Review: Civilization Revolution for iOS

Want a real strategy game for your mobile device? Enter Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution, a turn-based game that'll turn you into a conqueror.

NameTurn-based strategy game: Civilization Revolution for iOS
Summary:The best strategy game we've played on a mobile device.
RRP:$10 (iPhone); $17 (iPad)
Games Info:Developer: Firaxis; Publisher: 2K Games

Want a real strategy game for your mobile device? Enter Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution, a turn-based game that'll turn you into a conqueror.

If you've ever dreamed of taking over the world, the Civilization series may be your jam. At the beginning of the game, you pick a famous historical leader - from Cleopatra to Napoleon to Abraham Lincoln - and guide them, and their civilisation, to world domination.

The franchise is legend among PC gamers, but too complex for other devices, so in 2008 developer Firaxis released a pared-back version for consoles. That was the beginning of Civilization Revolution. Revolution was a more accessible version of the PC game, designed to work with a slower, less accurate control scheme.

Revolution for the iPad is scaled back again in terms of what you can and can't do. The level of detail you can get into in the PC games is fairly high - you can, for example, manage what each worker in your civilisation is working on at any given time. In Revolution, controls don't get that specific.

Despite the fact that the game is simpler, we can't really say the game is easier than other Civilization games. The difficulty ramps up fairly quickly, and even the equivalent of 'normal' mode - called 'King' mode - will become difficult even for a seasoned strategist. As with the PC games, there are several different ways to conquer the world - you can win by a domination victory, a technological victory, a cultural victory, or an economic victory. A domination victory means you wipe other civilisations off the map, technological means you launch spare-faring ships to Alpha Centauri, a cultural victory entails converting other civilisations to your way of life by being the most sophisticated, and an economic victory is self-explanatory.

Because the iPad 2 isn't as powerful as consoles, the clips that get shown at the end of the game in the console version simply aren't there. On the Xbox 360, you'll actually see your ships launched into space. On the iPad, all you get is a pop-up message on screen telling you that it has happened. (We don't expect games like Revolution to begin taking advantage of the iPad 3's quad-core graphics, aside from adjustments to work with the retina display, until the end of the iPad 2's product cycle.)

We had a few little issues with Civilization Revolution. The major one is that after a while, the game slows down and starts to lag. This problem is fairly easily resolved by exiting to the home screen and going back in again, but we'd recommend saving first if you have this problem, just in case. There are also some funny bugs. Say you send a warrior unit into battle. For a split second, instead of a warrior you might see an archer, or a tank. It's strange, but certainly not game breaking.

Revolution is also quite expensive, for an iPad game. Compared to the console version of the game it's positively cheap at $17 - and only $10 for the iPhone version - but compared to other games on Apple's app store it's a bit steep. If you have an iPhone, however, you can download the 'lite' version to try before you buy.

Revolution is not really a casual game, but because it's turn-based it lends itself quite well to mobile devices. You can just spend a couple of minutes and take a couple of turns while you're waiting for the bus, but it's unlikely you're going to play it that way. Rather, you'll sit down for a quick play, then look up at the time and realise you've been picking fights and researching technologies for an hour. Civilization Revolution is about the closest thing you'll get to a hardcore gaming experience on the iPad, and it's highly addictive.

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Tags sid meier2k gamesFiraxiscivilization revolutioncivilization

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Siobhan Keogh

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