Plague Inc. Simian Flu Brutal Guide: Save The Apes!

After several games on brutal difficulty, I've come to the conclusion that my normal strategy for Simian Flu seems to work pretty well on brutal difficulty as well--with some changes. Your game's score is heavily affected by population of intelligent apes, so try to keep as many as you can alive and infected(intelligent).

This strategy relies on ape colonies as the primary source of DNA throughout the whole game. DNA costs will increase over time, so we'll need to have at least 5 colonies generating DNA as we play. It's fine if you want to add more colonies, but know that even with genes that lessen the increase of active abilities ape colonies will keep on increasing in cost.

I've successfully finished 5 out of 6 games with a 5/5 biohazard score using this strategy. The one loss I had was because of the unfortunate mutation of Neuro-Enhancement 1 through 3 then finally Total Brain Death. The plague became very lethal at an early stage and caused the death of hosts which led to a game over.

Here's a list of stats I had on my 5 victories. I used the exact same strategy every time, and made no significant changes whatsoever.
Stats on the last 5 victories with this strategy

To everyone using this guide, always be prepared to change the strategy mid-way through the game--or at any stage you see fit--because each game is different and may require you to react differently than what the guide suggests.

Anyway, let's start with the guide. We'll discuss other things as the guide goes on.

Recommended Gene Setup

If you haven't unlocked ape genes yet, use this strategy to easily unlock them.

  • ATP Boost - 8 DNA at the beginning of the game let's us evolve some abilities before we even start our plague.
  • Teracyte - We'll be starting in a country without an airport or a harbor. This gene will help our plague easily travel through land. As alternatives, you can also use Native Biome, Aerocyte, or Aquacyte.
  • ATP Overdose - Combined with ATP Boost, you'll have 23 DNA in the beginning of the game. 
  • Leadership - Reduces the increase in costs of active abilities which we'll be using. A lot.
  • Extremophile - Minor infection rate increase in every climate. The best gene to have here, in my opinion.

Monkey Time!

1.) Before selecting a country to start in, evolve the following:
  • Simian Neuro-Genesis
  • Inter-Genus Dissemination 1 & 2
Now start your plague in Central Africa, then wait until you have 8 DNA to evolve Ape Colonies. 

Wait for this pop-up to appear: NEWSFLASH - Ape Escape
After the escape of apes, switch to ape view to easily identify countries that contain intelligent apes. Countries will be colored green once they have intelligent apes present within them.

Establish a colony in Central Africa as soon as you're able to.

2.) Right after establishing the Central Africa colony, evolve the following:
  • Social Cohesion
  • Cognitive Shift
  • Education
Wait for the following countries to have intelligent apes, then establish a colony in them
  • Sudan
  • East Africa
  • West Africa

3.) You should now have 4 colonies in total, we'll put up the 5th and final one later on. Continue by evolving the following:
  • Hominidae Bridge
  • Water and Air 1
  • Water and Air 2
  • Extreme Bioaerosol
  • Drug and Cold Resistance 1
  • Drug and Cold Resistance 2
  • Ape Rampage
  • Organised Travel
  • Logistics
  • Horseback Riding

At this point, Gen-Sys Labs should start appearing, and maybe drones(but usually they'll take awhile to appear). Be prepared to quickly use Ape Rampage on Gen-Sys labs and move colonies that are targeted by drones. Here's a few notes to help you out.
  1. You cannot use Ape Rampage on countries without intelligent apes. You have to move apes into the country first.
  2. Without the Seafaring ability, your apes will die if you send them across the sea. Even with the 1.9.1 update(where the devs say that they "taught the apes to swim") they will still die. Might need more info on this.
  3. If you want to save more apes(for a higher score), play on normal speed. You'll be able to destroy labs as soon as they pop-up and move apes if they're being circled in by drones.

4.) Wait for one of these countries to have intelligent apes, then quickly establish a colony in the first one to get intelligent apes:
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • China
Remember: Put your fifth and final colony on the first country to get intelligent apes from the list of countries above.

After establishing your final colony, it's now time to make the Simian Flu as infectious and cure-slowing as we possibly can. Evolve the following that have not mutated yet.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pharyngitis
  • Coughing
  • Pneumonia
  • Haemoptysis
  • Sneezing
  • Epistaxis
  • Rash
  • Photophobia
  • Subconjunctival Bleed
  • Subconjunctival Haemorrhage
  • Blindness
  • Genetic Hardening 1 & 2
Remember to destroy labs and evade drones!

5.) Wait until you get the "No one healthy left" pop-up, then evolve the following lethal symptoms that haven't mutated yet.
  • Neuro-Enhancement 1, 2 & 3
  • Total Brain Death
  • Dysentery
  • Pulmonary Haemorrhage
  • Gastric Ulceration
  • Haemorrhagic Shock
  • Hypocoagulability
  • Internal Haemorrhaging
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Meningitis
  • Coma
Remaining DNA you'll be able to gather should be use to evolve Genetic ReShuffle 1, Hardened Reshuffle, and Genetic ReShuffle 2, in that order.

Now just sit back and wait for the rise of the Simian Race.

Also, here's what my transmissions, symptoms, and abilities tree looked like at the end of the game:

 Alternate Strategies

Credits and Closing Remarks

Thanks to everyone who has commented on guides and have submitted their own. Thanks also to all those who've shared their information regarding the Simian Flu. Without the information you guys have shared, guides would not be made better!

I hope these guides have helped you conquer the brutal difficulty with ease, and thanks for reading this guide. HSG!


  1. Worked for me! Thanks so much!!

  2. Явор СимеоновJuly 22, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Totally works practically 100% of the time unless the game decides to mutate intelligence symptoms only. By tweaking with the sequensing recomended in this guide I managed to get it to 509 days finish with the cure at 19%. It still was not enough to get the elusive 3 Biohazards in a scenario but I am hopefull. An amendment I recoment to everybody is to try and increase the symptoms progression aerlier by evolving the cheap symptoms (early infection ones and early cure prevention ones) and thus forcing the game to go mutate the expensive ones. Also added fomites 1,2 later in the game while developping milder killer symptoms to speed up the rate at which humanity died. Finally I also set up 2 additional colonies later on (Indonesia and USA) with the simple purpose of harvesting more DNA to use on Hardened reshuffle earlier on. I think that by working and developping this guide we should be able to both get the elusive 3 Biohazards on scenarios and use it on Mega Brutal

  3. I'm currently experimenting on a mega-brutal guide that finishes within 365 days right now--to be used for scenarios. Had no luck yet, but will post the guide as soon as I get something going.

    P.S. If you want to finish fast. You cannot count on apes. I think

  4. The mutation of just the "neuro-enhancement" symptoms seem to happen every other game I've started, and I've found myself having to just start over again- mostly because they are ridiculously expensive to devolve.

  5. I'm sure everybody here's longingly waiting for such a guide... But I think you cannot ignore the apes completly - otherwise the Gen Sys labs will always make cure progress complete way too fast! The question is how much DNA you have to spend in ape abilities for e.g. disturbing the cure progress while keeping enough DNA left for evolving transmissions and symptoms to infect the humans quickly...

  6. Hi! I have used your strategy guides on all the plagues and special plagues and on a couple of the scenarios so far, and not once have they failed me. They have actually worked the first time every time. I just want to thank you for taking the time to do all these guides, it's very much appreciated!

  7. Worked with mega brutal even with high cure percentage I got full stars. Good job with this guide!

  8. Явор СимеоновJuly 26, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    I tested it and it works on Mega Brutal albeit it is much harder as you have to adapt and sacrifice steps. I modified one thing only - swapped the initial gene setup to Ion Surge. You HAVE to be able to devolve the inteligence symptoms otherwwise you are screwed the second one of them mutates on mega brutal

  9. that is a really good idea with a colony in usa. i tried that today and it really gives some bonus dna... before that i tried a few more transmissions early on here and there, and i did not need to even evolve any travelling because it spreaded so fast. but at the second try with that stradegy i had several problems, yet i dont really know why. well, i'm still quite new in plague inc, i play evolved at pc

  10. greetings dear Spicy! hahahh, i simply cant believe it, your guides are idiot-safe! lol, i tried that one brutal for the first time, with lack in genes - i was creeping around with "cortisol sensitivity" and "call of the wild" (i had no others yet) - and then i even forgot to take the second inter genus dissemmination + a few other problems and i thought it was already over... but what the HELL, i still made 4 biohazards, omfg... XDDD


  11. Works on IOS. Thanks. Any guide for mega brutal 3 Biohazard?

  12. I got an "neuro-enchamcent" almost at the beggining of the game, anda I still won, 5 biohazard 181k points, I didn't need to unevolve ir, good luck, great guide

  13. Failed twice on this by using this. The DNA become very costly and the drone and Gen-Sys lab all together attacking I ccouldn't farm enough DNA. As the Flu mutates, it became very lethal, most of the places shut down its border....The flu also couldn't spread fast enough in cold countries in Canada and Greenland because the infection not fast enough....

    My first try the infected people all died in Greenland....

    Worst of all the cure reached 100% without I reached "No healthy people left"....

    Perhaps a patched has released to boost the AI?

  14. I did too; when 6 humans were infected it evolved.
    The thing is, it costs 43 to devolve o-o

  15. UPDATE: Now I just got Neuro-Enhancement 2. 15 people infected :P

  16. OTHER UPDATE: Well it surprisingly went well. Except it crashed at the end.

  17. Thank you!! I was going insane with this level and was about to start smashing things in my house. I followed your instructions and it worked like a charm; easy peasy! Thanks again :)