Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Plague Inc.' Tops App Store Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Plague Inc - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Ndemic Creations

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: more 'Dragon Quest' headed to phones; 'Fire Emblem Heroes' gets a subscription pass; and two new heroes join 'Marvel Contest of Champions.'

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Plague Inc. shot to the top of the App Store's top paid apps, dethroning Minecraft, which held the position for several years.

According to a report by app analytics company Apptica, Plague Inc. saw a massive spike in downloads on Jan. 23, the same day the city of Wuhan went into quarantine and stopped all air and rail travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese city is the supposed origin of the virus that has raised concern around the globe, enough to rejuvenate interest in the mobile game centered around spreading various diseases and plagues. 

Enough attention was placed on Plague Inc. that Ndemic Creations, the studio behind the mobile game, issued a statement that, although their game was built in a realistic and informative matter, players should seek information on real world problems from global health authorities. At one point, the statement on the company website could not be accessed as the high player count brought the site offline. Plague Inc. was released in 2012 and has seen similar spikes of interest in its eight years on the market whenever an outbreak of disease makes headlines.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

More Dragon Quest on Mobile

Another Dragon Quest game is headed to phones in the form of Dragon Quest Tact, a new free-to-play game focused on turn based battles on top of a grid based 3D map. Only a few details are available, but screenshots reveal classic Dragon Quest enemies like the Great Sabrecat and Slime will appear. Japan will get the game on iOS and Android later this year with no official word on a release anywhere else. More recently, last year saw the release of Dragon Quest Walk.

Fire Emblem Heroes Gets a Subscription Pass

To commemorate the third anniversary of Fire Emblem Heroes, a new monthly subscription pass, dubbed the Feh Pass, is available for dedicated fans looking for additional features and rewards. For $9.50 a month, players gain access to a 5 Star Hero along with their corresponding Resplendent Attire. The first round of heroes include Lyn: Lady of the Plains, available until Feb. 24; and Cordelia: Knight Parafon, available until March 9. As a Feh Pass member you can also participate in special quests for additional orbs and heroic grails. Other additions include the ability to replay the same map multiple times and the Re-Act feature that lets you return to different points of a match.

Two New Heroes for Contest of Champions

Marvel Contest of Champions will see two new characters added this month with Mojo and Longshot joining the cast. Longshot is the star of the Mojovere's most dangerous shows and the archrival of Mojo, the being that lives within the Mojoverse, a place where radio and communication signals meet. As part of the V25.3 update, a special love event featuring Deadpool is also available and features additional achievements. Marvel Contest of Champions currently features over 160 playable characters.

February Events for Wizards Unite

Another month, another set of events for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. February continues to honor the legacy of Dumbledore with the second part of the Darkest of Times Brilliant Event, ending on Feb. 11. The ongoing Book Night event is set to end on Feb. 7 and features special tasks where Dragon Eggs and the Goblet of Fire Foundable can be encountered. The Lost Love Brilliant Events starts on Feb. 13 and sees the return of Minerva McGonagall while Part 2 kicks off on Feb. 25 and features the Mirror of Erised. A Community Day featuring Doxies and Leprechauns is set for Feb. 23.