Techvolution Review

Our Review by Rob Rich on August 19th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FOR SCIENCE!
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Techvolution makes some minor improvements on a proven formula, but it's not enough to keep things from getting a little stale.

Developer: Mind Vacation
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

The one thing that gives the human race an advantage over all other species on the planet is our capacity for invention. We don't have claws to hunt, but we can make weapons. We don't possess a natural defense against harsh weather, but we've learned to make clothing and shelter. Without the ability to create and invent, we'd arguably have never made it very far.

Techvolution is aware of the importance of human technological advancement, and has fashioned the idea into a game of sorts. Users are given a base list of resources and vague concepts such as "Science" and "Construction," then tasked with combining these ideas in order to create new ones which can then in turn be combined further. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

As much as Techvolution may borrow from other sources, it does make an honest effort to change things up for the better. The game is divided into eight Ages, ranging from the Stone Age to the Information Age and beyond. Each one has to have a certain number of concepts created before the next can be attained, giving the formula some much-needed direction and giving players something tangible to aim for. An Age can be advanced if enough has been made, but diligent players can also earn monuments if they manage to complete all of the technological advancements for a given era.

Techvolution does fall flat in a few areas, however. The visuals are fairly plain and lack any real personality, making everything look more like an interactive encyclopedia instead of a means of electronic entertainment. It also doesn't help when the app occasionally fails to recognize when an object/icon is placed on top of another. This leads to some fairly painstaking and repetitive dragging and dropping of elements several times over because the one that does work wasn't in exactly the right spot when it was dragged over.

It would be easy to fault Techvolution for its similarities to other titles, but it does a good job of adding and updating the "genre" for the better. The core experience still boils down to dragging icons on top of icons until something happens and a new icon is made, but the added structure, pseudo-achievements and inability to accidentally - and tediously - recreate something that's already been discovered (thank you for that, Mind Vacation) make it feel unique. I'm not entirely convinced it has much staying power, but it's entertaining enough while it lasts.

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