ANNO: Build An Empire Review
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ANNO: Build An Empire Review

Our Review by Jennifer Allen on January 22nd, 2015
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: CLUNKY BUILDING
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A shadow of the franchise it's based upon, ANNO: Build an Empire isn't a very good freemium city builder.

Developer: Ubisoft
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.3.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

There’s an understandable sinking feeling from older gamers when they see a beloved franchise come to mobile. All too often, games are turned into messy affairs that hardly offer anything their earlier namesakes provided. Such is unfortunately the case with ANNO: Build an Empire. It’s an Anno game in name alone. It could be any one of many city building sims on the App Store, rather than anything particularly distinctive.

As usual you’re developing a city piece by piece, building by building. Early missions guide you through the basics of what needs to be done, but they also immediately highlight a problem: ANNO: Build an Empire is rather messy and clunky to play. For instance, building a road involves dragging flags around to highlight the beginning and the end, but it’s awkward and you don’t always end up creating the path where you want it to go.

That’s a trend that continues throughout, soon affecting how much fun you can have with building up your city. ANNO: Build an Empire isn’t very well designed for the iPhone 5 either, with the screen feeling unusually small when you’re trying to move things around. A chat screen also takes up far too much space, with other icons infringing upon your view as well.

There’s also the issue that ANNO: Build an Empire lulls you into a false sense of security. It starts out seemingly quite open-ended and devoid of too many freemium elements, but soon enough timers and premium currencies start to emerge. They’re not particularly obnoxious, but by now you’ve realized that this is a messy game that’s far from endearing. Oh, and it’s slow to load, which is frustrating when you want to accomplish something quickly.

A reminder of how a name doesn’t mean much in terms of iOS licensing, ANNO: Build an Empire manages to be a disappointment for fans of the franchise as well as disappointing for anyone who enjoys free-to-play city building sims.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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