As a self described board game fan, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs watching them get translated to the iPhone. Sometimes they’re a perfect match and almost rival the real thing, like in Carcassonne or Hive. But all too often the translation just doesn’t take hold. It’s a shame, but it happens. Thankfully, the new version of Risk takes after the former titles mentioned above.
At one point or another in our childhoods, we’ve probably all played a game or two of Risk. Even if we didn’t play it properly, the game was more than likely in the closet somewhere. Risk seems to be one of those games like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit that every family in the 80’s/90’s seemed to just own. It’s like it was suburban standard issue.
The game revolves around world domination through military might. You’ll deploy troops, invade neighboring countries with those troops, and then fortify them against retaliation. All pretty standard for a military themed board game. The more countries and continents you occupy the more troops you get for deployment. Once you’ve wiped all your enemies off the map you’re the winner.
Luckily, what we have here on the iPhone is a pitch perfect recreation of the game of Risk. The game plays exactly the same as it did when you were young, just a change of platform away from the dinner table to your iPhone. This digital version of Risk supports both wireless and pass and play multiplayer, but it lacks any mode for online competition. When all else fails, at least you have the AI to play against.
They ditched the old school political map and went with a cool military monitor looking vibe. The way the borders glow in their respective colors just makes you want to tap and invade. It looks fantastic and does a lot to take advantage of its digital presentation, making it feel like more than just a basic re-creation of the board game. The screen looks fantastic and the color wipes as you take over other countries is effective at giving you the feeling of taking over this new parcel of land.
If you’ve never played Risk before though, fear not! There’s an excellent tutorial built in that both reviews the controls and the rules of the game. I hate it when a game uses a few pages of text instructions and calls it a tutorial. Here in Risk it’s a step-by-step process that’ll guide you through how to play the game.
While the experience may be a perfect recreation of the board game, I was disappointed that the official version of Risk arrived without many of the bells and whistles of its competitors. Games like Dominion, Lux, and Blood & Honor all offer up a similarly satisfying Risk experience, but also feature online multiplayer, different game modes, and a wide variety of maps. Risk may be faithful to the source material, but it’s a little too faithful when contrasted with the competition.
Despite failing to keep up with the Joneses in terms of variety, there’s a great deal to love in this well-executed digital take on a family favorite. For those who are already Risk fans, or people that simply want to dip a toe in military conquering games made easy, Risk is guaranteed to satisfy.