Quarantine by developer Sproing is a turn-based strategy game based around the concept of working to prevent a global disease from infecting too many people. This is a trite comparison, but it’s basically the opposite of Plague, Inc. With all the world’s major cities to choose from, a variety of disease types and operatives, as well as a few challenging choices that the player must make for each subsequent turn, one would think that the game should be a lot more deep and enjoyable than it ends up being in the long run.
The gameplay begins with you picking an infected city to build an office in, and then hiring an operative. Offices bring in extra cash for you at the end of each turn and operatives are the characters whom you control throughout each game. Each turn, you can make an operative treat the infected population of a city, which slows the overall progress of the disease; set up a quarantine in a city, which prevents the disease from spreading in or out of that city; or collect samples of the disease within a city. Collecting enough samples allows the player to research traits of the disease, and when all traits have been researched, a cure is found and the player wins. Each action that the operatives can perform always has a slight chance at hurting that operative’s health, which can be healed with no consequences for a turn. Extra offices can also be built to increase the player’s cash flow.
On top of all that, scenarios will occasionally pop up to cause extra trouble. Surprisingly, these random events are the most enjoyable part of the game. Each one usually offers multiple different options to resolve the conflict, each with varying chances of success. They also sometimes result in different outcomes that can affect the population, making them more or less willing to cooperate with your anti-disease efforts. It’s too bad that they don’t affect the game in more extreme ways. Although I can understand why the developers chose for them not to – I imagine most players wouldn’t take too kindly to having entirely random events change the course of their games.
At first, I was rather impressed by Quarantine, making it through the early access slog and ending up being a decently polished and functional game. But as I got about halfway through my first game, I realized that I had begun repeating my actions and that it had essentially turned into a game of waiting until the next turn when I could finally research a new disease trait or tech upgrade. It just got boring. After you win or lose a game, you’re simply shown a graph of how much money you possessed and how many people were infected throughout the game, and then brought to the main menu. There is no sort of leveling or unlock system for your profile, no multiplayer, and no real reason to keep playing other than the meaningless Steam achievements. The game is incredibly shallow and the illusion of depth quickly fades.
It took a lot of money, but I cured my first disease. (Although, is it really that much money in the long run – less than a million dollars to literally save the world?)
Quarantine is a passable game, plain and simple. However, it’s very difficult to find enjoyment with it beyond maybe 45-60 minutes of gameplay. At least there are seemingly no major glitches. But it would need to provide a LOT more of an incentive if it wants me to keep me playing it. The price is only $10, yet I simply cannot make an honest recommendation for this game.
Final Rating: 5/10
Quarantine is now available for PC on Steam.