Strategy browser-based MMO - Build the prosperous city of your dreams and conquer the lands to expand your empire in this city building web browser MMO

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Game overview

Ikariam is an animated, historically-themed 2D browser-game that features a rich strategy game experience involving resource management, multiplayer PVP and empire building. The game advances in real time and while progression is slow, the gameplay offers plenty of choices for the player when it comes to being the ruler of their township on an island that is ripe for any plans of expansion.

Graphically, Ikariam is pleasant to look at with good graphics and surprisingly has animated motions of villagers getting to work and constructing buildings or collecting resources. Unfortunately, the lack of in-game sounds and music may be an immersion buzzkill for some players.

Ultimately, Ikariam is a great strategy game that players can play for no cost, even in the presence of an advantageous cash shop.

➔ Main points:

  • Rich gameplay that features plenty of content for empire building lovers
  • Animated villagers and good graphics
  • Slow character progression but well paced learning curve

Full review

Humble Beginnings

The town view overlooks your city's construction and is a hub for your progression

Ikariam is a browser-based city building MMO that has been around since 2008. Featuring animated 2D graphics and familar empire building gameplay, Ikariam has been a staple browser game for strategy lovers and new players won't find it too difficult to jump in and begin their road to the top.

When just starting out, players can choose 7 different worlds as servers. The difference between them is just the population which is impressively active today. Once in-game, you are greeted with a main screen user interface that's clean and simple, and players can toggle between three different views - world view to see where your empire is among other players, island view to see other inhabitants on the island like your neighbors and neutral barbarian villages to pillage for resources, and town view to see your town and to put your administrative skills to work as building, researching and recruiting all take place in the town view.

The in-game tutorial does a good job at integrating players into the game for the long journey ahead. Buildings are an integral part of progression and at the beginning, players can click on empty plots of land on their island that has a red flag to begin construction and just like everything else in this game, will take real time to complete.

There's a decent amount of building variety too - each one providing your township with benefits, from resource production to research facilities as well as army recruitment. Early on you won't have to worry too much about planning what to build, as the tutorial covers this for you.

Resources are King

As with other games in this genre, resources will be your bread and butter currency to advance your gameplay by building, researching and recruiting. There are six main resources in Ikariam but Gold and Building Material are the main two that will be used the most.

Resource generation will happen per hour and depends on the amount of villagers you have allocated to work in production buildings within your town, which can be done through sliders. This allows for a highly customized town management experience that is actually pretty fun.

The best part has to be watching your villagers come to life as they are animated, and you can see them getting to work as you construct new buildings or send them to gather resources. Animated graphics are rare in browser-based games, so to see this included in Ikariam was a pleasant surprise.

Conquer the Island and Seas

The advisers can be easily accessed in the UI and each will offer gameplay hints and keep you up to date on progression such as PVP battles and the economy

Progression in Ikariam is PVP dependent, so resource management will not be the only thing that players should focus on. The Island that your city is located on is also the home of neighboring real players and neutral Barbarian NPC villages that players can pillage for more resources, and to expand in the future.

Provided you have recruited units from the Barracks and have built a naval structure that constructs ships such as the Trading Post, players can then send attacks to these foreign villages, which again takes real time to determine the travel as well as the outcome. Battles are not animated however, but can be followed in detail thanks to battle reports that show a graphical representation of how each battle round went.

Ultimately, dominating the island will soon prove easy and when there's no one left to fight or no plot of land left to expand to, it's time to take to the seas to conquer other islands in the world. To do this, players will have to build up a strong army composition and a good sized naval fleet as well, to endure a long journey across the world map to take on players on other islands.

Researching Victory

Research is another vital part of Ikariam's gameplay, as researching topics will grant more bonuses and benefits that greatly help players in their conquest for supremacy. There are 18 different research topics available, but players must accrue enough research points in order to start them. Research points are granted for successful activities such as battles, expansion and upgrading.

The best players advance their research in parallel with the growth of their town and army to leverage the bonuses that it offers to their cause. Research will offer boons such as better geared units which can be researched in order to give your units a slight advantage in battles.

The best players advance their research in parallel with the growth of their town and army to leverage the bonuses that it offers to their cause


In conclusion Ikariam's historically themed empire building game has plenty of players due to its rich gameplay that only gets better the more you play it. The slow progression and real time advancement isn't for everybody, but there is so much to do besides the usual PVP warfare and resource management which offers a nice change of pace for players looking for a fuller experience in their browser games.

While the cash-shop does offer some unfair advantages to players who pay and the game has no in-game sound or music to increase immersion, Ikariam is still a great browser game overall that will definitely cater to strategy lovers of the genre, with a free to play model that's inciting. Even better, the game also has a mobile app so you can play anywhere on your phone as well.

Ready to enter the world of Ikariam? Click here to play now!

Graphics: animated artworks
PvP: PvP all vs all
Cash shop influence: average
Exp rate: medium

Ikariam's good blend of PVP, resource management and conquest strategy offers a richer experience than most browser games in the genre, and has an accompanying mobile app to boot.

What We Liked..

Clean user interface

Rich gameplay

Animated villagers and artwork

.. and what we didn't

No sound or music

Slow progression

Fun factor
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

Review summary

  1. Humble Beginnings
  2. Resources are King
  3. Conquer the Island and Seas
  4. Researching Victory
  5. Conclusion

What we liked..

Clean user interface
Rich gameplay
Animated villagers and artwork

.. and what we didn't

No sound or music
Slow progression
Graphics - 70 / 100
Fun factor - 70 / 100
Longevity - 70 / 100
Originality - 70 / 100
Community - 70 / 100

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