Review by Taranthil

"Fun for an hour or two. Well, not that fun, really."

Democracy is a fairly simple simulator. It simulates, well, democracy. The system of election that we use to choose our governments. Although, if our governments had it THIS easy, no doubt they'd spend their days yachting and swimming in tropical isles, managing the country via the internet.

There are no graphics, or sound, to speak of. That sums up the game's interface. The sound is better turned off, and the graphics amount to a modest bunch of icons and bars, which, although readable, and Mac-like in their graphical sheen, certainly isn't Oblivion.

Thus, I'll be talking solely about the gameplay. The thing that can make-or-break a game.

Firstly, you have a set of people within your nation. That's obvious enough. And that's the basis of the game. Being re-elected every term is your goal. Everything else is incidental. However, at the centre of your screen, is a list of the groups within your country, who they are, how many of them there are, and whether or not they're happy with you.

Of course, many people fall into more than one group, so while you might annoy drinkers with a drinking tax, the money gained from that can be spent on childcare, which aids the same drinker parents.

You can set policies, which then affect your nation. Taxes, ordinances, funding to various areas.. all fall under the policy section. And, of course, there's the negligible 'events' section.

Amusingly enough, it's fairly easy to run the country if you appease the religious. Although I annoyed the liberals something awful on my first run through, they never did anything more than write to newspapers angrily. And their demographic declined throughout.

On the flip side, in my second game, I legislated the teaching of evolution in American schools. Angered by my actions, a religious fanatic blew himself up in parliament, killing me.

The message, of course, is clear. The developers didn't have time to make offending the other demographics do anything to your nation. And it shows. Although I removed childcare, and virtually made parents unwelcome throughout the nation, my population began ageing.

"Great!", I said. The game was simulating a NATION! My policy choices affected the nation as WELL as affecting my chances of re-election. Hell, if my population ages too much.. underproduction and depression, here we come!

Of course, my 'elderly' demographic just increased to around 99%. And sat there. I had a nation of some 200 million, 198 million of whom were retired. Two million workers. And yet I got along just fine.

That really sums up the game. It had a lot of potential. With more work, more difficulty, and more realism, it'd be a political simulator worth playing. But, although it gets over the first hurdle just fine, it falls at the second. Overall, it's fun for a little while, after which, it's boring, sterile, and pathetically easy.

Worth four points out of ten for the fun it gives at first, but the replay value is non-existent, and the challenge likewise.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 12/13/06

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