Written by Brock Poulsen, brockst4r Friday, 05 August 2011 11:00
CivWorld is Civilization creator Sid Meier's foray into the social gaming scene, taking a crack at the "freemium" game formula. The game falls into the same ruts that plague many Facebook games, but overall it is a much better than your average free-to-play experience. CivWorld represents the potential for so-called casual gaming.
At first glance the game appears quite Farmville-ish (which itself is Civilization-ish to begin with). Your city accumulates food, gold, culture, science, and production "points" as your citizens work at various tasks, automatically chosen by the game based on proximity to food, markets, etc. You can also change your citizens' jobs to suit your needs. Production points are used to build new buildings and roads, and the other resources are used for minigames that help increase your city's technology.
The minigames are what help set CivWorld apart from similar casual games. Whereas Farmville - which has become the sort of de facto example of lazy casual game design - is primarily a click-and-wait game, here you can play games that actively help your city.
The maze game adds to your Science, letting you research new technologies. The painting puzzle adds Culture, granting Great People who, in turn, allow you to build Wonders, which give passive bonuses to things like resource gathering or battle. Finally, there's a pipe-matching game that gives you gold for completing it quickly. There is some element of waiting in between play sessions, since your harvests give you chances to play, but nothing close to the "plant a crop, harvest in 12 hours" type of waiting.
CivWorld provides some good fun, and while it still falls victim to some of the common casual game pitfalls, it's a decent way to waste some time on Facebook, and a good omen of things to come.