iPad Game Review: Civilization Revolution for iPad Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Civilization Revolution (Civ Rev) is an adaptation of the classic Civilization series of computer games. This franchise is arguably the gold standard for turn-based strategy games and epitomizes 4X games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate). While video gamers' insatiable appetite for fast-paced and twitchy games has driven most of the strategy genre headlong into the realm of real-time; Civ Rev takes the road less traveled. The goal is to make your civilization the dominant one either through diplomatic, cultural, technological, or military means. You will begin in the classical age and as you progress through the centuries, you will found cities, research technologies, build improvements, develop military units, and wage war.
First, you must choose the type of map you want to play on. This menu is a bit misleading as you are given the choice between a random map and a ?scenario.? This is slightly confusing as even the scenarios have randomly generated maps. The difference is that they come with an additional set of parameters that serve to further customize the game experience. Additionally, there is an opportunity to create your own scenario in case you want to mix and match these variables in a way that is not offered. Next you are given the chance to select your leader. As each leader comes with its own set of bonuses and handicaps, careful selection can make a big difference in each game. This is not to say that there are any wrong choices, but if you are the warmongering sort, you wouldn?t be doing yourself any favors by selecting Ghandi, for example.
The actual game begins with a single city occupied by one military unit. Here you begin to develop and fortify your city, and set your initial research priorities. This is all accomplished by a row of icons on the right side of the screen. Their graphics are somewhat unintuitive; however you can?t do any harm by pressing them randomly and exploring, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the interface. There is also a fairly comprehensive tutorial that is automatically triggered by selecting the lowest difficulty level. After playing the game for 6-8 hours, I can honestly say that it has that wonderful ?just-one-more-turn? feel to it, that is the hallmark of a good strategy game. Additionally, the AI difficulty ramps up slowly so even players new to the genre won?t feel desperately outmatched in their first game. These developers seem to understand how important that first game really is.
My only real complaint with this game is its lack of waypoints. Each newly created unit must be individually dragged to its destination, which can be tedious toward the end game. Also, veterans of the Civilization series of games will not be able to rely on their years of experience as many of the city improvements and technological advances have different effects than their PC counterparts.
The graphics have been completely re-rendered for the iPad, resulting in a very polished look and feel. Additionally, the text is crisp and clear, and the animations are smooth. Everything is drawn in "2D" and will not exactly push your iPad to its limits. However, in the world of mobile gaming, this is a good thing as 3D graphics tend to be battery hogs.
Although Civ Rev has been ported to every major video game system, it does not feel like a port. The interface takes full advantage of the iPad's touch screen and it feels like it was built from the ground up with the device in mind. From the menus to unit movement, any iPad user will feel right at home with this game.
The sounds in Civ Rev are a mixed-bag of nicely done beeps, whirls, and clicks, each of which have a particular meaning and are meant to cue the player in some way. There are also ambient sounds, battle sounds, city building sounds, fanfares, etc. All of these are well-done and appropriate, although not particularly memorable. Lastly, there is no in-game music, nor is there an option to play your own music.
Civilization Revolution is a great turn-based strategy game, with depth, variety, and replayability. Its streamlined gameplay manages to honor its roots while at the same time making the game accessible to mobile gamers.
While I have heard reports of crash bugs, I have never encountered one. Your mileage may vary.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Clean, crisp 2D graphics that won?t suck your battery dry. Sound: - 4 - Good use of sound effects to cue the player and provide a sense of immersion. No music, although with a game this long, any looped music would get old fast. Controls: - 5 - Excellent use of the iPad?s touch screen. Buttons graphics are not always intuitive, although they are organized well and easy to learn as you play. Gameplay: - 5 - Captures that ?just-one-more-turn? feeling that is the hallmark of a good turn-based strategy game. I found myself looking forward to the next time I could play.
Civilization Revolution all-in-one trailer:
Playing Hints and Tips:
-At the beginning of the game, send your unit out exploring to give yourself an early advantage. In the lower difficulty levels, barbarians rarely attack your city in the first 20-30 turns.
-Protect your veteran combat units as experience will make them stronger and consequently more valuable.
-Don't forget to build "wonders" as they can provide huge bonuses to the civilization that owns them. Make sure you protect them, though!