Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Roads of Rome HD is a time management game with elements of real-time-strategy (RTS) games thrown in to create a rich, fast-paced and fully successful PC to iOS port.
As games of this genre are wont to have, there is a backstory that sends the hero on his epic road-building quest. Victorious is in love with Caesar’s daughter - to keep them apart, Caesar sets him on the all but impossible task of paving the great Roman roads across 40 levels and an assortment of rich landscapes.
Each new city is barren, but by hiring workers, constructing sawmills, quarries, farms, gold mines and anything else necessary to get the job done, Victorius can acquire the necessary raw materials to complete a series of tasks. Players leave behind a functioning town and a working highway to complete the level and progress to the next.
All levels require the laying of a road, but along the way certain buildings (like a fort, which takes a lot of materials) must be built. Players are asked to collect Ruin stones and crystals or explore caves to complete the level, as well. Storms can knock buildings down, and don’t forget to scare away any predatory animals, as they paralyze the workers with fear.
All of this is done against the clock. Complete the task before sundown for a red flag signifying expert time, but be sure the job’s done before the next day dawns, or the level must be replayed.
There are an assortment of power-ups, including gilded boots that speed workers along their often convoluted paths, clocks that pause time, and other helpers, but be sure all obstacles like quicksand pits, dead trees and piles of rock are cleared away before tying to get them. There are four episodes, each culminating with a match-three mini game. Roads to Rome is Game Center enabled.
The graphics are rich and the sound effects are fitting. This is my preferred style of time management - one where strategy plays a real role. Choosing an extra worker over a farm, or using resources to collect gold rather than building bridges can have players restarting levels, which keeps the gameplay (essentially a series of taps) fresh.
The controls are simple, but not as exact as I’d have liked. It takes a very precise tap to get a worker to the required spot, but it’s really a small matter, as once players find their groove, there is something compulsively playable about the game.
Roads of Rome HD is one of the rare games, much less one of this breadth, that I have completed. No challenge is overly daunting, but most do require at least some minimal thought. The game should make lovers of time management strategy games tap happily for hours.