Hands on: There need to be more games like Civilization VI on iPad

Posted:
in iOS edited August 2018
"Civilization VI" is one of a the few games that debuted on iPad with feature parity to the Mac and Windows versions. After playing the game for the past eight months on our iPad, we've come to the conclusion we need more of this caliber game on iOS.

Civilization VI on iPad


In January, Aspyr Media ported "Civilization VI" to the iPad. I eagerly downloaded the app with a healthy dose of skepticism. This wasn't one of the early Civ titles, but the most recent. I wholeheartedly expected a watered down version, stripped of key features and mechanisms like we saw with Civilization Revolution.

To my surprise, that was not the case.

The game, which weighed in at a healthy 3.3 GB, is designed specifically for higher-end iPads, taking full advantage of the touchscreen. As a turn-based strategy game, the menu-laden interface lends itself well to touch, possibly even more so than a mouse. It was easiest for choosing focuses such as production or research, and a little bit less so for moving your characters.

It worked but was a bit finicky at first as I adjusted to the interface.

Civilization VI on iPad


There are a couple different gestures to know, such as tapping with multiple fingers to exit an open menu, but along the way, "advisors" will let you know of these and you should catch on pretty quick.

Playing I found it to be at times more enjoyable than on my Mac. I could lazily relax on the couch instead of sitting in an uncomfortable office chair at my desk. I appreciated the little touches that they took into consideration, such as the ever-present battery indicator in the top right corner so you don't inadvertently run out of power.

It has literally every feature found in the desktop version, up to and including local multiplayer. Instead of LAN parties with everyone on laptops and desktops, they can now be done even more easily right from your iPad.

When playing, you can go with several campaigns and pre-designed modes or you can go and create your own custom scenario with every aspect you can think of.

A series of tutorials indoctrinate new players quickly and easily into the game, while more advanced players will feel right at home

Performance

"Civilization VI" is not a small game or lightweight game. It requires some serious horsepower to run, which is why only newer iPads are equipped to play it. Any iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2, and the 2017 iPad are all capable, but any older are out of luck.

Civilization VI on iPad


On the Mac side, it takes some pretty serious silicon. So, I was really concerned how the game would run later in a match where turns get much more complex.

At the onset of a new game, everything is flashy and quick, but as the game progresses, nation's boundaries expand, the number of units balloon, and the AI has much more work to do.

Shockingly, even in the end-game, turns were not unnecessarily bogged down. They certainly slowed, but not to the point where it was noticeably over-taxing the iPad.

We're not sure we recommend the iPad Air 2 or the fifth generation iPad -- but it does run. Any iPad Pro or the 2018 sixth-generation iPad are great experiences.

Pay to play

Aspyr Media took a great approach to monetizing "Civilization VI" on iPad. They realize the strengths of the game, and trusted users would pay once they got a taste.

Downloading the game is free, as are the first 60 turns. At this point, the full game can be unlocked with a one-time in-app purchase.

We can't overstate how much we prefer a single in-app purchase to unlock the full game over coins, energy, loot boxes, or other similar nonsense. Yes, those seem to be earning game devs money hands over fist in titles like "Clash of Clans" or "Candy Crush", but these games are shallow and not even close to the same level as the impeccably done Civilization series.

This game has so much to explore, and without endless paywalls or wait times to earn "energy," it can all be played when or where you want. It must have been tempting to put all of the world leaders or maps behind in-app purchases, but we are thrilled that Aspyr Media made the decision not to do so, beyond a handful of optional expansions. Since launch, expansions have landed -- including new civilizations -- which are behind in-app purchases, but expansions are a different beast than locking them from the get-go.

Civilization VI on iPad

Worth the price

I've said it once, and I'll say it again -- this game is worth the price, even at $60.

Since January, I've been playing the game and it remains a reliable source of entertainment when I have a few moments to kick back. Expansions continue to add value to the initial purchase for a reasonable fee, keeping me coming back time after time.

I would love to see more large-scale games like Civilization VI come to the iPad, though the current trend still seems to be so-called free-to-play freemium titles cluttering the App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    I'd like to point out that I've had no issue playing the game on my iPad mini 4. I know the app store says you need to play it on a new iPad, but the fact of the matter is: the game is slow on any iPad once you get into the latter stages where the map is fully uncovered, in use, and it's processing all the moves by each of the sims.

    I initially bought Civ 2 to play on the latest model iPad Pro but was surprised to find that it works just fine on the mini. I find it quite a bit more enjoyable to play casually on the mini than have to get comfortable with the size of the 12.9" Pro when I'm just lounging around. The only trick is to make sure you don't go with a map larger than "Small", which is still plenty big.
    edited August 2018 racerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    smack416 said:
    I'd like to point out that I've had no issue playing the game on my iPad mini 4. I know the app store says you need to play it on a new iPad, but the fact of the matter is: the game is slow on any iPad once you get into the latter stages where the map is fully uncovered, in use, and it's processing all the moves by each of the sims.

    I initially bought Civ 2 to play on the latest model iPad Pro but was surprised to find that it works just fine on the mini. I find it quite a bit more enjoyable to play casually on the mini than have to get comfortable with the size of the 12.9" Pro when I'm just lounging around. The only trick is to make sure you don't go with a map larger than "Small", which is still plenty big.
    Huh! That is good to know. Thanks for mentioning it!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Could anyone share how quickly this eats battery power?  I travel a lot and would love to have this on my 10.5" iPad Pro for long haul flights, but feel like it may not survive if I can't use in-seat power.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    thttht Posts: 3,011member
    It’s on my buy list. Having some fun with DomiNations now. 

    My fave games are RTS games, so just waiting and waiting and waiting, and waiting, for a modern rendition of Age of Empires for iOS. Still rue the day when MS bought Ensemble Studios. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 266member
    smack416 said:
    ... the game is slow on any iPad once you get into the latter stages where the map is fully uncovered, in use, and it's processing all the moves by each of the sims.
    The game is also slow in the later stages on my 2014 Retina display iMac with SDD.  Of course, I’m using the huge map size with the 27” screen, which uses even more processing power.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 266member
    tht said:
    Still rue the day when MS bought Ensemble Studios. 
    Or Halo for that matter.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,087member
    bmatthews said:
    Could anyone share how quickly this eats battery power?  I travel a lot and would love to have this on my 10.5" iPad Pro for long haul flights, but feel like it may not survive if I can't use in-seat power.
    It's free to try, so why not just try it? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,087member
    I always kind of feared Civ coming out for iPad, as much as I wanted to see it happen — because as has always been the case, you think "I'll just play a few turns before bed" and next thing you know, the sun is coming up. Happened the first time I played the original Civ on my Mac in the 90s and is still true today. That said, it's a great port.

    I'd really like to see Paradox bring Cities: Skylines to iOS next. 
    randominternetpersonJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    bmatthews said:
    Could anyone share how quickly this eats battery power?  I travel a lot and would love to have this on my 10.5" iPad Pro for long haul flights, but feel like it may not survive if I can't use in-seat power.
    It's free to try, so why not just try it? 
    It’s a fair question, but my experience has been that the early game uses far fewer resources and power. So those free 60 turns will fly by too fast to gauge power consumption accurately. That’s why I’m hoping to hear from someone that’s played it through.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,087member
    bmatthews said:
    bmatthews said:
    Could anyone share how quickly this eats battery power?  I travel a lot and would love to have this on my 10.5" iPad Pro for long haul flights, but feel like it may not survive if I can't use in-seat power.
    It's free to try, so why not just try it? 
    It’s a fair question, but my experience has been that the early game uses far fewer resources and power. So those free 60 turns will fly by too fast to gauge power consumption accurately. That’s why I’m hoping to hear from someone that’s played it through.
    Gotcha. I went to go play outside not long ago on my Air 2 with about 20% battery left, and it did seem to chew through it fairly quickly. Not that this is useful for you given the age and battery size of my iPad vs yours and my not setting a stopwatch. I would bet money my iPad would last longer than running it on my older MacBook Pro though. :)

    That said, any long haul flight without AC or USB these days is a major bummer.
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,010member
    Interesting just how well iPads handle ‘heavy lifting’.  Popular belief says they should struggle  compared to ‘real PCs’ with ‘real OSs’ but they don’t.  People get caught in the weeds and fail to grasp the concept of architectural advantage.  Same with Affinity Photo.

    The ARM Mac is closer & more viable than we think.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    NaiyasNaiyas Posts: 12member
    bmatthews said:
    Could anyone share how quickly this eats battery power?  I travel a lot and would love to have this on my 10.5" iPad Pro for long haul flights, but feel like it may not survive if I can't use in-seat power.
    On my 12.9” iPad Pro a full charge will last between 4.5-5.5 hours if I’m in the 200+ turn period of the game, depending on screen brightness and what radios are turned on.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    I bought the original release of Civ on IOS and played it all the time.  I bought the 2nd one also, and tried this one.

    The 1st one was the best, but it’s now unsupported... didn’t convert it to 64bit I think.

    Companies that orphan their old products don’t get my money...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    I bought the original release of Civ on IOS and played it all the time.  I bought the 2nd one also, and tried this one.

    The 1st one was the best, but it’s now unsupported... didn’t convert it to 64bit I think.

    Companies that orphan their old products don’t get my money...
    The Revolution series wasn't a bad game on its own, but it also wasn't a great translation of the series, as I think you're aware. Completely get what you're saying about support, though. My kids have lost a lot of stuff they've liked, and a lot of it pricier stuff from Disney.
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    AbramssamAbramssam Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    It is August 25.  I have downloaded the game. The price is $60. How can I get the $24. In game and in App Store it is $60.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Same for me. I specifically planned to purchase before 8/26 and now it is back at full price. I submitted a ticket with Aspyr asking about this as well.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,087member
    It’s been on sale multiple times now, you might have to wait. I got it at half price back during the launch sale, and I think it was half again another time before this discount. 
  • Reply 18 of 20
    AbramssamAbramssam Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Kanaka,

    quick it is $24.  Not sure why but this article said until the 26th and maybe he meant it will start after the 26th.  Got it!
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    Abramssam said:
    Kanaka,

    quick it is $24.  Not sure why but this article said until the 26th and maybe he meant it will start after the 26th.  Got it!
    It was supposed to be on sale until the 26th according to correspondence we got about the sale from the company, so we're still not sure what happened there. Looking now, I see the sale price again now too, but I have no idea how long its going to last.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,087member
    Abramssam said:
    Kanaka,

    quick it is $24.  Not sure why but this article said until the 26th and maybe he meant it will start after the 26th.  Got it!
    It was supposed to be on sale until the 26th according to correspondence we got about the sale from the company, so we're still not sure what happened there. Looking now, I see the sale price again now too, but I have no idea how long its going to last.
    I'm confused too as I got a notification on my iPad this evening that "everything" was on sale, and went in to buy the DLC I don't have, but it was all the same price it usually is, as far as I could tell. 
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