Civilizations Wars iPhone game has re-playability issues

Nov 29, 2010
Games

Civilizations Wars is a solid, if simple, real time strategy app game that adds an RPG-esque leveling-up system to a package that can use all the flare it can get. Probably not a strategy game aiming for veterans of the genre, Civilizations Wars keeps the gameplay as basic as possible. There is a brief tutorial […]

Civilizations Wars is a solid, if simple, real time strategy app game that adds an RPG-esque leveling-up system to a package that can use all the flare it can get.

Probably not a strategy game aiming for veterans of the genre, Civilizations Wars keeps the gameplay as basic as possible. There is a brief tutorial that teaches you all you need to know about the game. There is an easy way to drag your units into enemy territory, and a similarly easy way to grab one of your magic powers and use it against an enemy. That these are the only two instructions given in the tutorial is actually a bit refreshing. So often the idea of a strategy game can seem daunting, and Civilizations Wars does away with that notion.

Unfortunately, without a complex gameplay system, the entirety of the game experience becomes a race to outlast the computer opponent by dragging your finger from your various huts to enemy encampments. There are three distinct races that players can choose from as they start their campaign, but it doesn’t appear to make a huge difference which of the three you choose, as long as you remember to move your troops from multiple encampments so you’re never too low in any one of your bases.

To be fair, Civilizations Wars does have a leveling-up system that would, in theory, force players to make hard choices about how to upgrade their armies. The upgrade system is poorly laid out, however, and it becomes more work just figuring out what it is you’re upgrading than to select the actual upgrades.

Additionally, after completing a few missions, I was able to select a feature that essentially ruined the game for me. A button appeared allowing me to unlock every power in the game. Suddenly, instead of just the one power I began play with, I had more powers, and not an idea what half of them did. What’s worse, the AI has access to all the same powers you do, which turned battles into confusing bouts of constant animation as the AI went magic happy, as I tried to figure out what sort of havoc I’d wrought upon myself.

I’m not sure why that sort of “cheat” is in the game, but it didn’t feel earned in any way, and rather than gradually building up my knowledge of the game world, it just managed to put me off entirely. Luckily, it appears that the unlock only applied to that specific game, as when I attempted to start a new game with new save data, things were back to normal.

If it sounds like I’m being overly harsh, I don’t mean to be. While I don’t think Civilizations Wars is a particularly great strategy game, as it seems to have put too much emphasis on the RPG leveling-up and odd magic spells rather than the strategy of the battles, I think it would suit beginners to the genre quite well. If you’re able to pace yourself, and not accidentally cheat the game as I did somehow, you’ll find a decent intro into strategy game thinking underneath the hood of this app.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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