Pocket Takes: Landrule, Revival 2, and Epic Astro Story

By Owen Faraday 13 Apr 2012 0
Our capsule reviews are here to give you a steer if you're looking for a strategy game to take you into the weekend. This week, two Android strategy games and Kairosoft's latest for iOS - for which reviews are almost certainly redundant.


Android Market - Free, with some maps as IAP


Let us march against Philip.. next turn

I've had Risk-likes on my mind quite a lot recently, so Landrule arrived at an opportune moment. In gameplay, Landrule is a bog-standard Risk interpretation, but a very well-executed one with a good touch interface that's tablet-friendly. The graphics are simple but crisp and attractive. Landrule's AI puts up a good fight but the real attraction here is the multiplayer. Asynchronous turn-based games are perfect for multiplayer and Landrule's model includes a host-configurable "shotclock" that places a limit on how long players can take to submit their turns. Like everything else in Landrule, it's simple but elegant.

Landrule comes with a variety of maps - ancient history buffs will appreciate that the Rome and Greece map regions are labeled with names from antiquity. The game is is free to download and includes five maps, with a sixth map in-app purchase available for around 50 cents. The knock on the game is that Risk games without any interesting wrinkles might be in danger of wearing out their welcome. But for the price, Landrule is superb value.


4 out of 5



Revival 2

Android Market - $0.99


Build an empire to stand the test of patience.

Revival 2 looks a heck of a lot like Civilization II and it's official title on the Google Play Store is Revival 2 (Civilization). The app description promises "a huge scale strategy game that is on a par with its PC ancestors". We get the picture.

Being a clone of Civilization is far from a crime, especially on Android which is currently devoid of Sid Meier's series - not even the pared down Civilization Revolution which was produced for iOS. But I'm sorry to report that Revival 2 is a completely inscrutable mess. The control scheme is handset-throwingly frustrating on a phone and unresponsive on a tablet. The game itself bears the afore-mentioned superficial resemblance to Civ II but differs from it in ways that aren't explained well, and fighting through the interface is such a chore that it becomes difficult to see the value in figuring it out. Those with a dollar burning a hole in their change purses and a fetish for masochistic UX design might pick it up but anyone else would be better served bashing their heads against the free Lite version.


1 out of 5



Epic Astro Story

iTunes store - $3.99 for iPhone


Reviewing Kairosoft games is a bit like William F. Buckley's summation of conservatism: while you can stand athwart the App Store yelling "Stop!", the legions of fans of the cult Japanese dev house are unlikely to be dissuaded.

Make it so-so.

Even if Epic Astro Story isn't the equal of Kairosoft's earlier titles like Game Dev Story and Grand Prix Story (and it isn't), it still bubbles over with Kairosoft's charm. The cute pixel art, the punning and referential character names, and the thrill of unlocking gameplay macguffins are all still there. Epic Astro Story even breaks from the familiar Kairosoft formula a bit. Here you are in charge of building a space colony and recruiting astronauts to man it (and to create and sell nicknacks for alien tourists to buy), but you also must send your people out on dangerous expeditions to recover resources and clear land for colonization. It's fun, but the mix of adventure and selling space souvenirs is a bit of a jumble. Earlier Kairosoft titles had a clarity of purpose that Epic Astro Story lacks - much of the game feels like complication for complication's sake.

That said, it's still a Kairosoft game, with all of the compulsive playability that that implies. If you're new to Kairosoft titles you should start with the simpler delights of Game Dev Story, but if you need a fresh fix then you won't really go wrong with this new offering.


3 out of 5



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