Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
While it may technically be a puzzle game, Game of Roads Solo has the appeal of a great minimalist tabletop game. It might take some effort to wrap your head around its new way of thinking, but once you do this long road ends up being a very rewarding path.
Like a tabletop game, Game of Roads is best understood by working your way through a few rounds, but here’s an attempt at an explanation. Players build roads on a field of hexagonal tiles. To start the road they mark a specific tile, which uses one turn. However, each tile has a number on it indicating the amount of hammers it requires before breaking. Players gain hammers by skipping turns and can carry up to three at a time. Furthermore, only tiles with revealed numbers can be converted into road. Each turn, another tile is randomly revealed. Before all their turns are gone, players want to construct a long path of tiles, hopefully one that loops back on itself, and connect it for as many points as possible.
It sounds complicated, and it does require some mental rejiggering, but once the system clicks Game of Roads presents players with some really thoughtful challenges. Players will constantly wrestle over whether or not to push their road further or play it safe, make sure everything stays continuous while amplifying their score by filling in nearby titles. There’s room for risky gambles like praying that the right tile reveals itself in time, which can end in huge rewards or crushing disappointments. The “turns as currency” conceit pays off immensely, as does the difficulty scale that gives more turns but demands exponentially higher scores.
If there’s one problem players might have with Game of Roads Solo, it’s that the graphics are very plain. But one could argue that they’re more austere. The game doesn’t saddle players with flashy distractions. It believes the intelligence and purity of its mechanics will be enough to draw players in, and it’s right to believe that.