Game Reviews

‘Quarantine’ Review: Infectious Diseases Have Never Been So Fun

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Quick Take: The world is sick and needs your help. Quarantine to the rescue with a short learning curve and bursts of turn-based strategy fun.

A new disease has appeared and it has no known cure. It’s your goal to find the cure while trying to prevent the pathogen from infecting the entire globe.

Sound familiar?

If you’re a tabletop enthusiast, you may be thinking of Pandemic, the cooperative multiplayer board game in which you try to cure diseases that have sprung up around the world. In many ways, Quarantine is just like Pandemic, especially in the goal to cure the disease and stop it from spreading. Even the map is eerily similar, with cities connecting in similar ways.

It’s hard to deny that Pandemic is certainly an inspiration for Quarantine, and it was a great idea considering Pandemic is one of the most successful tabletop games on the market. But the single-player PC game sets itself apart from the much-beloved board game in quite a few ways.

In Quarantine, you start out a game controlling just one character. There are a few different characters to choose from, including a medic that can treat twice as fast, a scientist who can obtain twice as many research samples, and a diplomat that can build offices at half price. each of these have their own unique starting techs. An outbreak occurs in one or two cities around the world. If you’re lucky, the cities will be fairly close to each other so the disease will be a little easier to contain. You then choose a city to set your base in that’s near the outbreak.

Your characters have the ability to move to a city and perform an action. There are several actions to choose from, including treating the disease, procuring a sample for research, building and office to increase your revenue, and quarantining the city.

The research factor is where Quarantine sets itself apart from Pandemic. In order to research a cure for a disease, you have to obtain a certain number of samples for each trait of the disease. Depending on the disease and the difficulty you’re playing at, it could have as many as two to four different traits at the beginning.

As you progress through Quarantine, you have to monitor the mutation bar in the top left corner. If it maxes out, the disease develops a new trait that you have to research a cure for and that also gives the disease an upgrade, such as an increased infection rate. This could increase the chance at which the disease spreads to new cities, or how fast the disease infects cities it’s already in.

Outbreak also distinguishes itself with the use of tech trees. There are four paths you can take, and you’ll already have one tech that is dependent on the character you chose at the beginning. The medic starts with a tech that gets experience faster for your operatives while the scientist starts with a mutation inhibitor tech that slows down the rate at which the disease mutates. Each branch of the tree has its own advantages but it’s hard to determine what you’ll need throughout the game.

While there are several things Outbreak does right, the number of scenarios available limit the game’s potential replay value. Luckily, 505 Games were released it with full mod support so people can design their own campaigns and share them with other players with relative ease.

If you’re a fan of Pandemic, you’ll definitely enjoy this game. Even if you’ve never heard of Pandemic, you’ll probably still enjoy Quarantine. It’s a fast-paced, unpredictable turn-based strategy game that will have you pulling out your hair at times and rejoicing in sweet victory at others. The games are short, but addicting, and you’ll be treating diseases and quarantining cities in no time.

Quarantine was released May 24th, 2017 for PC. This review was based on a Steam code provided by the publisher.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

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