Sigh....I understand from a marketing standpoint why a game like this would get reviewed here--it's very popular and you want to show up in search engines and drive traffic. That's sensible. But to give this 5 stars and put it on a par with the other games that have earned that ranking at PT is embarrassing.
While it is not necessary to partake in the IAP, to call it "easily ignored" is an over-statement. It shows up constantly in the play experience, with the game incessantly reminding you of what you can buy and why it's great. And while the game is very polished, periodically amusing, and doubtlessly addictive, it's still, barely below the surface, obviously calculated to soothe you into spending money to do better/get farther. That's it's goal.
The real "game" here is how long players can avoid falling prey and opening their wallets further to its very carefully-honed psychological charms.
The more we remain eager to call these types of apps "games" and put them on the same level with genuine gaming accomplishments (like those that this site often rightfully recognizes), the more of this we will see in the app store, as devs go where the attention and money is.
I'll always have room for PT in my day, but you need to do better than this (no offense, Joe).
I don't really know what to tell you Biff, Richard really liked the game. It's not my place to tell him he's wrong.
As an FYI, while we do like to do traffic driving initiatives, this isn't specifically one of them other than the fact that it's another review for our library. It was a premium-priced game in the strategy genre, which was enough for me as far as commissioning a review goes.
Not having played it myself, I can't comment on how easily ignored the IAP is. Richard said it was, and I have to take some of that at least at face value because to do otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of what reviews are (from my POV). To be fair, I don't have a specific policy on the presence of IAPs and whether or not their appear intrusive. I'm not sure I'd want to implement one, but I completely understand where you're coming from.
Thanks for sticking around