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Revival Deluxe

For: Mobile

The end of Civilization?

Product: Revival Deluxe | Publisher: HeroCraft | Format: Mobile | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 178KB | Version: Europe
Revival Deluxe Mobile, thumbnail 1
You know where you stand with a good solid digit or Roman numeral at the end of a game's name. As much as people love to berate the preponderance of sequels, as soon as their favourite movie or game is in line for one suddenly it's okay to make an exception. But this happy state of hypocrisy rarely applies to that other kind of follow-up - those games which can't quite bring themselves to end their name with a number but instead raid the thesaurus for the most meaningless subtitle possible.

Sometimes the aversion to numbers is simply because the game is shy to let on how old it is, but more commonly it's because the makers couldn't quite bring themselves to pretend it was a proper sequel. When the phrase at the end of the name is 'deluxe' or 'director's cut' you know you're in for a game of spot-the-difference.

As even HeroCraft's blurb admits Revival Deluxe comes to you in "the best tradition of Civilization". In other words it's as close as copyright law will allow. Civilization, for those that are unaware, involves you controlling a single tribe of humans at the dawn of time and evolving their society until they become space-faring world conquerors. This is achieved through the medium of a turn-based strategy game whose ugly looks and clunky interface have always been in inverse proportion to its enormous depth and addictive qualities.

Revival does a pretty good job of reproducing the basics, apart from a few inevitable niggles concerning the controls and interface. Its emphasis is even less on combat than Civilization itself, as you concentrate instead on researching new technologies, building up your cities with schools and marketplaces and generally acting the benevolent dictator. The only problem with this direction is that the diplomacy elements are nearly non-existent and there's no visible technology tree to follow. It might have deemphasised the combat, but it's also removed most of the other features.

To be cynical for a moment, though, it seems very likely that the reason there's so little emphasis on combat is because the computer artificial intelligence isn't up to it. Sure, your rivals (you can have up to seven of them if you're really keen) can build cities according to their pre-scripted routines but their armies rarely trouble you in anything like a sensible manner. This is made most obvious by turning up the difficultly level up, at which point they just start cheating.

Because of the robotic level of opposition the game ends up feeling more like SimCity, as you just tinker with your society out of curiosity rather than necessity. Whether you consider this deluxe version to be worth it all though is really up to you - improving the graphics and music in a turn-based strategy game was never going to make much of a difference. And although it's nice to have more planets, units and buildings to play around with none of them fundamentally changes the gameplay.

The main problem is simply that Anno 1602, Townsmen and Ancient Empires 2 all do the same sort of thing a lot better. Admittedly they don't try and copy the Civilization template quite so exactly, but unless you're really desperate to pretend you're playing Sid Meier's gravy train on your mobile you're much better advised to emigrate to one of its rivals.
Revival Deluxe
Reviewer photo
Roger Hargreaves | 11 September 2008
Better graphics can't help this still rather watered-down Civilization-a-like
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