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Civilization Revolution

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad, Windows Phone

Hardly turns over

Product: Civilization Revolution | Developer: Firaxis | Publisher: 2K Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Civilization Revolution iPhone, thumbnail 1
Never again will you question the real world value of that university essay on 13th century expansion of the Mongol Empire. Thanks to Civilization Revolution, history has a proper place at the gaming table. How else would you know that Xanadu is so much more than a musical, but a headquarters from which to unleash an army of epic proportions?

Civilization Revolution extends the immensely popular strategy series to iPhone, allowing you to chart the course of human history through turn-based strategy. The game has been redesigned around the core console version in an effort to take advantage of the iPhone's unique features. History has a way of marching forward, though, and it does so here in this troubled iPhone iteration.

The promise of an intuitive touchscreen interface is far from fulfilled, however, and is characterised instead by clutter and confusion. Too many windows and various bits of information have been laid across the screen, cluttering the view. Frequently these windows overlap, causing information to get lost. It's not uncommon for a city information panel to cover up a unit, for example.

Troublesome controls add to the exasperation. Simple actions like opening up menus and selecting units often require multiple taps before the game registers the selection. During battles, the button for skipping the animation regularly fails to respond. Civilization Revolution is generally clumsy, failing to deliver the sort of smooth, effortless control demanded of touchscreen turn-based strategy.

At least it gets things right on that front. While Civilization Revolution falters in moulding itself to iPhone, the gameplay remains as rich as it ever was on Nintendo DS. Immense strategic depth is right at your fingertips, though it comes with a bit of micromanagement. Some tedious work must be done when it comes to building structures and managing resources, the latter in serious need of simplification.

Only when you're able to devote your energy to overall strategy does the game turn over. Forging plans for world domination against a slate of tough computer-led nations can be thrilling. Options other than military force lend the game greater sophistication than your average strategy title. The ability to pursue economic, scientific, or cultural domination ensures variety - no one game plays out in the exact same fashion.

Oddly enough, multiplayer is missing from the equation. Civilization Revolution is ideally structured for friendly clashes - after all, the Nintendo DS version featured support for online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection - yet no option for wireless or Bluetooth head-to-head play is provided. Not even a hot seat mode is offered.

Omitting multiplayer is admittedly less egregious than the shortcomings of its interface design, though both conspire against the game. Without multiplayer, you're left to contend with a cumbersome interface and equally awkward controls through the course of lengthy single player games.

Civilization Revolution hasn't been properly fitted to iPhone and it shows. While it's playable, having to tolerate several glaring deficiencies makes it more a devolution of the series than mobile revolution.
Civilization Revolution
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 12 August 2009
Civilization Revolution is a non-starter on iPhone, failing to turn the rich strategic gameplay of the series into an accessible touch-enabled experience
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Dec 2011
Post count:
APenNameAndThatA | 06:23 - 5 December 2011
I have played this game and found the amount of information on screen to only occasionally be a problem. When it was a problem, I wasn't bothered because they did such a good job overall and had so much information to display.

As for needing to streamline the game, I preferred to micromanage each of the settle elements. The tedious element of some other Civ versions is gone. For example, if you change from building a really big thing to make some standard units, the game will make the equivlent number of standard units and you will not have wasted resources. If you change from one unit to another you do not waste resources. Yous can change from developing one technology to developing another technology without being penalised, too.

To the person who said it should be called Civ 2: that's you being wrong. Over the years the developers will have thought of improvements and put them in this game. Everyone knows that it is an iPhone game and is priced accordingly. To the person who said that ANY OTHER civ game is better: fail. This game is MUCH better than Civ I (well, it was called Civilization, not Civilization I, as you can imagine). In Civ I, you were best served by building lots of catapults and taking over the world. Not this time. I never played Civ 2 so I do not know exactly how similar the games are.
Anonymous | 15:38 - 28 December 2010
first Civilization mechanics are too old, and graphic is horrible
Anonymous | 09:47 - 16 September 2009
... Id say the review kinda hits the mark... Ive played all Civ games for the PC, and also on the DS , But the iphone is a simplified touch version ported badly from the DS.

Controls = eww... ANY OTHER civ game is better than this
Anonymous | 18:15 - 17 August 2009
I agree that the lack of scrolling is an issue for movement (I tend to get around it by zooming out a bit first), however, to say that the interface is tragically flawed is just ludicrous. If anything I was amazed at how usable the interface is and wished that more applications took advantage of the iPhone functionality better.

Will they probably patch in something to scroll during movements? yes. But outside of that issue (and really it is a non-issue 95% of the time) the interface is very intuitive and I was surprised at how much fun this game still had in it for an iPhone version of a game like Civilization.
Anonymous | 17:11 - 12 August 2009
I believe, generally PocketGamer reviews become way off the mark. However, the interface issues mentioned here are genuine. Those who are not familiar with this type of games or, in general, the casual gamers will face an uphill task getting accustomed to the interface. However, this game seems to have a good amount of depth for the hardcore ones.
Anonymous | 08:25 - 12 August 2009
Embarrassing, Just trying to sell a game on name alone.
Why not just release Civ2 as is on the iphone, brilliant game.