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Genre: Simulation
Min OS X: 10.4

Roads Of Rome 2
November 15, 2011 | Steven Marx

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This doesn't look so bad

Mac OS X: 10.4 | CPU: 1.2 GHz Intel | RAM: 512 MB | HD Space: 105 MB

Recent years have seen a veritable explosion in the general category of “casual” games, fostered in large measure by the rise of Flash- and browser-based games. Some of the more popular of these eventually make their way to the desktop in inexpensive form. One popular category of these is time management games, where your job is to collect and build objects within a certain time frame before moving on to the next level. These games tend to feature similar, cartoony graphics, relatively easy and straightforward gameplay, and a knack for getting you repeatedly to play “just one more level.” Roads of Rome 2 from Realore Studios is a solid contender in this category, offering all the basic features in an entertaining, if unsurprising, package.

If you’ve ever played any of these games, the setup will be familiar. If you haven’t, it’s easy enough to jump into. While the game does create a basic story, it is not really essential to the gameplay, it’s more of a frame to make the different games in this genre, well, different. In this one you play as Victorius trying to build roads to the Roman gods to save Caesar who has been poisoned. What this means is that you’ll have four different environments to work through based on some Roman gods, with each environment providing variations on the challenges you face in each level. After clicking through the introductory story you’re ready to get started on your first level.

As is generally the case in these casual games, the game teaches you to play as you go, whether you need it to or not. This is helpful as many levels add new elements and these are pointed out to you as you play so you don’t miss anything. In Roads of Rome 2 you start by collecting just two resources, food and trees, to keep yourself fed and build roads. As you’d expect, this quickly escalates to building sawmills and farms, quarries for stone, mines for gold, storehouses, smithies, and so on. Each level starts with a screen telling you what you have to accomplish to move on, with each level including building a road. You’ll quickly get the hang of the basics, and as you level up, and have access to more workers, you’ll start having to strategize more on what to build and collect first, what upgrades you’re going to need early, and the best way to accomplish the goals in the time provided. As you would expect there is a certain similarity to the levels, but enough changes and variety to keep things from getting boring.

Gameplay essentially involves clicking. You click where you want your workers to go, whether it’s on a resource, an obstacle, a building site, or something to collect. As long as you have a worker available, one will automatically go where you clicked; if you don’t have a worker available, or enough resources to do what you want, you’ll be told. You start with one worker and are eventually able to upgrade your camp with up to four. You gradually get the ability to upgrade other buildings as well, and again this is where some of the strategy comes in, deciding what needs upgrading first on any particular level.

If you accomplish you tasks within a certain amount of time you achieve “expert” status on that level, and part of a monument will be chiseled out on the end level screen; achieve expert level on all levels within an environment and the whole monument is uncovered. You have additional time on each level to finish, but to unlock the very final level of the game you need to achieve expert on all levels. Aside from making it through all the levels and saving Caesar, that final level is all there is to aim for in the game, so the game offers little in the way of replay value. You can also play the game without time limits, which might be good for younger (or maybe older) players or those who have trouble with lots of fast clicking.


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