Civilization Revolution 2 review

NOTE: This game is currently available on iOS with an Android version to follow soon.

Civilization Revolution 2 is the first iOS game I actively sat and waited for, reloading the app store multiple times waiting for its inclusion. Yes, Civilization Revolution 2 snuck up on us and casually launched on the app store for a cheeky $18.99, but rest assured that this will be the best $19 you’ll ever spend, at least as far as expensive iPad apps go.

This is very much Civilization Revolution 1.5: it doesn’t go to great lengths to improve on or evolve the experience from the first game, which appeared on consoles back in 2008 and took everyone by surprise. The big plus for this version is that it looks great and works like a charm, incorporating a fitting UI and sleek graphics that bring it almost on even terms with the Xbox 360 version of the first game.

The primary difference between the Revolution series and the Civ games we see on PC is that this tighter version isn’t anywhere near as rewarding, and often just seems to progress aimlessly without any real sense of competitive conditions outside of conquest. Revolution really, really wants you to dominate the small (by comparison) map, and it’s really not all that hard for seasoned players, especially when there’s only a maximum of five other civilisations on the map.

Thankfully, this doesn’t really extinguish the game’s fun-factor: I didn’t quite have the drive to strive for, say, a cultural victory like I do in Civ V, but it’s still easy enough to keep the peace, and slowly build your way up to a cultural victory. The AI is aggressive but easily persuaded and managed, even on the higher difficulties. In typical Civ fashion they can’t be steamrolled though, so I certainly feel that even the most ardent of 4X game fanboys will enjoy the challenges Civ Rev 2 offers.

So yeah, there is undoubtedly a sense of over-flexibility there to keep the game’s progression on your terms, but there’s enough huffing and puffing from other leaders to keep the action moving. It’s Civ Rev’s slightly more attractive and spoiled younger brother, even though both games are really just made in the honour of Civ IV, but of course with the transition to controller and touch-screen controls.

There are additions that make it a worthy upgrade for those looking for a fresh Civ experience: new wonders like Silicon Valley add a contemporary tinge to the experience, while the new Aircraft Carriers (from Civ IV), and the likes of Winston Churchill and JFK (unlockable after a victory with Queen Elizabeth and Lincoln, respectively) broaden the game’s conquering drive. “Live Events” celebrates special days, with the American Revolution shipping with the game to celebrate the US’ 4th of July celebrations.

Technically, Civ Rev 2 is a great app. It has crashed a few times during roughly about 8 hours of game time, but for the most part it’s worked flawlessly. It slows down a bit with a lot of action on the screen, but I’ve been playing on an iPad 2, so new hardware might lead to better functionality. That said it still works well enough to make for an enjoyable experience, and for obsessive Civ fans looking for some on-the-go battles, $18.99 is a small price to pay.

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