Plague Inc.: Top 5 tips, tricks and cheats

Plague Inc. is one of the more popular games on the iOS App Store, and with good reason. Players gently guide and evolve a disease in an attempt to wipe out humanity, battling government research efforts. Increasing transmission, deadliness, and severity are all core to the success, but also ensuring that you have enough healthy hosts to thrive on. Different disease types enjoy different characteristics and offer new strategic options. It's a grim premise, but an entertaining one. If you've already been playing for awhile and are looking for ways to get more out of the game, check out some of our helpful Plague Inc. hints below!

1. Infect before killing

A minor disease in Plague Inc.

One of the key strategies to winning Plague Inc. is to make sure your disease, no matter the type, is highly transmittable. Pouring DNA points into deadly symptoms early on will kill off all of the hosts in a country, stopping its spread, raise alarms, and shut down ports of entry into isolated countries. In the early game, invest in transmission, and make sure every country on the globe has at least a few infected within its borders. Odds are symptoms will naturally mutate on their own over time, and some of them, like coughing, can help a lot with infectivity. Even once you start investing heavily into lethal symptoms, be sure to keep putting a few points into transmission until the whole world is infected. The easiest way to tell if your virus is too deadly is if your number of infected is going down at a steady rate as the death toll rises.

2. Start in an isolated country

Plague Inc. starting location

My two go-to beginning countries are Madagascar and Greenland. Warm, low-income, high-density countries like India might seem like a better choice, but they’re easy enough to overrun, especially once your disease has gathered momentum elsewhere. Madagascar and Greenland, however, only have the one port of entry and are hard to get to otherwise (even with bird migrations). I’ve lost many games because there was a token handful of survivors in either of these locations, while my virus managed to wipe out the rest of the world.

3. Watch the news

Plague Inc. news

You’ll get occasional pop-ups for especially dramatic news, but be sure to comb through the headlines after tapping the News icon at the top. Help you see at a glance which countries you will need to target, and which are falling into anarchy well enough on their own. New medical breakthroughs can also steer you away from certain symptoms, while random events may make some countries particularly good targets.

4. Research countries

Plague Inc. country view

When you tap on a country on the map, you’ll notice a little “i” next to their name at the bottom of the screen. Tap that, and you’ll get some interesting information about the country, including climate, number of infected, healthy, and dead. This can all be important stuff to know when, for example, targeting a country that is leading the global cure effort. For a higher-level view, tap the World button in the bottom-right, tap the Data tab at the top, and tap Infection Spread Summary. If there’s anything left in the Healthy Countries column, you’ve got work to do.

5. Plan your evolution

Plague Inc. symptoms

The price of all disease upgrades go up as you purchase others with DNA points. That said, figure out which high-level abilities you want, and make a beeline for it. Those abilities will get consummately more expensive if you spread out your upgrades among multiple paths. Total organ failure and coma are good destinations on the Symptoms tree, while Extreme Bioaerosol will make sure the disease can keep moving around by plane and boat regardless of technological improvements.

Hack your way to global anarchy

As for cheats, there are a few available within the game already, but only after you’ve completed stages on on Brutal. If you have a jailbroken device, however, you can give yourself unlimited DNA towards that goal. Find the folder with your favorite file viewer, and open up bacteria.txt in the editor. Find the mention of Air1 in that file, and scroll down to the cost value. Replace it so it reads something along the lines of “cost:+999”. While you’re in there, you can also crank up the infectiouness score to 999 (without the “+”) to get an easy win on Brutal. Now when you get the Air infectivity upgrade, you’ll be granted 999 DNA to spend willy-nilly, and it will make your virus infinitely infectious.

Your top tips, tricks, and cheats?

With those tips, you should be leading mankind to total and utter ruin in no time. What are your favorite ways of shuffling civilization into an era of endless despair? If you haven't tried out Plague Inc. yet, don't let all the doom and gloom bring you down; it's surprisingly fun and challenging. Go ahead and download it from the App Store, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.