Title: COVID: The Outbreak
Developer: Jujubee S.A.
Publisher: Jujubee S.A.
Genre: RTS, Indie, Resource Management, Simulation
Available On: PC
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Where to Buy: Steam
Outbreaks are inherently tough to deal with. People must change the habits of their daily lives. Things that were normally a simple precaution might be crucial to saving lives. The organizations that deal with pandemics are under mountains of stress. A handful of people boast about being able to do a better job. So why not put yourself through the stress with a simulation?
COVID: The Outbreak is a real-time strategy game where the player must deal with an outbreak. As the director of the Global Health Organization, it is the player’s duty to reign in the virus. It sounded like a daunting prospect, but not one I could pass up. So I decided to try my hand at managing a pandemic.
COVID: The Outbreak Gameplay
When you begin, you are presented with a screen introducing you to the Global Health Organization. COVID puts you into the shoes of the director. The first time I started, I spent way too much time simply observing. I lost control of the outbreak. The second game I started, I built a headquarters immediately when the game started. That seemed to make the world a little more stable and allow me some time to make decisions.
Each ‘project’ in the research window is started using a combination of money, medical supplies, and science points. While it sounds simple enough, I had to weigh the pros and cons of choosing one project over the other. My dedication to researching COVID was often a problem, as I ended up short when trying to fund something else. The thing about the game, though, is it forces you to decide what’s more important at a given time.
Controlling the spread of the virus is also done using quarantine procedures. You can either restrict air travel, water travel, or land travel. In addition, setting up hospitals, clinics, field treatment centers all help improve curability in the countries and surrounding areas. When the virus took hold of an entire area, it became almost impossible to stop the spread. And when social interaction became restricted, the reaction from a country’s populous had a chance to go either direction: good or bad.
Struggling to Work Together
There were also times when I had to decide as the GHO, whether or not a celebration should continue. Brazil wanted to continue their annual carnival celebration, despite the COVID pandemic. Depending on the money, supplies, and points, I could make any of three or four decisions. If I didn’t have enough of my primary resources, it was completely impossible to make what some would consider the ‘right choice.’
At no time was it ever easy to get countries to contribute. In order for a country to help, many things had to happen. The virus had to have at least a 65% curability rate before they would willingly contribute to the cause. Certain countries had absolutely no problems with their border being closed whether by land, sea, or air.
When one begins to lose support from individual countries, things become dangerous and hard to control. If enough countries cease to contribute to finding a cure or donating, saving humanity becomes nearly impossible. A domino effect began when one descended into complete anarchy. Even after sending in my security forces to quell the unrest, it was eventually not enough. The world was simply doomed to implode on itself because I hadn’t gained control of the situation well enough.
The game length of COVID: The Outbreak depends on the difficulty a player selects. You can choose from either Easy, Medium, or Hard. These difficulties also make curing the virus even more difficult. Developers did plenty of work to ensure that fans of simulation games would want to come back and continue playing.
My only gripe with the game would have to be the dialogue boxes. While in the middle of beginning a research project, I was often interrupted. It closed the window I was in, forcing me to navigate back to where I was previously.
For those just starting to get into the simulation genre, I’d suggest steering clear of this title for now. While it does share similarities to Ndemic’s Plague, Inc, this title improves on everything that that game is. Some might say it’s the virus outbreak from humanity’s perspective.
Verdict: COVID: The Outbreak is a strategy simulation game by Jujubee S. A. It gives players the opportunity to solve the crisis caused by COVID-19. Through a series of dialogue windows and building choices, players must develop a vaccine and save humanity. Such a task is not for the faint of heart and may only be completed by someone entirely dedicated. If you feel you are up to the task, check out the game on Steam.
- Comprehensive tutorial
- Substantial game length
- A lot to do
- Easy mode was not easy
- Dialogue windows interrupted play