Reviews

Democracy 3 (iPad)

Democracy 3, the popular cause-and-effect simulator for politics, was released on PC last year, and it’s now available for iPad. If you’ve played any of the games in the series, you’ve probably thought about how good a fit this game would be on a touch screen, and you couldn’t be more right.

Democracy 3 is all about adjusting sliders to put your capital into different things and hopefully living through to see the consequences. You start by picking a nation. You get six options. Each nation you select comes with its own historical data and a little information about the political climate there. Once you pick your nation, you get to adjust a few more situational things like natural calamities, party names, term length and stuff like political apathy and innate liberalism and socialism.

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You’re better off giving the in-game manual a read through. I chose to do this after my first playthrough that had ended with the capitalists getting rid of me.

Once you tap the poorly sized play button, the game and your rule begins. The game has a tutorial that helps to some extent, but you’re better off giving the in-game manual (yes, even iOS games can come with in-game manuals) a read through. I chose to do this after my first playthrough that ended with the capitalists getting rid of me.

Once the main game begins, you see a rather overwhelming bit of information in the form of tons of glyph bubbles representing different policies. These are segregated into different types like public services, tax, transport, and law and order. The middle of the screen has the different voter groups and how happy/annoyed they are with your policies. Each voter group gets affected by things differently and some are even volatile in nature as I learnt in my first playthrough. The overall popularity you have is at the bottom of this bar graph table

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Your aim is to get elected again and keep everyone happy while still maintaining control over the country.

Tapping any of groups will show you a nicely animated web of policies that are affecting said group. The policies will be highlighted with arrows representing the effect they have. Green means positive and red is a negative effect. Arrows move at the speed of how much said policy affects something. Following all these lines in the web will show you what is causing change within your country. A voter can be a part of multiple groups as well. Voter groups are cynical to some extent in their views about you and this can be changed with your policy changes.

Your aim is to get elected again and keep everyone happy while still maintaining control over the country. Extremism gets you nowhere while running a country as I learned the hard way. You end up putting your own beliefs behind and looking at getting votes more than being ethical for the most part. So basically, you become a stereotypical politician.

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Unfortunately, some icons and images appear blurry on almost all the iPads being sold today.

The blue glyph bubbles are statistics. These can only be adjusted indirectly through policies. The red glyphs on the main screen are situations that develop over time with your policy decisions. You must keep track of these because they can cause things to go bad really fast. The top right of the screen has icons that let you look at your cabinet ministers and how they perceive you, the intelligence briefing (that you should look at often) to see if there’s a threat from a certain group, income and expenditure charts, policy implementation, achievements, quarterly report and how the opposition party is doing. After quarters, you may be asked to reject or approve certain laws and bills as well. The amount of content in the game is pretty staggering and after putting in a bit of time, you will be addicted.

The interface works well on iPad from the get-go, but there are some annoyances. Since this is a menu-driven game that relies mainly on statistics, text and icons, full Retina display support is expected. Unfortunately, some icons and images appear blurry on almost all the iPads being sold today. Text is now fine after a patch. Also some touch targets should be made more suited to touch screen devices. I can’t imagine how small the hire and fire buttons for your cabinet would be on an iPad mini.

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Even though you are listening to the same tune for a long time, it doesn’t feel monotonous for even a bit.

Some of the animations in the game feel a little slow overall as well. The music and overall audio, on the other hand, are done really well. Even though you are listening to the same tune for a long time, it doesn’t feel monotonous for even a bit. I am pretty disappointed by the lack of Game Center integration though. What’s the use of putting achievements in the game if they don’t support the official achievement system used by the platform?

The game has insane replay value. It is also a lot of fun. I really hope the DLC packs that are available on PC get added as in-app purchases to this version because this is a game everyone even remotely interested in politics should experience. Interface issues aside, I stopped playing this on Steam after getting it on iPad. Had the port been perfect, I’d have recommended deleting the Steam version and just playing it on iPad.

IVG's Verdict

8/10
  • Immense content
  • Huge replay value
  • Loads of fun
  • Port is nearly perfect
  • Some assets are not high resolution enough
  • No Game Center achievements
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