Developer: EA
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2.27
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

When you think of strategy games then it’s very likely that the first place your brain parks is on Risk. The board game, which has been around for a half-century, is the standard against which all other similar titles are measured, and it still holds up well even to this day. Now EA has finally released an official Risk app for the iPad, and just like the board game this stands as a premiere strategy title.

The digital version of Risk retains most of the rules and gameplay of the board version, but streamlined for simpler play and simplified for Risk rookies. Players still utilize armies to capture new territories, with dice rolls determining the outcome of each battle. The main difference is that there is only one unit in the game, infantry, as opposed to the multiple pieces you find in the traditional version. Then again, the whole point of multiple units in the board game is to keep the playing area from getting too cluttered, which isn’t really an issue here.

All other gameplay is identical, with each player taking turns drafting armies, attacking territories and then fortifying their forces. The iPad version of Risk supports up to six players, with both pass-and-play and local wireless and Bluetooth multiplayer. Granted, you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find six people in close proximity to one another with an iPad and a hankering to play Risk, but it’s nice to have the option.

The primary drawbacks of Risk are the lackluster enemy AI and the somewhat clunky controls. Enemy forces often wait until the last possible second to launch any sort of coherent counterattack, and by that point all you have to do is wade in and mop up what’s left over. This is true on practically any difficulty level, and you’ll often find strategy takes a backseat to brute strength. On top of that, the spinning wheel mechanic of adding armies to a territory can be more irritating than it is helpful. Adding one or two units isn’t an issue, but if you want to pile 8 or 9 armies onto a tile it takes a little more time than it should. Spread this around to all your territories, and some turns really start to drag. While the game will let you group all your drafted armies into one unit, it won’t let you create a few smaller groups which you could then place quickly and easily. It’s an annoying oversight, and one which mars an otherwise excellent game.

For the most part, Risk on the iPad is a great value and a worthy representation of the franchise. It may not be as deep as its tabletop counterpart, but it’s still very enjoyable and a great way to get newcomers hooked on the franchise. The game of world domination lives on, and it hasn’t lost even a bit of steam.

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