RISK: The Official Game in Review – Ukraine is back in full scanline glory!

Back in my review of Conquest, I was quite sure that the perfect RISK game had been created. Simple, but loaded with extras, its gameplay is pointed and excellent. But Conquest isn’t an official game. Instead, Ukraine-smashing fans have looked forward to this summer’s release of EA’s RISK. Out it is and for better or worse, it is thrashing my good hard free time.

After playing my way through easy, medium and hard levels, I have this to say: RISK: The Official Game doesn’t seem to be made for board gamers. If anything, EA had video gamers in mind when they created this game. RISK is flashy, loud, and full of enough noisome screens and turn animation to make hardened iDevice gamers feel at home.

So, is that a good thing? Yes and No.

RISK has been out for a long time and is a party favourite among strategy fans primarily because it can be started and finished quickly and without much fuss. It is easy to learn, quick to master and fun to play.

Fear not, these elements are preserved perfectly by EA. RISK is easy to play. There is a tutorial, but I’ll be damned if anyone needs it. And everything from the menu system to turn divisions is smooth and accessible. Attacking is as simple as selecting the deploying territory and then finding an adjacent territory to attack. Boom boom.

As everyone knows, strategy games generally take a while to finish. EA have programmed a few tweaks into RISK to help reduce waiting. Tap the screen during a computer turn and the game speeds through each player tap by tap. The map can also be set up automatically. But perhaps the most speedy tweak is the nuke command that sends an entire army in until: A. it is victorious, taking a territory; or B. it is reduced to a burning mound of flesh. RISK has also done away with single or double dice attacks. You only attack with the maximum number of dice available. While it means you spend less time in itsy bitsy battles, it also means that finesse prod-attacks just don’t work.

Multiplayer games are handled over wifi or via pass’n play. Both work well. If you’re at a coffee shop or waiting for a train (or waiting in one), you can play away, shaving minutes from otherwise boring spaces of time. Great. Unfortunately, EA’s RISK preserves none of the feel of the board game. There is an excess of special effects, some that are unnerving, others that are almost rude. Your territories are coloured in scanlines (for some reason) and when you select a colour, you get a commando avatar who annoyingly shouts and screams at the other avatars throughout every single battle. Then, every time a territory is captured, the screen flashes and during fights, it gets more excited than a 90’s style action game. The sounds are overdone and loud. Cute, though they may be for newcomers to the genre, or casual players, they detract from the fun after just a few short turns. RISK, you see, doesn’t feel like RISK. It feels more like a Hulk-smashed progeny of Contra and Wargame and it just doesn’t sit right.

Sure, all the dicing and slicing of the enemy is preserved. You can still build up armies and play against up to five enemies. But where Conquest added new gameplay options and maps, EA’s RISK adds unneeded sound and graphic effects. It is fun, but in its effort to please younger players and newcomers, this official game loses the feel of the classic board game. It also doesn’t have a REAL hard mode. RISK is fun, yes, but not the same classic and tweaked fun that is dished by Conquest.

App Summary
Title: RISK : The Official Game Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.4.88 Min OS Req:
Price: $4.99 App Size: 8.30MB
  • Official RISK port
  • Exciting graphics
  • Easy to learn
  • No nonsense interface
  • Redundant animations
  • Obnoxious screen flashes
  • No extra gamestyles
  • Only option to roll 3 dice or attack till dead
  • Big departure from semi-stodgy feel of the board game


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