Review: Civilization VI

By Nick Vigdahl 11 Jan 2018 6

Review: Civilization VI

Released 21 Dec 2017

Developer: Aspyr Media
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Available from:
App Store
Reviewed on: iPad Pro

One of the biggest gaming surprises of 2017—and boy was it a surprise—came right at the end of the year when, presto-blamo, Civilization VI was available on the iPad. It was so sudden that the initial reaction was a well-founded, "is this for real?" It was and is for real, marking the first time a mainstream Civilization title is available to play on the iPad, or any mobile device.

This is normally where I talk about the game a little bit, but you already know about this game don't you? Civilization is the elder statesman of the turn-based, 4x, expand-and-win genre. It's the original just-one-more-turn game. It pioneered so many of the features and mechanics we expect to see in the genre today, and still does them better than most. It's the cream of the crop and stands pre-eminent upon the pantheon of the turn-based strategy genre. While you can argue that other versions of Civilization are better than VI, you really can't argue that Civ VI isn't a great entry in this storied franchise.

Civ VI World

This review is less about whether Civilization VI is a good game. It is. In fact, it's a great game, and if you're a fan of the franchise or turn-based strategy games in general, you'll enjoy the game and I recommend it to you without reservation. This review is more about Civilization VI on the iPad, how it plays, and how it rates as compared to the high standard of its computer-based sibling.


First, let's talk about price. It's not something we normally address on Pocket Tactics, but this is a somewhat unprecedented situation. The game is available for $60, the same price as the Steam version. There is a free trial and you can play through up to 60 turns as Qin Shi Huang, emperor of China. First, bravo to Aspyr for not polluting the game with artificial and annoying freemium mechanics. They've come down squarely in the camp that says mobile games are just as valuable as PC and console games and should be priced accordingly. Other developers and publishers have taken this route, but nothing at the level and price tag of the Civilization franchise. As an advocate of premium mobile gaming, I hope it pays off for them.

The biggest point in support of having the same price tag is that this isn't a "lite" or scaled down version — Civilization VI on the iPad is in fact the full Civilization VI on the iPad. Aspyr had to make a few changes due to iPad limitations—there is no Strategic view for one and the leader images are static and there's no vocals, which makes diplomacy a bit less colorful. Also, wonders lack visual effects while being constructed and have fewer different stages while being built. The most meaningful change is that iPad multiplayer only works on a shared local network for now, though this may change in the future. There's also no cross-platform multiplayer or plans to implement it at this time.

Civ VI Units

Beyond these, I've noticed no significant differences between the iPad and PC versions of the game. The game looks, feels, and plays the same. The touch controls work great as well, and Aspyr really nailed the playability angle. You can drag units to where you want them to go or attack and navigating the map is intuitive, using one finger to drag yourself around and pinch to zoom and out. Civilization VI runs very smoothly on my iPad Pro with no lag and without significant battery drain.

Bottom line: You can play Civilization VI on your iPad while lounging on your couch (or wherever it is you choose to lounge). It’s the full game with all of the single-player features you’d expect to find and it runs well and plays beautifully on the iPad. It's a top-notch port and well worth the consideration of any fan of the franchise and genre.


Civilization VI is a great game, but you already knew that. The iPad port is exceedingly well done and well worth the consideration of any fan of the franchise or turn-based strategy genre.

Review: Civilization VI

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