Review: Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

One of the games that has defined cross platform gaming is Sid Meier’s Civilization. I remember back in the late 90s when Linux was starting to get more widespread, many of the Linux flavors shipped with Civilization. Because of this, it was no surprise to me when I saw it listed in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

Hit the jump to see what this game is capable of, and if it’s worth the $4.99 that it will cost you.

Game Play

The premise of Civilization is that you take a power and guide it through history, starting in ancient times. As you win battles, you gain new technologies that will aid in your continued struggle for supremacy. Civilization for Windows Phones follows this premise, but it should not be confused with a Real Time Strategy game like the Civilization games from the PC world.

In a nutshell, you start at ancient times. Your weapons of choice are units armed with swords, spears, and cavalry. Catapults are also available for use. As you advance through time, your units become more and more powerful, until spears are replaced by mortars and cavalry with tanks. The game experience is essentially the same through all of the levels; different units do different things and accomplish different goals. The strategy is to use your available resources effectively to overcome your enemy.

The game is easy to pick up on, making this a great game for kids; I question how much entertainment value an adult would get out of playing this game long-term.


Game developers for Windows Phones are at a similar place that PC developers were years ago. They have all of these great ideas and things that they would love to do, but so many of their customers don’t have the hardware to support all of the graphics that they would love to include in the game. Civilization obviously suffers from this problem. The graphics aren’t bad; they’re just something that you would expect from a game on a Pentium II computer back in the day.


I would’ve liked to see a game that required more strategy, but I’m a strategy game junkie. I did enjoy playing through the levels, but you’re basically doing the same thing over and over; so repeated play over a long period of time isn’t something that I think I would enjoy.

At $4.99, Civilization is not overpriced, and I do think that it would be very entertaining for someone in the 10-12 age range. If you’re interested, grab a copy at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

Tim Ferrill
  • Sometimes it may be hard to get the figures right, a 3 and a for make 3.5 I think.
    Besides, this games was one of the greatest disappointments we saw in 2008 (!). To have a simple cannons-gameplay and add a name like CIV...
  • Apparently I can't count.
    If you're expecting this to be a fully replication of the Civ games in the past, you will be dissappointed. But this is still an amusing game. That's not unusual for mobile versions of games.
  • The game as such is not that bad, but the name ticked to it implies a bit more sophisticated gameplay, doesn't it. I bet the majority of people buying it through marketplace don't even consider the possibility of getting something totally different than the name suggests. And that is my point here: the "Rolex" logo on some chinese watch doesn't make it a Rolex, right!?
  • I have to agree with Digitus. There are currently games on Symbian/WinMo/iPhone that are great ports of Civilization. I've even played games on my Sony Ericsson S710a that were much closer to Civ than this. A full replication of a Civilization might not be realistic, but to think that War of the Two Cities is acceptable is ludicrous. It's basically an improved 'Scorched Earth' with the Civ name attached to it for sales.
  • First a little correction... Civ games on the PC are Turn-Based Strategies, not Real Time. As for the rest, it doesn't even look like a Civ game for me. I love Civ Revolutions on my iPod Touch, but this looks more like the old PC game Tank Wars. (Now, don't get me wrong, I love Tank Wars and all the games like it. It's just not what I expect from a Civ game.)
  • This "Civilization" game reminds me more of an "Atomic Cannon" variant than any strategy game (real time OR turn based). Dissapointing, as there are both real time and turn based strategy games frameworks out there that could have lived up to the awsome Sid Meyer's PC franchise. Too bad.
  • WM better start pumping out some more powerful phones. the game selection is pathetic compared to the competition; iphone, android, etc.
  • It has absolutely nothing to do with the phones. Name another phone on the market that compares with the HD2 from a hardware standpoint? Other than the Nexus One and similarly Snapdragon based hardware, there isn't anything.