Totem Tribe Gold HD – iPad
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Enkord
Release Date: Nov 7, 2012
Genre: Strategy
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 4.5 of 5

Once again G5 defies their tradition of HOA games and gives us Totem Tribe Gold HD, a strategy game not entirely unlike Sid Meier’s Civilization, and one that is surprisingly “at home” on the iPad. The game starts off slow enough with a nice tutorial that will ease gamers of all ages and familiarity with a world-building strategy game into its own unique play style. The designers even manage to work in a cool little story about helping Aruku to restore peace to the Hawk tribe and guide them into the future; certainly a more noble quest than merely taking over the world or racing into outer space.

You’ll need to explore the various islands, build huts which in turn spawn workers, warriors, and explorers, who can then be trained in their various duties to build bigger and better structures. You’ll send your men out into 32 unique locations, all brilliantly designed to look amazing on the iPad retina display. You’ll settle new lands, locate sacred Totems, and engage in over 20 quests and mini-games as you search for 20 artifacts in this epic RTS-adventure game. They even manage to throw in a few hidden-object puzzles.

The game is quite large with each level taking upwards of 30-40 minutes to complete, so it might not make the best spur-of-the moment mobile game, but it’s a great way to kill the time on a lengthy flight or road trip. There is a great sense of progression and a steady flow of rewards to keep you coming back for more.

The graphics are excellent, both the static backgrounds and the fun little animations for construction, movement and even combat. The interface is easy to navigate and doesn’t interfere with your view of the map. Even the mini-map in the corner is functional. Sound and music are just as good as the graphics with interesting effects and pleasant melodies than never get annoying, even in this very long game.

If I had to complain about anything it would be the lack of a few refined controls I have become used to playing Civilization and other RTS games on the PC. Unit management can get a bit troublesome and you lack the ability to move individual people, so you often send an army to do what one man could have done if you had the option.

Again, Totem Tribe Gold HD is designed as an entry-level RTS experience, and is the perfect gateway game if you want to introduce your kids into the world of Civilization. It has delightful graphics, a fun story, and a wealth of content that is presented in such a way that you can’t help but want to play one new mission after another. This is a pleasant surprise, both for the genre on a mobile device and for a G5 title, and I highly recommend.