The Challenges Of Building An Empire
Roads of Rome is a strategy game that will task players with managing an empire, which is achieved primarily through building construction. Most of the levels in the game require the player to build their city up to a certain level and protect it from attacks.
While this might sound simple in theory, it actually requires quite a bit of work. Players will need to master the game's economy and also be quick to defend their city from wild animals. Additionally, the clock will be ticking to keep track of how fast the player is able to complete each level.
Construct a Fortress and Get Ready to Defend
The first course of action the player will have to engage in at the start of the level is the construction of a fortress. These powerful defensive buildings will safeguard their city from all manner of enemies, which include wildlife such as lions and bears that the player will need to click on to scare away. If their city comes under attack, all of the player's units will be able to retreat to the fort until the enemy has been dealt with.
In order to start building a city up, players must first collect resources from around the area. These range from common items such as wood and stone, to more exotic things like magical runes and crystals. Additionally, players will have to maintain a constant supply of food to their workers to ensure they maintain loyal to the player's cause.
Although most stages start the player off with a small amount of resources nearby, they will need to start sending their workers further and further away from their main city in order to find the resources required to beat the level.
Once the player has gathered some resources, they will be able to start building and improving different structures around their city. These buildings come in several different types and serve several specific functions. The three main categories that buildings fall into are: economic, social and research.
Economic buildings include things like sawmills and quarries, which respectively increase wood and stone collection rates. Social buildings include things like houses and farms, which will increase the maximum number of workers the player can have. Research buildings consist of buildings like laboratories or clinics and produce upgrades for the player's fortress, giving the player more time to scare away hostile wildlife.
As the player progresses through the single-player campaign, they will be tasked with increasingly difficult scenarios. For example, one stage will prohibit the player from building any farms, ensuring that they are only able to maintain a very small workforce. Another example is a stage where the player is given a large workforce to start with, but no no resources close to their city. Scenarios like these do a great job of forcing the player to constantly try out different strategies.
Extra Points If You Pass The Stage in Time
Another element that adds to the game's overall strategy is the fact that each scenario has recommended clear time associated with it. This is essentially the time that the game's developers think it should take an average player to beat the level. Although players aren't penalized if it takes them longer to beat the stage, they are rewarded with extra resources on the next map if they manage to clear the stage early. Additionally, players can explore each level to find power-ups to give them a big advantage. These power ups can range from speeding up the player's workers to removing obstacles from the player's path.
Adventure In Ancient Rome
The game is set during the time of the ancient Roman Empire, although it takes quite a few liberties with historical accuracy by adding in things like magical crystals and mystical runes. It feels as though the game might have been better served by embracing either one of these extremes, as it probably won't be historically accurate enough for some people or outlandish enough for others.
Overall, the setting really doesn't detract from the experience but also doesn't add much to it either. It feels like the game could have used more variety in its types of units, as the workers are limited to performing the same tasks the entire game.
Prove Your Love For Caesar's Daughter
The player assumes the role of a warrior in the Roman Empire who is in love with Caesar's daughter. Caesar is less than pleased with his daughter for associating with a lowly soldier and makes the player prove his worth by tasking him with the construction of a road that will connect one end of the empire with the other. Although this may sound simple, the player's quest will take them into an untamed wilderness filled with peril.
The game is divided up into four chapters with a short cutscene at the end of each chapter to advance the story. For those who just want to play the game, these cutscenes can be skipped altogether. Aside from these minor instances, the story really won't intrude into the game too much.
User-Friendliness Could Use Some Improvement
One of the main areas where this game falls short is in its interface. While it isn't enough to totally ruin the game, the game makes it somewhat difficult for the player to issue orders to his or her workers. The main problem is that workers can only be given one command at a time; players are unable to queue up multiple orders to be completed in succession.
Aside from this issue, the game is fairly easy to use. Most actions can be accomplished by a single mouse click, and the game does a good job of explaining what the purpose of each building is. There isn't a tutorial per se, but the first several levels are quite easy and designed to ease new players into the game.
Colorful Graphics Are Just Right
Although the graphics in many casual games can be described as basic at best, the graphics in Roads of Rome are very well done. From the beginning, it's obvious a lot of attention to detail went into the game's graphics. The color palette is bright and vibrant and do a great job at holding the player's interest. Every object in the game is drawn simply enough that players are able to easily discern what it is, but also given just enough detail to make it seem interesting.
Additionally, the game does a great job of making the player feel like they commanding a large city, as it allows the player to see large amounts of the level at once.
Single Player Campaign Is Fun But Lacks Replayability
Roads of Rome is really quite lengthy for a casual game. The game is divided into four separate chapters, with each one taking around an hour to complete. Additionally, whenever a player finishes a stage their clear time is recorded, meaning that it's possible to come back at a later date and try to beat a previous high score.
Even though the single-player campaign will give players quite a bit of entertainment, there's really no reason to come back and keep playing the game once it's over.
Review by Robert J
Robert J works as an IT industry professional in the Milwaukee area. He has been an avid gamer his entire life and lives with his dog Buddy.
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