Technically speaking, this mobile game has NOTHING to do with CIV4 on the PC at all. Instead, this game is a combination of Armor Alley (or for those who remember that far, Rescue Raiders), and Scorched Earth. On the other hand, this is one of those directions that the mobile market has not gone before, so at least they deserve some points for freshness.
In case you have never heard of Armor Alley or Scorched Earth... Here's an explanation.
The "playing field" is 2D, almost like an antfarm. Each side's "base" sits at the respective end. You, the blue team, is on the far left, while the enemy, red team, is on the far right. In between are some mines (produce ores), some farms (produce food), some random forts, forests, and rise and fall of the terrain, dot the landscape.
The base gets a "city wall" that will stop any enemy, but it can be knocked down given enough damage. The objective is to get your unit to touch the enemy base, thus destroying it, and prevent enemy from doing the same to yours. There are also forts scattered around the landscape that can hold up the enemy, giving your artillery more killing power.
Your base can shoot its built-in artillery whenever the cannon bar (caused by ore build-up) is full. The more mines you have (and any bonus tech you have to improve mining) the faster the bar fills up. Similarly, the unit bar fills up at the rate that depends on by the amount of farms you have and what technology you have to boost food production. However, you get to decide how to use the bar by producing the three types of units: soldiers, shooters, and mobile units. Mobile units cost a LOT, but they will mow down ANY lesser unit. Shooters have a chance to kill anything at a distance (even mobile units) but are at mercy of soldiers. Soldiers are weak, but they are fast, and only they can capture farms and mines. You press 1, 2, or 3 to build soldier, shooter, or mobile respectively. As the "ages" changes, the actual units change, but the basic unit divisions remain the same.
Between battles won, you get to advance in technology, by picking one advance out of three separate areas... military, science, and engineering. They all affect something, from cheaper units, to units shooting further, to faster ore or food production (i.e. faster bar fill up), to tougher city walls, and so on.
You get four civs to choose from, each civ has a special bonus. Americans gets 1 bonus advance out of every 5 advances, while others have cheaper units, or starts with extra advances, and so on.
The battles are surprisingly tense, esp. on medium and hard levels, when the enemy artillery is more and more accurate.
The "trick" is to use your advantage in tech and exploit the advantage ruthlessly. If you have Feudalism, which leads to cheaper mobile units, then build more mobile units. If you have cheap infantry, build infantry, but keep an eye out on what the other guy is building as well. You can't win with your units alone.
All in all, while this game has very little to do with the Civ name, it is surprising fun to play and tense for the back-and-forth action as the line see-saws between the two extremes. If you like action-strategy games, you should give this at least a try.
I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10, for being different, and pretty good to play.
About This Place
First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?