Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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The Roads of Rome series of games have been rather enjoyable so far, offering gradual improvements, and the latest installment: Roads of Rome 3 is no different.
Players take control of Victorius, once more, as he attempts to save the Roman Empire from barbarian invasion, by fixing roads, putting out fires and rebuilding settlement buildings. This invokes similar game mechanics as we've seen before, but with some important new additions. Most notably, the pumping station which provides water to extinguish the fires ravaging the Empire. This supplements the other buildings and needs that players must satisfy within a surprisingly tight time limit (on normal mode).
Each level includes a number of objectives to juggle. Players frequently have to clear the road ahead, destroying obstacles and rebuilding the path, but they also have to build structures to keep the workers happy. A farm is needed to keep food coming in steadily, thus keeping the workers energized. A cobbler helps speed things up by offering boots that give a temporary speed boost, while the sawmill makes wood production much faster. All of these buildings might be required by the end of the level, but it's down to the player to work out what to prioritize and when.
It's a fun game mechanic. One that keeps things challenging and giving the sense that solutions are open ended, while also forming a kind of puzzle game. A selection of difficulty modes ranging from the untimed relaxed mode to easy, normal and hard ensures there's something for every ability. Determined souls can also pursue an expert mode.
Unfortunately, Roads of Rome 3 does suffer a little on the iPhone 5 screen. Most notably, there's no support for its larger screen, something that seems a little unusual for such a clearly high quality title. This support would go a long way, given that there's a lot to take in on such a small screen. It's frequently fiddly to tap on items, especially in the corners of the screen, shaving valuable milliseconds off success. Something which can make all the difference when put together on a particularly fraught level.
It's a shame that such control and appearance difficulties arise and I had a lot of fun with Roads of Rome 3. It's an enjoyable challenging time management game but no one appreciates some of the challenge to come from the control system.