How Tos

Plague Inc - How to beat the Virus-type disease

Plague Inc - How to beat the Virus-type disease

Ever since 2020 and the outbreak of Covid, Plague Inc is one game that has seemed remarkably prescient. But even so, it presents players with a myriad of challenges that allow them to instead play the part of virological antagonist. We’re going to give you the basics on how to clear each disease, this time dealing with the Virus.

Plague Inc challenges players to design and spread a virus across a simulated planet Earth, to infect and - in many scenarios - kill every living person. Opposing them are the world’s governments and WHO, who will go to great lengths to develop a cure that if successful will end in the player’s defeat. It’s a morbid but fascinating take on the strategy genre.

However, much like with real diseases, those that you develop in Plague Inc can be complex and difficult to understand. In this guide, we’re focusing mainly on Vanilla playthroughs for first-timers, without the use of genes. With that in mind we’ll be going over the basic strategies to keep in mind for this classic title.

General Tips
  • Focus on increased transmission before developing more serious symptoms. The more serious symptoms you develop, the greater the likelihood your disease will be noticed in the early stages.
  • Infect countries with access to both land and sea for maximum range. Focus on those with poorer access to healthcare and in generally temperate climates as cold areas tend to stymie most diseases.
  • Ironically, killing people should not be your main focus, a carrier is better for your plague’s transmission than a corpse.
  • Watch the two bars at the bottom of your screen. Transmission is your main focus to spread the disease after which you’ll need to develop lethal symptoms. By necessity you’ll need to develop at least some noticeable symptoms, but only if they notably increase infectivity.
  • Watch for mutations, these can spawn new symptoms that may inadvertently alert authorities to your disease’s existence, or even hamper your ability to spread effectively.
  • Start in Iceland/Greenland if you want a fun time.
The Virus

The main strength of the Virus, but also the issue, is the fact that - like a real-world Virus - it rapidly and uncontrollably mutates. As you likely already know, the key to winning in Plague Inc is carefully balancing transmission methods with symptoms, allowing your disease to spread as unnoticeably as possible before it achieves widespread coverage. Only then can you focus on killing instead of infecting, with the Virus that means you need to focus on transmission, as devolving (i.e. removing) noticeable symptoms becomes exponentially more expensive as you go.

While it has the same symptoms as other plagues we’ve covered, like the Fungus, the main ability of the Virus is to increase the rapidity of its mutations. This can be useful as it saves on DNA, but also means that the Severity and discoverability of your plague increase exponentially.

To begin, you should, as most runs advise, select a poorer, humid region with lower access to healthcare. Avoid areas like Greenland and Iceland especially as their cold environments will severely hamper the spread of your plague. Avoid America and Western Europe since they generally have higher healthcare quality and will need Drug Resistance to reliably infect.

Ideally, you’ll want to focus on transmission methods. Air, Water and Zoonotic (such as Rats and Birds.) will help to spread your plague from their starting point. You’ll want to avoid investing in the Viral Instability ability until later on, but all being well you should be able to quickly gain enough DNA to unlock Drug Resistance and Genetic Hardening, increasing the amount of time spent researching a cure.

While the Virus needs some focus, it’s probably one of the easier specialised diseases. By focusing on Transmission and buying up all Genetic Hardening and Genetic ReShuffle abilities, you’ll easily be able to spread - after which it’s just a matter of buying Viral Instability and watching your disease go haywire to achieve complete destruction of the human race.

To beat the Virus plague you should…
  • Focus on transmission, more than anything else, as symptoms will easily mutate one of the methods is to focus instead on transmission while letting the virus naturally develop.
  • Devolve symptoms sparingly, and only in the case of very deadly ones, such as Total Organ Failure, which can quickly upset a game run even in the late stage. As a rule, only allow extremely lethal symptoms to develop once you’ve reached 100% infection.
  • Ensure you buy Genetic Hardening and Genetic Reshuffle ASAP, even before the Cure begins work. This drastically slows research later on.
  • Only buy Viral Instability after you’ve seen roughly 50% or so coverage, the good thing is this means you don’t need to worry about developing more lethal symptoms as when you buy Viral Instability these will mostly develop on their own.
  • When you reach 100% coverage, the run is basically over (so long as you bought the Viral Instability, Genetic hardening and Genetic Reshuffle traits…right?), so sit back and watch the chaos unfold.

With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble clearing the Virus. But if that's not enough, feel free to check out our tips and tricks for Plague Inc!

Iwan Morris
Iwan Morris
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.