Sid Meyer’s Civilization: Revolution

civilization revolution – map
Multiplayer:Only if purchased seperately
AI:5 levels of game difficulty (all AI play at same level)
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:

Price: Free
Purchase for iPad:

Price: Free
User rating:
GD Star Rating
Sid Meyer's Civilization: Revolution, 6.0 out of 10 based on 22 ratings

Civilization: Revolution began as a version of the PC perennial Sid Meier’s Civilization, but for console gaming. Its success on console platforms led to it being the basis for the Sid Meier’s Civilization boardgame, and while it lacks the full depth of the turn-based father of all 4x games (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) it still provides one of the most in-depth civilization builders on the iPad. Is the call worth answering?

civilization revolution - title


In Civilization: Revolution, you assume leadership of one of 16 of the great civilizations of human history. In a standard game, you begin with one city and one warrior in the year 4000 BC, from which you must explore the dark world, build new cities and units, and advance your technologies and culture.

civilization revolution - map

The map is randomly generated for each game, and the fog of war will gradually lift as you move units about. While units can stack infinitely, you can’t group units together to move en masse. You can, however, combine 3 like units into an “army,” which movies together in formation and is substantially more powerful in combat. Units can always move and defend, and other commands (such as heal) become available when appropriate contextually.

civilization revolution - city mgmt 3

Your other interaction with the game is city management. Tapping the City Control button on the right takes you to the control for the nearest city, and arrows at the top let you page through your empire. You can see at a glance what each city is actively building, what resources it produces, its growth rate, and so on, and you can manage both what the city is producing and what resources the city’s workers are gathering.

civilization revolution - combat

Combat is based on stats, and isn’t really documented but is handled automatically. As in the PC big brother, terrain type can offer offensive or defensive bonuses. It can be somewhat challenging to manage combat without the ability to quickly group differing units, but the scaled-down nature of the game also means that you don’t need to bring as many units to the fight.

civilization revolution - how to win

A standard game offers 4 different paths to victory, and any of the 5 civilizations can attain any of them. When one civilization achieves a significant victory milestone, a quick info menu pops up to make sure the player is apprised. Win or lose, at game’s end you’ll be given a ranking against famous leaders of history based on your score. The game also offers several pre-fab scenarios that change the basic conditions, and a scenario editor which gives you control over nearly two dozen parameters to customize the game  to your liking.


civilization revolution - leader

Rather than use prerecorded speeches, the advisers and leaders you will meet speak mostly in gibberish, similar to the “language” spoken in The Sims. It’s an interesting choice, but doesn’t take too long to get used to. Orders can be issued to a unit by tapping it; most of these are simply movement, which can be done on a per-space basis (useful for managing mixed invasion forces) or by dragging your finger to the final destination and automating movement over several turns. In practice, it’s a little too easy to accidentally issue a movement order when navigating around a fully zoomed-out map, but it’s not a game breaker.

civilization revolution - IAP

The in-app purchase options for this game, in a word, suck. The game costs $7 to start with – a fraction of what you’d pay for a console title but representing the high end of the iOS ecosystem. For a deep, well-developed game, this is a very reasonable price. Until you have to pay $3 to get multiplayer capabilities. Or $2 each for packs of Great People or National Wonders. Or $1 each for new units for 1/4 of the games civilizations or new World Wonders. All of these “optional” purchase cannot be unlocked via successful gameplay, but are still displayed in the construction menus, alongside a little button enabling you to tap and purchase them without even going back to the main menu. This comes to a total of $12 to unlock the full game that you already paid $7 for, and represents just about the only game I can think of where pieces that show up in the standard menus cannot be unlocked through play. This leaves a very bitter taste, especially when compared against games like Plague Inc which ask you to pay only to unlock things early, a practice which represents the norm from which Civilization: Revolution deviates. In a game like this one, especially, having to pay extra for multiplay capability is awful – pass n play isn’t even an option unless you pony up some extra cash.


civilization revolution - final score

What would have been a no-brainer to recommend for 4x fans instead becomes a tirade on greedy developers trying to monetize every last corner of a title. The game itself is immaculately produced and fun to play – if only about 20% of the content wasn’t locked behind additional paywalls. While there is nothing wrong with asking players to pay extra for early access to features or for additional content, making as vital part of the game as multiplay a paid addition is unconscionable. While I very much enjoy the game, I very much hope that consumers vote with their dollars and refuse to reward EA for this mercenary offering.

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  1. richpizor

    @Kostas See, that’s the worst part of it – this ain’t full-blown Civ, but it’s about the deepest 4x game I’ve seen on the platform, and it’s very well presented. The IAP is just so unabashedly greedy, it’s almost impossible to recommend.

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