App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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If you have ever had a hankering to go back to a more old-school civilization-building game, Demise of Nations might just be the game you're looking for. It's got a hex-based grid, the isometric view, and all of the turn-based action you might expect from something like Civilization II. It definitely isn't the prettiest game out there, but Demise of Nations still manages to be a pretty fantastic free-to-play strategy game.
Rule the world
Demise of Nations pits players in control of different nations against each other in a battle for expansion, discovery, resources, and diplomacy. Games of this ilk are usually referred to as 4X games, and this game fits that bill well enough. You take turns with other players, and each of you try to use your cities, armies, and resources to your advantage.
You can definitely try to work with other player to keep a good balance of resources and keep the peace, but this won't always be the case. Sometimes, you just have to take what's yours, and that seems to be what Demise of Nations is primarily concerned with. Every win condition of the game involves some amount of holding more territory or eliminating other players. There isn't much room for winning cultural or scientific victories here.
One more turn
The focus on combat in Demise of Nations may make it sound like a simplified strategy game, but saying that would do the game a disservice. In every game, new dynamics emerge a that ensure the game's narrower scope is still full of a lot of nuance and intracacies.
There are times when you might find yourself in control of most of the map's lumber, putting you in a unique position to lord over people who don't have that same luxury. Alternatively, you might get an ally to join a war you started, only to see them capture cities in the name of their country instead of yours. These scenarios, and even more, including weather, politics, morale, and fertility rates can create new and unique situations in Demise of Nations that you feel compelled to work through, turn by turn.
All of Demise of Nations's deep strategy comes completely free of charge, though there are some optional in-app purchases you can make. Thankfully, none of these involve recharging energy meters, getting rid of ads, or any other such nonsense.
Instead, Demise of Nations offers new maps and a few other modding goodies, all of which can be unlocked for a single purchase of $19.99 or through individual purchases that are a few bucks each. If you opt not to pay at all for Demise of Nations, you still get access to a single map that you can play in both the singleplayer and multiplayer modes of the game. This single map may sound like a paltry offering, but it provides more than enough game to play before you decide if you want to try out other maps and features.
The bottom line
The strategy in Demise of Nations is really compelling and interesting. Its focus on combat makes feel pretty different than something like Civilization while still retaining a good sense of depth. I do wish the game looked a little better, and that its menu commands were easier to decipher, but otherwise, Demise of Nations is an excellent (and free!) strategy game.