The World Chico, and Everything in It

Own this WorldAs Tony Montana can attest, the business of world ownership can get a little messy, a little dangerous and all kinds of illegal. Calgary developers Big Nerds in Disguise aim to let us all embrace our inner Scarface in a much more acceptable way with their app Own This World.

The world of geo-dependent online games (or GDOG) has been slowly growing over the past year and is set break through to the mainstream with apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Own This World looks to set itself apart from the pack, not by focusing on building social relationships, but by tearing those relationships to the ground, destroying the survivors and salting the earth so nothing can grow.

Own This World is best described as a real-life game of Risk. The developers have taken a map of the world and overlaid a grid, creating territories roughly one square kilometre in size. With the assistance of the GPS on your iPhone, it’s your job to travel to as many territories as you can and claim them as your own. Every 30 seconds you occupy a territory you are awarded a troop. Whoever has the most troops in a territory is considered the owner of that territory. Whoever owns the most territories is crowned Emperor of the entire world.

Beneath this simple premise is a deeper level of strategy as the developers have built in a full attack system. Each territory is randomly assigned one of four possible resources, which is awarded to the player each night. Players can collect and save these resources to unleash various attacks on other players to aid in the decimation of opposing troops. Ranging from a surface-scratching kamikaze attack to a devastating nuclear strike, players will find an entire arsenal on which to spend their hard-earned resources.

Own this World Leader BoardOwn This World falls into a very sparsely populated group of apps that succeeds in changing your daily routine. How many times have you cursed the open road? How many times have you praised the streetlight that turns yellow as you approach it? Once you start seeing the world, as the Big Nerds in Disguise want you to, heavy traffic becomes your friend.

There are two in-app purchase options. If the idea of claiming territories to attain resources is too much for you to handle, you can buy a pack of them for $0.99. The second (also $0.99) lets you purchase your own empty world to battle over with whomever you choose to invite. All troops carry over into the main game, so there’s no progress lost if you and three friends want to fight over your hometown without the distraction of other players.