In college, some of the guys in my dorm would sit around the lounge playing marathon games of Risk and raving about how addicting it was. Last week, Electronic Arts rolled out a mobile version of the game, Risk: The Official Game, which means you can take the addiction with you on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Risk: The Official Game ($4.99) stays true to the rules of the original board game, and offers a starter tutorial that leads you into a real game if you’re a newbie or need a refresher course. In single-player mode, you can choose to play up to five computer opponents and choose the difficulty level. Unlike other apps that use computer opponents, Risk seemed to match players evenly, creating different strategy types for each AI opponent. While I won most of the games I played at the easy level, I went about 50/50 for wins on medium and hard, which makes for more exciting gameplay. Risk also offers multi-player options, but only when your opponent is nearby—you can play with up to six people via pass ‘n’ play, or with three others over the same wireless network. There is no support for online play.
Diehard “Riskers” may not like that the app offers no flexibility in the rules when it comes to attacking methods, for instance, but as a complete Risk novice, I found the app to be enjoyable. During total war attacks, there is bright flash of light, which became painful to look at over time, leaving me longing for an off switch.
Like most apps from Electronic Arts, Risk has a lengthy animated intro before you can actually get into gameplay, and it appears every time you open the app. It’s annoying to sit through, especially if you’re in the middle of a game and have only popped out to check your email or answer a phone call. For $5, EA should really be expected to integrate fast app switching—and general support for iOS 4—which I hope to see in an update soon.