Civilization Revolution for iPhone review

The Civilization games have won renown for giving the player supreme control over their society to dictate everything from technological advancements to military tactics. This isn’t just a simple port of a history-based strategy game. Civilization Revolution boasts a new gesture-based interface that takes advantage of the iPhone’s touchscreen technology. Building, moving, and ordering your units is a simple flick of the finger that’s easy to pick up the first time you start the game. The only issue we had with the system came when we tried moving units over long distances – we found it was better to drag a finger for shorter distances rather than chart a longer, circuitous (and often hazardous) course.

You choose from 16 civilisations, each with their own bonuses, abilities, and iconic historic figures. (A free lite version of Civilization Revolution limits you to three civilisations.) There are also several difficulty levels. Civilization Revolution automatically loads your progress on the active game if you suddenly exit the game to take a phone call. There’s also a save system offering frequent reminders to save throughout your play session.

The game’s tutorial does a good job of walking you through making your small village into a global empire. There are some gaps in the tutorial, however. For example, the build system for units, wonders, and buildings could be better explained in terms of bonuses and build time for each unit.

2K Games gets a lot right with this game. The controls are great, the soundtrack memorable, and the animated fight sequences benefit from an algorithm that takes into account the military unit’s strength, location, defensive positioning, size, and so forth.

OUR VERDICT

While the replay value of the game is high (there are about a dozen special scenarios in addition to the regular randomly generated map), there’s no multiplayer component. Here’s hoping 2K Games adds this ability at a later date, because with the iPhone’s 3G technology and Civilization’s history of epic, hours-long, multiplayer battles, tethering the game to a single player seems short-sighted.

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