may have some of those names wrong). It was pretty cool seeing some of these lesser-known heroes having to deal with Tonys mistake and showed just how widespread The Controllers plan really is.

Speaking of the genius, billionaire, playboy, we cut to him, Rhodey and Janet at The Controllers main base who are faced with an army of warehouse workers currently in the VR world under The Controllers…well control. Switching to non-lethal weapons the trio mops them up pretty easily as it’s reported that the players are making use of Baintronics weapons in the real world. A nice tie into earlier issues. Tony then has the brilliant idea to use video game logic to beat this, choosing to take out The Controller himself and by defeating the “boss” so to speak will win the game. A surprisingly decent idea if The Controller himself hadn’t already thought of it. The Controller reveals himself as this huge, heaving mass of power, after significantly leveling himself up from the energy he takes off those he controls. He looks seriously intense here with a great look which makes his might match his brainpower.

We cut to Andy Bhang who is struggling to keep things together whilst Tony is away. He has a brilliant idea to build a blocking signal for The Controllers control discs, but before he can ever finish it, Bethany Cabe, head of security and Controller sleeper agent knocks him out. Finally, we get a pay off for all those small moments we’ve seen of Bethany under The Controllers control.

After a rather hectic start, the issue slows down around halfway through, as we switch to Amanda inside the eSCAPE with holographic A.I projections of Tonys adoptive parents: Howard and Maria. The catfight between Amanda and Maria about who is the “better” or “real” mother was a little bizarre to me and just for a second, took me out of the issue. In a genuinely shocking twist as Tony is fighting The Controller, it is revealed that Friday, the A.I inside the Iron Man suit is actually dead, and its been Motherboard AKA Maria inside all this time. Maria turns Tonys whole Iron man suit into a VR rig, causing him to see some strange things, including a retro throwback to The Wasps original look. Tony Stark himself is now trapped inside his own VR world.

We see Jocasta now awake and fully charged, thanks to her metallic boyfriend, Machine Man who is using his backdoor entrance to the eSCAPE as an ace in the hole for our heroes. No doubt he will be essential to taking down The Controller in later issues.

The issues end with Tony entering Motherboards, hidden bonus room inside the eSCAPE in his own retro-looking suit and to Amanda’s horror accepting a drink from his A.I. father Howard! Once again going back to the drink after his infamous Demon in a Bottle story arc from the ’70s. This might be the scariest thing to come out of this whole issue, Tony going back on the drink? Then again if it’s in a VR world is it a real drink, or simply yet another simulation?

Characters

Tony is once again in the center of the story but is pretty much as you’d expect. He’s stressed and worried, his creations are once again causing chaos and death on a global scale, something he vowed to end once he became the armored Avenger. His back and fourths with Janet and Rhodey are once again brilliant and his sprinkling of humor throughout his fight with The Controller helped add a little comic relief to the whole story.

Aside from Tony, the issue quickly skips through almost all of our favorites throughout. Janet and Rhodey are pretty standard support for Stark in his battle with The Controller. Andy again shows off his technical prowess, only to be knocked out by Bethany Cabe who might not be the best head of security. Jocasta and Aaron have their typical domestic disputes. Maria, Howard and Amanda’s interactions are a little strange to me, and I hope they are fleshed out more in the next issue.

As for the issue’s villain, Controller certainly steps up to the plate, but It did leave a rather bad taste in my mouth. His master plan, to hijack the eSCAPE and turn Tonys latest invention against him was just so The Controller could get “jacked” off all the energy he would consume. His end goal was just to get power, actual physical power. Like he couldn’t just hit up the gym or something? I’m hoping there is more to his master plan because his brawn finally matches his brains and now he needs to start using both.

Artwork

Once again, Tony Stark issue #8 looks fantastic with great action and character design throughout. I loved the sections where the eSCAPE gave everything a retro look, hearkening back to comics of old. The Controller looked fantastic, as did all of the issues heroes and I can’t wait to see more of him in issue #9.

Tony Stark issue #8, is the third part of the Stark realities story arc and overall it is an action-filled issue, with some decent character moments sprinkled in, all leading to a dramatic ending which nicely sets up issue #9. The Controller’s end goal, didn’t quite sit right with me and Amanda’s and Maria’s fight halfway through took me out of it for a short while, but overall there’s plenty to enjoy here. Now issue #9 has to explain what the hells going on inside the eSCAPE with Tony’s mothers and hopefully give The Controller and little more depth.

Mobile Mondays: Mafia City

This week’s Mobile Mondays is a game so ludicrous and so out there that you’d be forgiven for thinking its a genuine spoof of all those badly made rip-off’s we see on the app store. Honestly, I can’t still can’t work out whether this game is serious or not, but does it fall into the “so bad its good” category? Let’s find out.

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Gameplay

Mafia City is a base building/strategy game which puts you as the head of a mafia family with the aim of…being the top dog I guess? Honestly, after hours of play, I still don’t know what my end goal was. Take over opposing mafia families and rule over the city? Or simply build my criminal empire as high as possible? Unfortunately, I believe the games REAL end goal is to get you to spend as much money as possible by flashing various supermodels in front of you, hoping that will simply be enough for you to hand over your cash without actually delivering any genuine substance.

The gameplay is thankfully simple, as to be expected, with you clicking through various buildings which all do and unlock different things. You can train troops, which you never really get to use, collect resources for seemingly no real reason and plough through mission after mission all of them not really doing anything or rewarding anything.

You’re introduced and walked through the first few minutes of the game by a skimpy dressed “assistant” which should tell you all where this is going, before being asked to build a few buildings, fight off some incredible easy enemies and upgrade a few things. Then you’re thrust into the game and told to basically get on with it. Not before you meet yet another blonde bombshell who is your receptionist…or assistant, not really too sure, who can reward you various items if you gamble with her. Oh yeah, you can also date her as well. Not really sure why you’d ever want to. You can upgrade her with shards, but honestly that takes so long and is so pointless there’s no reason to even do it.

Gameplay quickly becomes stale with you simply doing things for the sake of doing them. Some of the dialogue is downright laughable and feels likes it’s from one of those games from an adult website. Menus feel cheapy and quickly thrown together, as does the whole game to be honest, and navigating through them became a chore.

Even though the game dried up incredibly quickly I’ve got to say I had a good time playing, mainly because I was laughing at the game rather than along with it. Part of me thinks this is a spoof, part of me thinks that it’s genuine because of the surprising amount of depth to it, and part of me thinks its all a big cash grab. I’d ask you to try it out and tell me your verdict but you should never actually put time into this game.

Story

Mafia City, suprise suprise, has no story to it at all. Unless you consider seeing how many virtual women you can sleep with a story. In all seriousness when a game doesn’t take the time to put the effort into the basics it was never going to take the time to tell an intricate story, was it? You can always make up your own stories, which for this game could actually be a good laugh.

Graphics and Sound

Mafia City looks about as bad as it plays. Buildings look either horribly dull and generic or very strange and stick out like a sore thumb. Its character models look pretty boring from far away and incredibly funny close up, and its retro soundtrack doesn’t help either. Let’s just say before you even get to playing, taking one look at this games visuals tells you you’re not receiving quality.

Progression

For a game of this style, progression is the one thing you can guarantee. Although comparing this game to other strategy games would be an insult. There’s plenty of buildings to upgrade and characters to unlock and level up, but its all so boring that you never feel any need to actually do any of it.

I’ve finally come to a conclusion, Mafia city isn’t so bad its good, its so bad it’s just bad. I looks, plays and, feel like a cheap cash grab, but with no famous characters or licenses behind it, I don’t see any reason to ever put money into this thing. It barely even plays up the whole “mafia” setting choosing to throw hot women in front of your face instead. Do not play Mafia City, unless you’re in need of a really good laugh in which case, sure play through the first 10 minutes and truly see how bad some of these rip-off mobile games can be.

Destiny 2 is taking players back to the Moon in their latest look at Shadowkeep Expansion

Bungie recently showed off a brand new look at the Moon in Destiny 2. A returning location and the setting for the upcoming Shadowkeep DLC.

The short preview trailer, which you can watch above, was shown off to attendees at GaurdianCon. The trailer is only 40 seconds long and quickly cuts through various shots of the moon, showing off some familiar-looking places and some all-new areas.

The Moon was, of course, a location which players could explore all the way back in Destiny 1 and is quite important to the lore of the game, for any of my fellow nerds out there. It was sadly missed out in Destiny 2 despite fans wanting to go back, but now Guardians prayers have been answered.

The Moon itself is looking pretty sweet with an interesting new red colored fortress being shown off, obviously the setting for the DLC, and the trailer ends with a tease of an infamous Destiny character returning. A quick shot of Eris Morn, a classic Destiny 1 vendor who, like the Moon, was also absent from Destiny 2 until now. I imagine she will take on a similar role to that of the Drifter where she will be essential to the story and will also double up as some sort of vendor to visit and purchase things from.

On top of our first look at the Moon, one of Shadowkeep’s new exotic weapons was shown off, in a particularly strange fashion. A real-life model of the weapon was brought out during GuardianCon and its a weird looking one.

The weapon, which has not been named as of yet appears to be a machine gun powered by some sort of pre-historic bug trapped in a block of amber…Did anyone else start humming the Jurassic Park theme tune or was it just me? We don’t yet know if this will be a random drop or an exotic tied to a quest like many of Forsaken’s exotics.

Shadowkeep is set to launch September 17th as its own separate expansion so you won’t be forced into playing previous expansions to play this content. We will no doubt see some new teases and reveals in the coming weeks.

Xbox Games With Gold For July 2019

It’s time to check out the Xbox Games with Gold offering for July! Like always we have four titles, two for the Xbox One and two for the 360 although all 4 can be downloaded and played on your Xbox One. Two titles have already been released with two more scheduled for July 16th. All 4 are completely free for those of you with an active Xbox Live Gold or an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. We have a couple of indie style games, one pretty cool throwback and one must play in my opinion. Let’s take a look.

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July 1st Xbox One – Inside

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First up this month, the Xbox One game for July 1st is Inside. Coming from Limbo developers Playdead, Inside is very similar in both its art style and its method of storytelling. This critically acclaimed title sees you explore some incredibly cool, creepy and atmospheric environments as a young boy, solving puzzles and trying to get to the bottom of what is happening. There are traps to avoid, enemies, to hide from and some seriously trippy moments that will leave you asking what the hell just happened in the best way possible. Seriously you should check out Inside.

Inside scored 93 on Metacritic with a user score of 8.3. Check out the trailer below.

 

July 1st Xbox 360 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 

 

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Up for grabs on the 360 for July 1st, we have a throwback title with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In this 2D action RPG platformer, you will battle the forces of evil through Draculas castle trying to determine the fate of your predecessor. There’s all the typical RPG stuffs to level up and upgrade as well as some decent replayability thanks to multiple endings and some pretty solid core gameplay. It’s a cult classic that everyone’s heard of, even if we haven’t played it. Will you be giving it a try?

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a respectable score of 89 on Metacritic with a user score of 8.7. Heres the trailer:

 

July 16th Xbox One – Big Crown Showdown 

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Our second game for the Xbox One releasing July 16th is the medieval-themed Big Crown Showdown. Play with either 4 player local co-op or online multiplayer and battle your way through 3 medieval-themed worlds. There are dangers to avoid and enemies to fight through as you traverse this half platformer half top-down adventure game. Its more of a party title to be enjoyed by players of any age but does it sound like something you’d play? Let us know down below or on Twitter.

Big Crown Showdown is a little sparse on reviews with only two Metacritic reviews both of which are positive, however. Check out the trailer below.

July 16th Xbox 360 – Meet the Robinsons 

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Our final title for July is Meet the Robinsons, the game based on the animated movie. You play as Wilbur Robinson as you travel back into the past to save the future from the evil Bowler Hat Guy…and I imagine I just lost all of you. Honestly, this is kind of a throw-away title for anyone other than huge fans of the film. It looks dated and judging from gameplay plays pretty dated too.

Meet the Robinsons has an average score of 63 on Metacritic with no user scores given. Check out the trailer down below.

So that about wraps it up for this months Game with Gold on Xbox. To redeem your titles simply head to the Gold section on your Xbox One, 360 or at Xbox.com/gameswithgold and your new titles should appear in the ready to install section. What are you looking forward to playing out of this months line up? Let us know down below or over on Twitter.

PS Plus Games and Best Deals For July 2019

Well, here we are again. July is bringing along with it some new PS Plus titles and what a month it is! After what was looking like another lackluster month a last-minute suprise substitution makes July 2019 one of PS plus’ best months so far. Whilst you’ll only see two games on your PS Store there’s actually three titles up for grabs this month as well as plenty of deals and discounts which we’ll be taking a look at! Let’s get into this.

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Detroit Become Human: Digital Deluxe Edition 

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If you’d have looked at the PS Plus offerings for July last week you may have been a little disappointed to see Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 as the months main game, unless of course, you’re a sports fan. We’ll it appears PlayStation has had a change of heart, as right at the last second the game was replaced with not one, but two games which I think we can all agree are far better offerings. Detroit Become Human: Digital Deluxe Edition which also comes with Heavy Rain.

Detroit Become Human is a futuristic story-driven game which could be described as an interactive movie. Set in the not too distant future you play as three different androids in a world where they want to be treated by humans as equals but society isn’t exactly prepared for that. Its controls are incredibly easy with point and click elements, a light dashing of quick-time events thrown in and plenty of branching dialogue options which fundamentally change how your game is experienced. Detroit has huge replayability, with the game basically begging you to go back and replay certain areas with different choices and it has some genuinely incredible storytelling which is not to be undermined.

Detroit is currently a PlayStation exclusive although it won’t stay that way and received glowing reviews back when it released not even a year ago. It received 78 on Metacritic, with a user score of 8.7 and IGN gave the game an 8 which seems to be the average for its review scores.

Check out the trailer below and let us know if you’re going to be giving it a try.

 

Heavy Rain

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We’re not done just yet with Detroit however, with the digital deluxe edition of the game up for grabs PS Plus subscribers also get to play Heavy Rain, another title from Detroit developers Quantic Dream. Heavy Rain is very similar to Detroit Become Human this time however you’re tasked with tracking down a serial killer. Once again your decisions matter and can even result in the permanent death of certain characters. With multiple endings and plenty of replayability, Heavy Rain is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. 

Heavy Rain also received 78 on Metacritic with a user score of 8.0, with IGN awarding the game 7.5. Check the trailer out below.

 

Horizon Chase Turbo

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Our second game for July is quite a  bit different from our headline title, with Horizon Chase Turbo. A little history lesson for you now, Horizon Chase Turbo seems to be a modern-day recreation of an old arcade classic named Outrun with some retro-style graphics and soundtrack to boot. The game boasts 4-player split-screen as well as a tour mode which takes players all around the world. Honestly, this is an acquired taste. If you’re a fan of racing games and like the cartoonish style then definitely give Horizon Chase Turbo a try.

The game sits at a pretty 77 score on Metacritic with a 7.8 user score and from what I can see player feedback is fairly positive. Check out the trailer below and see what you think.

That wraps it up for this month’s PS Plus games. What are your thoughts on the month’s offerings? Detriot Become Human is a fantastic treat in my opinion espcially paired with Heavy Rain and Horizon Turbo Chase is a nice little extra if your into that sort of thing.

Freebies For Free Games

The PS Plus offerings aren’t quite finished there, however, with a couple of extra goodies for some free-to-play games. There is a Fortnite trails and gilder pack, the same Apex Legends pack as last month and an exclusive free starter pack for Crossout. All worth checking out if you’re a subscriber.

Deal of the Week

This weeks deal of the week is Day Z the Zombie apocalypse survival game which is currently £29.99 with 25% off. 

Mega Discounts

Some of the biggest deals availbe right now for PlayStation players include The Witcher 3 for £7.49 at 70% off, Rage 2 is £31.99 at 36% off. The Doom and Wolfenstein II bundle is only £19.99 with 62% off and Middle Earth: Shadow of War is only £12.49 with a saving of 64%. 

Games Under £13

Some pretty sweet deals in the Games Under £13 deal right now. Rise of the Tomb Raider is only £9.49 with 78% off, Need for Speed and Need for Speed Rivals are both on sale being £4.99 and £6.49 respectively. Unravel is also only £6.49 with 56% off and Unravel 2 is £7.99 at half price. 

What could have been disappointing summer for PS Plus, has actually turned out to be surprisingly decent. What are your thoughts on this month’s offerings? Will you be playing Detroit Become Human over the weekend or are you looking forward to some laid back racing in Horizon Turbo Chase? let us know down below or over on Twitter.

 

Mobile Mondays: Plague Inc.

This week’s Mobile Mondays is a rather gruesome pick I’m afraid, although it’s in the best way possible. Plague Inc. sees you spread your own custom illness across the entire globe, mutating various abilities, skills and, strengths all whilst desperately trying to stop the human race’s attempt at finding a cure with the end goal of wiping out all life on earth. You horrible, horrible person. Plague Inc. is actually rather fun, if not a little morbid too, but unfortunately, the fun quickly becomes extremely tedious, and it isn’t helped if you’re a free-to-play player. Luckily you can give your illness some hilarious titles which make for some truly funny moments.

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Gameplay

Plague Inc. is very much a full-on strategy game, which obviously started off on PC but has brilliantly been adapted for the mobile platform. You select, the type of illness you wish too spread, unlocking more the more you play. You are presented with a map of the world and choose the country you want to start off in. Slowly but surely you will infect more people, gaining DNA points to spend on upgrades, abilities, and attributes. It was nice to see that your choices actually matter, the most important being what country you start off in. Real world stats are used, so picking a country like India with a high population will increase your infection rates but also require you to spec into heat resistance for your illness. Cold climates or sparsely populated areas require different upgrades. The game quickly becomes a balancing act between raising infection rate and increasing lethality so people start dying.

The more lethal your diseases the faster people die and the faster survivors start working on a cure. Speaking of cures it’s also important to watch your illness’s antidote resistance and try to stop antidote manufacturing efforts by destroying small blue bubbles that pop up around the map. Watching for airports and ports to try and infect islands or mainland countries is also important.

Early on Plague Inc. is a lot of fun, but after a good few minutes, the game’s problems start to shine through. The main one being this game is rather hard to actually beat. If people are dying faster than they are infected eventually healthy people will live and start over again, meaning you lose. If people don’t get infected fast enough an antidote will be created and you will lose. Managing these is incredibly tedious and it isn’t helped with the game running extremely slow if you don’t buy premium to speed the process up. because of this I found myself not really wanting to play after 6 or 7 failed attempts.

Story

Suprisnlgy Plague Inc. has its own strange sort of story. The game’s narrative changes each time you play depending on the country you pick and the generic randomness of your diseases spread. There are also various news headlines that flash up giving you updates from around the world which help build up a story but also help you plan out your next few moves. It isn’t much but it added something extra to the whole experience of Plague Inc.

Graphics and Sound

Unfortunalty Plague Inc. doesn’t look the greatest with a generic map of the world which gradually gets filled in red as you infect people and black as you kill people. It would look a lot better on a tablet or desktop but it serves the purpose on mobile and it is satisfying to see the entire world slowly become engulfed by your own personal illness.

Progression

Rather than having any long term progression, each time you play is its own mini-game so to speak. Progress isn’t carried forward so whatever happens in your current attempt happens. There’s plenty of different upgrades, symptoms, abilities and attributes to upgrade and eventually, you do feel like some good progress has been made but it is a huge up-hill slog to get there. After a few games, you will know if this is a game you wish to keep playing or one not worthy of your time.

plague Inc. is an interesting title. It’s definitely unique and is worth at least a little play if you’ve never tried it before but it is certainly an acquired taste. It moved a little too slowly for me and was just too tedious to properly get into but if you’ve never tried Plague Inc and you’re a fan of strategy games you should pick up Plague Inc. and give it a try.