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Developer: Realore
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Roads of Rome 2 picks up where the first of the resource management strategy franchise, Roads of Rome left off. Victorius, the hero, was indeed victorious in paving the great Roman road and winning the heart of Caesar’s daughter. But now the gods are angry and he must leave his new bride and build a path through new worlds to their mythical home in order to appease them. To do so he has to pave his way through all kinds of hazards using a his men and his wits.

The gameplay is familiar. Each level has missions the most basic of which is building a road from one end of the location to the other. There are 41 in all, spread over four environments, each beautifully realized with Retina display graphics. Other missions run the gamut from collecting crystals to leaving the town with a thriving market. Players have to decide how to use their limited manpower and the location-specific natural resources like food, wood, and stone to complete the tasks before the sun sets and time runs out.

The game is similar to its predecessor, particularly in the opening stages where the missions and settings look startlingly familiar. As Victorius makes his way over the island peaks and into the water world, the game introduces new elements and has a more open-world feel. Instead of having to build the road to let workers pass, now players can send their men anywhere on the level that isn’t blocked by a natural obstacle. This allows for more creative problem solving and lets players focus on new or difficult challenges first. It’s particularly useful when collecting special items like gold shoes that speed workers up or clocks that pause time.

There is a new Relaxed mode with no time limits, but be forewarned: progress in one mode doesn’t carry over to the other. Unless players complete the three revealed worlds in Challenge mode, they won’t be able to unlock the volcano at the end. Speaking of the end, despite more, often harder, missions, getting there is a little less frustrating this time around. There were no locations I got really stuck on. Perhaps some purists will miss the challenge (and the need to Google for solutions) but I found the level of difficulty in Challenge mode perfect.

While Roads of Rome 2 doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the genre, it’s not just another sequel either. The universal build, stunning new graphics and the subtle strategy tweaks make it one of the finest resource management titles in the App Store.

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