Dictator: Rule the World

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Dictator: Rule the World App Poster Image
Ads, offers stage a brutal coup on bad strategy game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is basic and straightforward, with players simply making choices based on whatever circumstances have popped up to threaten your reign. It's just a matter of going through the motions.

Violence

No violence explicitly shown, but conflict's referenced in the choices made, as you direct armies, quell rebellions, etc.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Game isn't subtle at all when it comes to pushing for ad revenue or purchasing in-game content. Ads are constantly popping up and are even shown during gameplay, sometimes in a position that can accidentally be opened. Other purchases pushed include an automatically renewed weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription to remove ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dictator: Rule the World is a strategic adventure game available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players are placed in control of a small developing nation where they're responsible for making decisions that will lead to a prosperous reign or outright rebellion. Each turn, players take an audience with one of six factions representing the country, listen to their requests, and then choose whether to approve or deny these requests. While there's no violence explicitly shown in the game, it's often implied by the mention of things like rebel uprisings or military coups. Parents should be aware that the game is loaded with pop-up ads, special offers, and even subscription services constantly pressuring players to spend real money or sit through advertisements.

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What's it about?

In DICTATOR: RULE THE WORLD, you've just been named as the latest in a line of leaders to a small developing nation. Your word is law and your law is supreme. At least, that's the way it should be, but even a dictator can't do things alone. You'll need to gain and keep favor with everyone from the wealthy businesspeople and common peasants to military leaders and opposition forces. But be warned. Currying too much favor with one group is likely to upset others, and disappointing one group too much ... well, that leads to pesky stuff like rebellions and coups. Choose your path carefully and wield your authority wisely. With a lot of strategy and a little bit of luck, who knows? Your dictatorship might just wind up as more than a footnote in the history books.

Is it any good?

This strategy game has a clever premise, but its ruined by the constantly pushed ads on-screen to take your money and the boring gameplay choices. The premise behind Dictator: Rule the World is to see if you could manage a small country before you attempt to rule the world. But overall, the game is simply a string of yes or no choices, with each round having you either fulfill or deny a request from one of the six factions you rule over. These sometimes absurd requests always benefit some of the factions while hurting others. The problem is that it's usually far from obvious how a choice will affect other groups. This makes it almost impossible to plan any real strategy to maintain balance. Instead, you either need to count on pure luck, memorize past  results for when they come up again, or rely heavily on the "Advisor" option, which allows you to make any decision without negative effects. You've only got a limited number of these "Get Out of Jail Free" cards provided daily, unless you're willing to buy more in-game ... which brings up the game's other major issue: monetization.

It should come as no surprise, and should be expected, that most free-to-play games have to do something to make money. Maybe a special boost here, a cosmetic option there, or even just asking players to watch the occasional ad or two. Dictator: Rule the World takes this to an extreme. The gameplay is constantly interrupted with pop-ups and banner ads that block part of the screen while you're playing. It also constantly reminds you that you can get rid of these pesky annoyances, but only IF you're willing to pay a recurring weekly, monthly, or yearly charge to become a "VIP." It's such an intrusive and overbearing cash grab, it feels more like extortion than incentive. It's enough to make an already repetitive and bland game cross over into the realm of just plain irritating.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about monetizing games and apps. How do games use ads to make money off the "free-to-play" model? How can players evaluate whether or not in-game offers and subscriptions are worth the price?

  • How do real dictatorships differ from the one presented in the game? How do democracies and dictatorships differ in the world?

App details

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For kids who love strategy

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