Review: Civilization Revolution, by 2K
Civilization Revolution, by 2K
• Can get the feel of playing Civilization!
• Lots of options, scenarios, and difficulties
• Interface is difficult to get used to if you are used to the PC version
• Complete game (including multiplayer) requires in-app purchases
Many a college day or night (or, if I am forced to admit it, post-college days and nights) was spent playing Civilization on the computer. I don’t want to think about the total amount of time spent, because it would probably be depressing. Civilization on the iPhone is available, and given the opportunity, could be just as much of a time waster as the PC version. This is a review of the iPhone version - the review of the iPad version is in the other forum, and is the same except using iPad images.
I am not going to go into too much detail about how to play Civilization, since the game has been around for literally decades (in various incarnations). However, the idea is to build an empire over time, eventually winning the game through a variety of win scenarios (not just limited to conquering your neighbors). When you start, you get to choose your leader (such as Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and more) each with their specific benefits and drawbacks. As you try to reach one of the winning goals, you travel across the land, building cities, generating revenue, building armies, feeding your people, and basically just trying to survive. You build up your cities through city improvements, ranging from city walls and marketplaces to banks, stock exchanges, and even wonders of the world. You deal with other civilizations through trade, war, subterfuge, or just trying to ignore them.
Figure 1 - Choose your leader to lead your people, each with specific bonuses and benefits.
The game can get pretty complex, and because there are multiple ways to win, there is no one strategy that works the best. Perhaps you want to devote the most effort to scientific achievement, trying to learn new skills and technologies before everyone else (and getting bonuses for doing so). Maybe you want to win by being the first to build the United Nation (a diplomatic victory). In the iOS version of the game, you can win by meeting a required number of achievements, by getting a certain amount of money, by building the United Nations, by conquering a certain number of neighbors, or by being the first one to reach Alpha Centauri. The difficulty of reaching any of those goals varies based on your difficulty setting.
Figure 2 - Build you cities and exapdn your empire, but with less complexity than the PC version.
As I said, the game can be pretty time consuming and complex. There are five difficulty levels, but you also have the option of playing a variety of scenarios, or building your own scenario. Scenarios can include specific win conditions, or situations (such as a dying world due to global warming, with no resources). Want to create your own? You can choose what win conditions to allow, the size of the world, the climate, the starting civilization size, gold, year, and just about every other factor you can think of. These options, combined with the variety of starting rulers you can choose from, allow for an almost endless variety of games.
Figure 3 - The graphics are a little disappointing, especially animated fights.
The iPhone version of the game does simplify some things relative to the PC version. For example, you no longer have engineers or workers who help build things like roads, mines, or other land improvement. In addition, many of the movement options are more limited – probably due to the limitation of using a touch screen interface. The winning scenarios are even simplified in some cases – for example, in the PC version a diplomatic victory requires you to be elected as head of the UN, in the iOS version, you simply have to build it first. That was one of the things I found a little disappointing in this game – by dumbing the game down a little, you lose some of the complexity that I loved about the original version on the PC.
Figure 4 - The scientific advancement can help you progress, and lead to further scientific discoveries.
Another problem with this game is that you don’t actually get the full game for your purchase price. You have to pay to unlock a multiplayer mode, you have to pay to unlock all of the wonders of the world, and you have to pay to unlock all the possible civilization advances! I can understand paying for expansions like medieval or Asian units and buildings (which they have as well) but I would think for the initial price you should get the full game.
Figure 5 - The controls are simplified for a touch interface, but you lose some complexity in the process.
The game play can be relatively long or short – I played a quick game on the easiest setting in about 3 hours, while a longer game might take days to complete. You can have multiple games saved at once, so that is a nice feature that allows you to play multiple games at the same time. The graphics were a little bit of a disappointment – I was hoping for some crisp, “retina-quality” graphics but they look more like something from the early 1990s. The game play itself is a little difficult at times using the touch screen, mostly because of the iPhone size, but the interface also has some problems (which, as I said, is why I think they slimmed the game down from the original version somewhat).
All in all, if you are a Civilization fan, I recommend buying Civilization Revolution. Most of the features that make this franchise one of the best selling game franchise of all time are present in the iOS version. There are some features that are notably absent, and to get the full experience (including multi-player) you need to use in-app purchases, but the general feel of the game is still there. At $2.99 for the iPhone version (the iPad version is separate) the game is not too expensive, and does not necessarily require the multiple days that the original game would sometimes take. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.