Democracy Review

It's the will of the people!

Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 25th November 2008


  • Developer: Positech
  • Publisher: Ascaron
  • Release Date: 25th January 2008

Ok, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to rule the world? Have you ever wondered what rules you would change if you were in the charge? What laws you would implement and which taxes you’d scrap? Well here’s your chance.

Democracy places you firmly in the hot seat of your chosen country where it’s finances, laws, policies and internal affairs are all down to you and your choices. The ultimate goal is to simply gain votes and stay in power.

When you start the game, you are presented with a choice of 12 developed countries to run including Great Britain, The United States of America, Japan and Spain. Once you choose a country, you are given information on the country’s current state such as national debt and current problems and then it’s over to you to … well, take over!

The entire game is played through a menu screen detailing all of the country’s current policies and problems and in the middle of the screen is a graph detailing which voters are currently happy, and which ones are not. These change throughout the game depending on your political actions.

So for instance, you may wish to increase funding for religious schools that will certainly please the religious groups but then scientists may take offence and take their votes elsewhere. If an environmental epidemic outlines stricter motoring controls as a possible solution, how are you going to implement a rise in petrol tax for instance without infuriating the motorists?

Turns are taken in 3 monthly stages and on each turn you have to solve political dilemmas (for instance: “Should we extradite this known terrorist to face charges in his own country where he will more than likely face the death sentence, or keep him safe within our own justice system?”) and fiddle around with current policies. You may wish to rise spending on the police force or the health service for instance, or perhaps you’d like to give your citizens a break and lower income tax?

Whatever you choose to do, the consequences will be known on your next turn (3 months will have passed in game time). The increased spending on the police force may have had a dramatic impact on crime in your country but the lowered income tax may have had catastrophic results for the economy.

If you can manage to keep the majority of the voters happy, you will gain their support and stay in power for longer but make the mistake of angering citizens too much, and it could be your life on the line and not just your job!

For a laugh, I experimented with the religion in schools tool and banned all teaching of creationalism. The religious groups were furious and several death threats were aimed at me! So, to stir it a little further, I withdrew all support for church schools too and the next thing I know it was game over some fanatic had shot and killed me.

So, it’s not always fun at the top, in fact … it can be bloody hard work and this game certainly reflects that. I’ve played many times and am still yet to stay in power for longer than one term. It’s very difficult to get it right in Democracy and therefore, the game may be unsuitable to gamers who are just looking for a quick “play god” game. If you take your politics seriously and enjoy a serious challenge, then Democracy is the game for you. Just don’t expect to be able to keep everyone happy!

Review Score: 6.2/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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