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World domination games are fun, but they are also known for taking a long time — Risk, the Civilization series Why You're Playing Civilization V Wrong: Time For Multiplayer! Why You're Playing Civilization V Wrong: Time For Multiplayer! Basically, if you've never played Civilization against one or more real people, then you haven't enjoyed the game to its full capacity. Read More , and a lot of popular 4X games 4 All-Time Classic 4X Games To Lose Yourself In 4 All-Time Classic 4X Games To Lose Yourself In If you are looking for a little more than just pointing and shooting or mindlessly blowing through hordes of enemies, strategy games, and specifically those of the 4X variety, are perfect for you. Read More can take hours, days or weeks to play. If you’re looking for a world-domination experience that you can play in line at the store or waiting for the bus, Rapture (iOS, $2.99) has you covered.

The Five Minute War

Most games in which you’re trying to take over the world are long-view, high-strategy type games, but Rapture is a bit different. You start controlling one territory on a randomly generated world in 750 BC and your goal is to take over the other territories before the world ends in 2250. It takes about five minutes to go through all of that time.

rapture-start

So, how do you take over the world? By tapping on one or more of your territories and then on an opponent’s territory, you’ll launch an invasion. Succeed in the invasion, and you’ll take the territory to build new armies and gain more points. But be wary; there are other civilizations out there that are trying to do the same thing – and they’re ruthless (on the second difficulty level, I’ve only managed to take over the entire world once).

It’s important to keep an eye on your enemies, whether they’re encroaching up your territory or not. Because everything happens so quickly in Rapture, you could lose several of your countries to an invading force that’s been building up for years in the blink of an eye. Getting some practice by spinning the world to do some reconnaissance is crucial.

rapture-meteor

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Also important are miracles—there are 12 of them displayed across the bottom of the screen, each of which can be used to disadvantage your enemy or boost yourself. The drought will reduce your enemy’s production in one country, the plague will hit an entire landmass, and the meteor causes a serious amount of havoc over a wide area (you can see me trying to wipe out the German civilization with a meteor in the screenshot above).

Another interesting mechanic is found in the domestic policy options on the right side of the screen. By selecting capitalism, your territories focus on production; theocracy recharges your miracles very quickly; militarism boost army creation; and technocracy increases your technological advancements, which increase your armies’ power and let you travel across the seas.

rapture-gameplay

There are also one-time-use boosts that increase your production or freeze your opponents for 150 years, both of which can make a huge difference.

Keeping Score

Gaining control of the entire map before 2250 will net you a victory, but you can also win on points if no civilization achieves domination. Exactly how the points are determined isn’t clear; the tutorial says that they’re determined by “the number of armies and regions owned, total productivity, tech level and mana held,” but how much each contributes, or how they’re calculated, isn’t stated.

Fortunately, that doesn’t detract much from the game. It’s not a game that you sit down to play for an hour and carefully plan a strategy to outwit the AI. It’s fast-paced, provides just enough variety to be quite entertaining in short bursts, and gets away from the typical run-and-gunners and word puzzle games Words Without Friends: 7 Mind-Bending Single-Player Word Games Words Without Friends: 7 Mind-Bending Single-Player Word Games When all you want is a quick test for your vocabulary without relying on someone else, just fire up one of these fantastic single-player word games: Most will work either on iOS or Android. Read More that are taking over the App Store.

rapture-score-screen

The only count against the game that I’ve come across so far is in the in-game store, where you can purchase one-time-use boosts, new types of maps, new space backgrounds, and new civilizations. While it’s fun to be leading a Viking or a Mayan conquest instead of a Roman or British one, there’s no discernible difference between the civilizations. You run under a different banner, and that’s about it. And the different maps and backgrounds just change the look; taking over a cubic world is the same as taking over a spherical one.

rapture-victory

I would enjoy spending the in-game currency a lot more if the Vikings received seafaring bonuses, or the Mayans could get boosts from sacrificing some of the armies in their territories, or there was some more immediate difference between the cultures. As it stands, the only thing really worth buying are the boosts.

Megalomaniacs Rejoice

With that small caveat, I can definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoys world domination games and wants to indulge in one when they have 10 or 15 minutes to spare. It’s fast, fun, and proves that small games can be very entertaining Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Hundred-hour games with loads of content are awesome, but sometimes you just want a focused, fun-filled experience. These 5 titles deliver just that. Read More .

Download: Rapture (iOS, $2.99)

Do you have any other fast world domination game recommendations?

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