Review: Revival 2
If you’re an eager explorer, a budding builder, have a penchant for politics, or fancy yourself as a swinging swordsman, then you might just be interested in Revival 2. This is a Civilisation clone, all running within your Symbian phone. It’s a complex game genre, being something of a simulator for early human settlements. It’s an old genre too, with its roots definitely in the DOS era of gaming. Read on to find out how well it translates into the mobile space.
Version Reviewed: 1.04(11)
If you’re unfamiliar with this game genre, the idea is to build up your own civilisation, while coping with problems like disease and rival civilisations competing for land and resources. Revival 2 follows the formula perfectly.
You start with a settlement which has a small population, producing gold and resources, but also consumes money and food. Straight away you have to start thinking about building other structures to produce food and cure diseases.
Examining your first town
However, your civilisation won’t last very long if it doesn’t expand, so this is where producing Barbarians and Immigrants comes into play. Barbarians are good scouts and do some fighting for you, but have no specialities. Immigrants have the ability to found a new town, so it’s those you must send out to expand your territory. However, they take so long to produce that you can’t risk using them as combative scouts.
Each of the structures in Revival 2 has a specific use too. For example, pharmacies create supplies for curing diseases, and can later be upgraded to medical centres. Similarly, schools are used for research into new structures, and can later be upgraded to colleges. There are other structures, like markets and blacksmiths, that help raise the town’s profits.
Sending your barbarians out to explore
Not all structures need to be built within the town limits either. You can deploy workers to leave the town and set up mines or watchtowers.
The game is complex to play. Fortunately, rather than dropping you in at the deep end, there are a series of ‘academy’ scenarios for you to play out, where you concentrate on a specific aspect of the game. These include rapid creation of towns in as short a time as possible, learning to negotiate with rival civilisations, and conducting combat to capture rivial towns.
The control method in Revival 2 feels very confused. There are frequent mentions of pressing various numeric or symbol keys, as if you are playing on a 12-key T9 style device, even though the title has touch features. This game is available for all flavours of Symbian, and so will apply to T9 devices. However, I wish the developers had been better at detecting the device the game was running on. Then, those T9 references could have been done away with on touch-only devices.
Starting a new town with your immigrant
The world is viewed from a isomorphic perspective, and there is no zoom control. This makes selecting items on screen very difficult indeed. Particularly so when you’re trying to coordinate an assault on an enemy town. It’s also tricky for selecting individual buildings in any of your towns.
Since it was running on a graphics accelerated Symbian3 device, I had hoped that there would have been some zoom functionality. Alas not, and it proved to be tricky on an N8 with a 3.5" screen; I dread to think how it would be on a smaller C6–01 or S60 5th Edition device. The game has not been written with touch devices in mind and, instead, touch functionality feels like it has been added as an afterthought. Where have we seen that before?!
Neighbouring civilisations soon start visiting, and cluttering up your screen!
We then have to consider the question of whether this is an appropriate genre for mobile devices. It’s certainly engaging, and you could spend many hours building your empire, and making war and peace with neighbouring civilisations. However, would you really want to do that on a mobile phone?
I’m sure that some people will be glad to see this sort of game available for Symbian, in all its retro-graphics glory. However, for the majority of mobile gamers this sort of game is not appropriate. Surely mobile games should have slick graphics, be less fiddly, be something that you can get to grips with quickly, and will not require a great deal of strategic planning to play.
Instead, Revival 2 offers gameplay which soon becomes a major project. To makes things worse, it’s wrapped up in an extremely fiddly user interface, and with tiny retro-graphics that gave me eyestrain. In conclusion, HeroCraft has failed to translate this genre into a worthwhile mobile gaming experience.
You can pick up Revival 2 for £1.00 on the Ovi Store, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
David Gilson for All About Symbian, 24th September 2011.
Reviewed by David Gilson at