World domination games are fun, but they are also known for taking a long time — Risk, the Civilization series, and a lot of popular 4X games 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 that are taking over the App Store.
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.
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.
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.
Download: Rapture (iOS, $2.99)
Do you have any other fast world domination game recommendations?