From the very first time I launched Pandemic 2.5 [$0.99], I was out to obliterate humanity. My implement of destruction was a virus I called "Iloveyou"—named for a classic. Iloveyou started its life in South Africa, a humble disease with a single carrier. He probably didn't even know he was sick. At first, we were asymptomatic.

Iloveyou had room to evolve, with 8 EvoPoints to grow into. I spent them carefully. I enhanced our heat capacity, so we wouldn't die out in the desert. I developed our first symptom: rhinorrhea, the runny nose. A little mucus can go a long way toward spreading a cold, I reckoned. I hoped to spread out to insects, but we weren't yet advanced enough. I threw in dysuria and photophobia for good measure—not enough to kill our hosts by far, but enough to cause a little discomfort and hopefully improve our spread.

Then we began. The number of infected grew quickly, then stalled out. I had a few more EvoPoints to work with at this point, so we brought in our insect friends. Even with a few more symptoms, Iloveyou didn't make it much further than that; we were too slow and our infection vectors just sort of got better. But I learned from that first experience. On our next outing we made it to the next tier of symptoms, picking up a cough. Then our victims began to suffer fevers. We lost a few of the infected early on, but we were finally on our way.

And so it went. At first we refrained from killing our victims. Hosts are more important than corpses. We spread across borders before anyone knew to shut them, took out hospitals before anyone knew what was going on. Once most of the world was within our grasp we took the next step and became fatal.

When people started dying, they knew they had a problem on their hands. They mobilized quickly, developed a vaccine almost before we could react. It was too late for most of them, but it was also too late for us: the people that were left were cured, and we would never see our dream of total global destruction come true. Granted, it was quite the morbid dream. It made me a bit queasy to see the number of living humans dwindle, sure. But it's never nice to lose.

If all this sounds familiar, it might be because you've played Pandemic 2. The Flash game has been around for years—it even has its own popular meme. Pandemic 2.5 is a complete overhaul for the mobile crowd. With a new interface and a few improvements, it's decent port of the desktop classic.

Decent, mind you, but certainly not great. There are little problems, like awkward text fields and introductory text that flows right off the screen. Bigger issues include things like a complete lack of tutorial, and a news ticker that flies by too quickly to read if the game is in anything but full-on sloth mode.

The biggest issue of all is that the game can be agonizingly slow. It's simply not ideal for a mobile platform in its current state. Playing Pandemic involves a lot of waiting, especially if you've already lost the ability to win and just want to get your final score. Normally I'd pull out my phone while the slow parts passed, but, well, you can see the problem with that.

Here's the thing, though: Pandemic in this form is just as compelling as it's ever been. Some of the bigger problems with the Flash game have even been worked out. The meme is outdated, as Madagascar is no longer ludicrously paranoid unless you're playing at the top tier of difficulty. There are also traits (and associated achievements) you can unlock by completing hidden requirements, something that builds a sense of overall progression. If you can ignore the interface problems, this is the best take on the subject matter yet.

So consider this a cautious recommendation. If you can stomach the mild horror of obliterating humanity, if you can handle a somewhat clunky port, it's pretty great to have Pandemic on the go. It sounds as though Dark Realm Studios is already working on fixing some of the game's problems, too. Me, I'm working on a new strategy. With luck, we'll take the island nations, wipe 'em all out before they know what hit them. Awful to contemplate? Sure. But Pandemic makes a convincing argument: isn't it time we gave the bugs their turn?

TouchArcade Rating

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  • ohwussup

    after a few days of playing i still haven't found a way to obliterate humanity without just luck and button mashing

  • maniacfive

    At .69p I will take a punt. I had no idea that pandemic was this sort of game. whenever I heard the name I assumed some sort of pun-tasticly named.... I don't know, but it certainly wasn't actually a pandemic simulator.

  • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

    This is well worth the money, it's really fun once you figure out what you need to do (Hint: Look at the temperature in the location you're growing your virus...), and then it's a lot of fun.  Then you can try different things to wipe out humanity in various ways. 

    The developer is already working on making a few changes (the news log is one of them) and has been posting in the thread.

    This game, for a buck, is brilliant and in my mind for what it offers, a 5 star game.  I do agree it moves too slow and 80% of the time I was on the 4 or 10 setting, yes it was irrirtating to see the text wrap like that but damn, watching your virus shut down the borders, shut down the power, wipe out cities endlessly... it's FREAKING AWESOME.

  • http://twitter.com/BenEhlers Ben Ehlers

    But whither the classic co-op board game Pandemic? 

    • diemer

      Everytime I see something about this Pandemic I hope it's the board game Pandemic. I'm hoping the guys that did Forbidden Island will pick up the rights for it.

      • stebach

        I think the app "Eradicate" would be pretty identical to the boardgame Pandemic

  • http://www.facebook.com/allan.curtis1 Allan Curtis

    Whats the point of this when you can just use Puffin web browser and play the flash version for nothing?

    • Riku Wikabower

       It's optimized for iOS?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephenmwalls Stephen M Walls

    But can you kill Madagascar?! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Yonne-Mchenry/100001246458296 Yonne Mchenry

       Unless your on the hardest difficulty, don't worry about madagascar, it's places like Iceland you need to worry about if no airport and no ports means if they close their borders, your screwed, and you have to get high cold resistance or your disease will never survive.

  • Gatada

    I was looking forward to playing the game on the iPad with the entire world laid out on the screen, alas, the current iPad version is simply the iPhone version scaled up (yes, in portrait).

    If the game is updated with a landscape world map that needs no scrolling, with disease manipulation on a horizontal similar to Twitter, the game would be awesome.

    Currently I prefer it on the iPhone.

    The game is pretty cool. Love the concept. The interface isn't perfect, but it works. Currently it seems the game pauses while you watch the world stats. Personally I would prefer to handle pausing manually, so I could see the numbers increase in real time while watching world stats.

    This game has great potential. If it sells enough, we might see some of that realized.

  • Azedenkae

    I got really close on my 4th game, got to day 8000 because my disease was so slow killing (though it had high infectivity), Madagascar and Greenland closed their borders at first but Madagascar opened up later on. Greenland was still closed at day 8000, and I was hoping it'd open, but then I updated my iphone and >_>.

    Anyways on my 6th game I managed to do it, eradicate all humans. I think I did it once or twice more.

    Basically what you want to do is to, at first, have an extremely infective microbe, but with the lowest visibility and lethality as possible - this is to spread your disease without actually increasing its notoriety.

    Once it has spreaded to ALL regions, then start on the lethality part. You can play around a bit here, deciding between going full lethality or not, because usually lethality will correspond to visibility, and that'll lead to a much higher increase in notoriety, which in effect will force vaccine development. And that's not fun.

    Something else that you may want to consider is symptoms that could force hospital closure, as that'll slow down vaccine development immensely.

    So do some traits.

    Also get drug capacity, that's recommended.

    And... yeah, a few more things that you can play around with. :))

Pandemic 2.5 Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 3.5