Plague Inc. Tips & Tricks

By Michael Coffer 17 Jun 2020 0

Plague, Inc. sets the natural rise of a new pandemic against the existing forces of civilization. On the invaders side, they will use new sources of transmission and symptoms to spread far and wide. The spread of disease grants players additional tools to mutate their threat.

Countries will eventually take notice, though, and once a critical threshold of detection is passed, will respond with escalating research and security measures. An individual country might close its land borders or stop incoming flights, but the most serious one for aspiring plagues is the cure.

The cure is a doomsday clock for the doomsday clock. It represents humankind’s collective efforts to eradicate this threat. It’s a purely binary threat: once the cure research reaches 100%, it’s game over. Plague Inc. has an almost inexhaustible amount of variations on this basic theme, and they’re all pretty fun and satisfying to try. We’ll break down the differences of play and valid approaches in our guide.

Plague Inc. Tips | Steps to Success

Step Zero: It’s in the genes, baby

Customize your five types of genes to either double-down on a unique strength (Patho-stasis for Fungus, e.g.) or else shore up a weak zone, like climate resistance or spreading bonuses for environments. These aren’t unlocked by default, and are overkill on easier difficulty modes, but they are crucial for Brutal and above, and allow experienced players to fine-tune builds and strategies to suit both personal preferences and the situation at hand.

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Step One: Location, location, location

Aside from the disease pick, a player’s starting location is absolutely pivotal. The spread pattern and rate depend heavily on the position and climate of the country of origin. It’s a Plague, Inc cliche that Greenland and Madagascar end up being late-game roadblocks, becoming totally inaccessible once they close borders and thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. When selecting the starting country, you want some land-spread, usually, and islands or flights on nearby neighbors. Starting out in the corner position is also a mistake, though, because your disease will be locked-in for far too long in these isolated pockets, making detection come sooner than necessary. To get to Greenland, start in northern Europe or Russia, as the bonus cold resistance will help. For Madagascar, try equatorial Africa or the mid-east.

Step Two: See the world

Your first and foremost task is to spread far and wide. The transmission rate is influenced by a few factors. The infection stat, which is helpfully displayed on the evolution page, is the single greatest factor. It is your first priority. Select the most immediately advantageous ones at the start and transition to the niche cases last. In the beginning, spend as soon as points become available, and pop those orange and red bubbles constantly. (If your disease is sub-Saharan, use insects to spread at only move into urban biome bonuses later). Situationally the various resistances will also play a role in the right environment. Russia is frigid, so cold resistance confers a benefit there; first-world countries use antibiotics and other treatments so the appropriate resistance is practically a must to spread effectively in that nation.

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Step Three: For All Things a Season

The game awards evolution points for infecting new countries as well as for reaching certain population milestones. These are the bread-and-butter of strategy, and forming an effective build path depends on the nature of your disease and random events of a particular playthrough. Speaking generally, maximizing transmission and resistances early is a must, with an inevitable late game pivot to lethality. Something innocuous and omnipresent, like the common cold, that morphs into pure putrefaction in the final act. There are a few expensive symptoms which can increase lethality fivefold or more.

Bonus Tip: Learn to pivot.

The cinch to all of this is rationing and timing the ever-necessary evolution points, because perks cost progressively more to evolve with each pick, and the points additionally become harder to earn. Timing this pivot takes a little practice, but you’ll get the hang of it. Parasites can afford to be stealthy and pool points insidiously for ages; viruses have spontaneous traits added through uncontrollable mutations and must move quickly. The general scope and plan is always: lay low, travel to as many countries as you can, then once you’re in position, steal the spotlight and end the game.

Plague Inc Tips | How to get DNA points?

  • Infecting greater raw numbers of people
  • Killing more of its hosts
  • Spreading to new countries
  • De-volving traits to reclaim points (done manually, only offers a pittance)

Plague Inc Tips | What are the best plague types?

  • Bacteria are the default, middle-of-the-road plague type. They are average in their abilities and drawbacks, and their unique ability research
  • Parasites turn the game progression upside-down: they start rather noticeable and lethal, and must quickly evolve to blend in. Once they do, though, they are uniquely stealthy and can often infect the whole world before cure research begins or progresses far.
  • Viruses mutate new symptoms constantly throughout the game and must pay to remove them. They are high-profile and chaotic but powerful, as mutated symptoms mean more DNA to spend elsewhere.
  • The Fungus is slow-moving and dull but can use points to spread to new countries via its Spore Burst upgrade.
  • The Nano-Virus begins the game detected and with a world-wide effort to find its Kill-Code (aka cure). It has beefier stats all-around to compensate for this, and has unique upgrades to slow research.
  • The Bio-Hazard increases in lethality as time passes and must actively be reset multiple times to avoid having the transmission rate fall below the death count.
  • Prions are subtle and difficult to cure but exceptionally difficult to spread.

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These four are special and have unique mechanics and drawbacks, significantly altering usual gameplay:

  • The Neutrax Worm can alter the behavior of its human host, sending flights full of infected passengers to a country of the player’s choosing.
  • The Necroa are the zombie apocalypse, with advanced regenerative and metabolic abilities. They can reanimate corpses to further spread the disease.
  • The Simian is Plague Inc.’s nod to Planet of the Apes scenario, with the plague seeking to facilitate the rise of ape population and intelligence.
  • The Shadow Plague are vampires which can hunt and convert humans with an elaborate system of abilities and weaknesses.

Plague Inc. Tips | Unlockables and Secrets

  • To unlock diseases, you must beat them in a set order. Simply beat the game using the previous disease on normal or better.
  • To unlock genes from the collective pool, simply beat the game with anything.
  • The rarer diseases (Neurax, Necroa, Simian, Shadow plague) will all be unlocked once you beat the game on brutal difficulty with every basic disease.
  • Finally, cheat codes are unlocked by beating the game on mega-brutal difficulty with every disease.

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Does Plague Inc. have Multiplayer?

Yes, and it’s glorious, though only two-player. Each player picks a secret starting country and continues to spread until either one is cured or everyone is infected and passed, in which case the disease with the higher tally ins. There’s an element of Battleship, with bonus DNA awarded for keeping your starting location hidden for as long as possible. Oh, and you can offensively trigger the cure research to ruin your opponent’s day.


Plague, Inc. is the grand-daddy of disaster simulators. Its modelling system and in-game terms for disease outbreaks are both morbidly close to the current global threat of COVID-19. Naturally, it can be difficult to emotionally and/or ethically detangle the game’s state from the present day-to-day stark reality. Games are not sources of pure information or escapism, they are enduring and evolving cultural artefacts and as such can be considered in measured, complex ways. Such consideration is beyond the purview of this guide, which seeks only to speak of the game as such.



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