The latest in the ThinkBad Monkey arsenal of mobile games is Dictator Revolt, a game about trying to be the best darn dictator you can be. Think about being Kim Jong Un and Castro combined, on a very stylish mobile app, and you will have an instant idea of what Dictator Revolt is all about.
At first glance I had assumed that Dictator Revolt was going to one of these longer games similar to a Football Manager or Clash of Clans, where building up your empire slowly reaps its own rewards as you see your team or world reach its peak, and so many of these games work well on mobile. It can work for a F1 team, why not a Dictator? But forget about that. Dictator Revolt focuses on short play throughs of varying experiences to provide that fast gaming fix, we’re talking more along the lines of a Flappy Bird or Doodle Jump.
The main aim of Dictator Revolt mirrors that of a real dictator, and that is staying in power for as long as possible. But, as always, there are people you need to please or put in their place. In this case you are presented with 6 different factions consisting of the Police, Army, Family, Opposition, People and Oligarchs. Starting off with a modest bank statement of $1,500,000, each round you will need to pick a faction and they will present their demand, you will also be charged $100,000 every time for the privilege. This demand could be anything from banning Twitter to forcing the people’s children to work as slaves in the Oligarch factories, yes, I agree that some are more severe than others. The choices you make will either increase or harm your popularity with various factions. Piss a faction off too much and you will have to pay a hefty fine resulting in an empty money pot and a tasty revolution, but charm them to the max and you will see yourself being replaced, balance is the name of the game here. After each decision is made, you will be able to see each faction with your popularity displayed as stars next to them. While it is easy to track when you have answered a question, there is no way to check your popularity before you pick a faction and a question, though this did keep me on my toes.
While Dictator Revolt is simple to play, it is the quirky graphics and amusing demands that make this game so fun to pick up and play. The use of bold colours on a plane backdrop make everything very striking, and perhaps quite appropriately, dictator like.
It can be frustrating at times when decisions don’t effect a faction in the way they should. For example, when the police ask to ban Twitter you would expect the people to be annoyed (and they are) but the Army was also ticked off as well. In a dictatorship I would have expected the Army to be on my side, the bastards! However, play a few games and you can get a much clearer idea about what’s what.
Dictator Revolt does have achievements and a daily goal that will reward you with hints that can give you a clue as to what factions your decisions will effect, giving you something to aim for, but these alone don’t have me racing to play it each day. For a lot of the challenges I found that I needed to use these hints anyway, exhausting my supply before I was even able to obtain more, very frustrating.
Overall, it’s very refreshing when a game stands out in the app store due to its aesthetics and actually turns out to be a great experience. It’s not a game that you will spend hours on, but would be nice to come back to every now and again to get those oppressive feeling out of your system.