Civilization VI on IOS hands on — Handheld, global strategy

Global strategy through the ages goes handheld with Civilization 6 for iOS.

Whilst I am a lifelong Civilization fan, and one that has sought out Sid Meier’s classic game on every possible platform, I never once dreamed that I would be able to play it on my phone. Civilization Revolution bucked this trend, but at a cost — it was a much lighter, more gamey experience than I was hoping for, but it won me over in its own right eventually. Now, some ten years later, I’ve learned that Civilization VI is available for iOS devices — and I’ve been playing it.

Or a subset of it, at least. The demo version that I have access to is limited to just one hour of play on a single map, with China as the only playable nation and none of the really interesting settings visible to me. Even so, I’ve tested Civ 6 on both by mobile phone and my 2018 iPad and I have to say that it feels remarkably close to the full-fat PC experience. Even the music and visual style is near-as-dammit identical, which feels like a considerable achievement in its own right, regardless of how much of the game has made the port.

For those who haven’t experienced it, Civ 6 is perhaps the most expansive and complete 4X (explore, expand, exploit and exterminate) style games ever made. It’s also a long, deeply engaging and — in many ways — complex game. In it, players will choose a nation (each of which has specific benefits) and, beginning at around 4,000 BC, will attempt to claw their way through time to become the most impressive civilization on Earth. Maps are randomized to place resources and competitors in different places and there are hundreds of possible setup options.

It may help you to know that Civ 6 is already out on iOS, so if knowing that it exists is good enough for you, then don’t let me stop you — go and buy it. Why, you ask? Well, based on what I’ve read elsewhere, across an aggregated set of reviews, Civ 6 on iOS is as authentic and feature rich a remake as there has ever been. It features almost all of the same core gameplay, including all nations from the base game and even the Aztec DLC, plus a whole ton of potential setup options. That’s not just a considerable achievement; it’s an incredible one.

Apparently the only missing features in this iOS port are all online multiplayer modes and a number of visual changes — things like animated leaders or the revealing of a Wonder of the World. I have to say that I never noticed the latter in my test version at all, whilst multiplayer seems like an inevitable exclusion given the mode of play. These omissions aside, Civilization VI on iOS is remarkably complete and extremely impressive. Whilst I haven’t played the full version yet, I have already added it to my short term wish list!

Civilization VI is available now for iOS.

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