Civilization Revolution a solid TBS experience with just enough depth to satisfy

Posted: August 9, 2009 in Strategy

Ever since the advent of the iTunes stores, turn-based strategy games have been one of the few areas that has seen minimal releases. While we’ve seen an uptick in the past few months with games that fall into this genre, they have been hit or miss for many. The epitome of turn-based gaming Civilization Revolution has finally arrived for the platform, and I have to say that the game has just enough depth to be engrossing. For the most part, Civilization Revolution is a well done game that should keep many occupied for days and weeks…unless you’re playing 24 hours a day.

As the title clearly implies, the game is about building and evolving a civilization from scratch which entails everything that you can imagine from generating loyalty among the population and developing technology and culture to all-out warfare and uncharted exploration. Civilization Revolution is an engrossing experience where you have the opportunity to build cities, negotiate treaties, and establish diplomacy. And, you’ll choose the path on which to set your civilization: military, cultural, economic, and scientific.

The game runs relatively smoothly on my iPod Touch 2g 3.0, and the graphics and animation are more than adequate along with the usual epic soundtrack. In fact, the interface feels polished and streamlined, and the game has the character I would expect from the Civilization series.

The game offers two game modes: Random Map and Scenarios. The Random Map for the most part provides a good variety of different environments, although hardcore gamers may find them a little repetitious. While Random Map provides an arbitrary map and the ability to create and mold a society, Scenarios provides 10 different situations each with different parameters that you’ll need to deal with usually involving a potential ruling power and their encroaching conquest. In other words, Civilization Revolution may not allow you to create your own maps, but all in all, there’s still plenty to do.

The game also has five levels of difficulty: Chieftain, Warlord, King, Emperor and Diety. From here, you’ll select a leader from among 16 of history’s most notable civilizations including Abraham Lincoln, Shaka Zulu, Napoleon, Cleopatra and Genghis Khan among others. While you begin as a small village regardless of game mode or leader, each civilization has unique abilities and bonuses that become apparent over time. The game is about micromanagement to a certain degree because decisions about training troops and sending out exploration or even to wage war will rest on your shoulders.

Civilization is about strategy and depending on which path you choose to win the game, you’ll have the flexibility to do so. At the heart of the game is gold, and figuring out how to earn gold. This can range from establishing trade agreements with other cultures to pillaging other villages and cities. With gold, you can then establish forces or build cultural centers. For example, if you want to adopt the scientific approach, you can build technologic libraries and scientific centers or even approve research in new areas of science. On the other hand, if you decide to go the world domination route with your armies, you can do that funding massive armies and sending them to destroy and conquer. The options are really only limited by your imagination.

During the game, conversations with your optional trade advisor or with other leaders are shown in pop-up dialogue boxes with multiple options to choose from. For example, other leaders may contact you to either negotiate a peace treaty or threaten you into giving them land or gold. Of course, your response will have profound implications.

The game has two maps: the general map and the city control map. The general map is where the tactical moves take place from troop movements to expanding settlements. From here, you access the city control map which is where you build units, roads, and buildings. While the city focus option also allows you to rearrange workers for food and production purposes, I found them a little basic but still decent.

To move units, you simply tap and drag them, or you can simply tap the unit and then touch the destination. I found the latter to be the better and more responsive of the two. Often what will happen is you will drag them which brings up a dotted line, and for whatever reason, the unit won’t move where you want.

By tapping a unit, options for using those units appear. For example, with settlers, options involve building and moving, while with military units, options focus around moving and attacking. The one nice thing with military units is when you select defend/attack, a pop-up appears showing who has the military advantage. And, once an attack is in play, an animated cut scene illustrates the attack taking place. Also, if you have three units of the same type on one map, they can be merged together into one super army.

So what do I think? I think Civilization Revolution is a very good game and arguably one of the best turn-based games available on the platform right now. Don’t get me wrong. The Random Maps may feel repetitious for hardcore gamers, and there isn’t the deep micromanagement that others may crave. But for the casual gamer, there is plenty of content and replayability. Overall, the game delivers a solid turn-based strategy experience that I would recommend.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (solid turn-based experience with plenty of replay value; the game offers a good degree of depth that should satisfy casual players)

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