Roads of Rome 3 feels a bit too familiar
Just how often can Rome be in danger? With Roads of Rome 3, the new release by developer Realore, players might start to feel like Sisyphus doing the same work over and over again. In the vein of its predecessors, the game allows players to rebuild various Roman settlements that have been destroyed by barbarians. The result is a game that’s entertaining but that doesn’t break much new ground.
Roads of Rome 3 features an impressive number of four modes, which let the player choose whether to play the game in relaxed, easy, normal or hard mode. There are 40 levels that can be beaten in normal or expert time, while three bonus levels are only accessible if all previous levels have been finished in expert time. The plot is absolutely neglected – at one point we weren’t even sure if Realore just used exactly the same cut-scenes and story elements as in the predecessor – but this aspect has never been a strong point of the series anyway.
In most levels you have to collect gold, food, stone, water and wood from related buildings or raw sources (such as trees, berry bushes or small gold lodes) which then help you to construct and upgrade other buildings, repair the road, or fulfill a variety of goals. Those include rebuilding a large settlement, collecting crystals and rune stones, or destroying totems from the barbarians. This can be done by assigning tasks to your workers – just click the desired building, resource, or obstacle, and a free worker will automatically take care of it. The main goal however certainly is to rebuild the road by collecting stone or wood, building bridges and removing obstacles.
The most striking new feature is the pumping station, which allows you to collect water – this is extremely important in Roads of Rome 3 because in the beginning of any level the majority of buildings is on fire, and so is the road. While this feels unique in the beginning, some levels without this building and the threat of fires would have been welcome, because as it is most levels require the same and slow start.
The number of buildings and challenges is very satisfying. Apart from the aforementioned pumping station the game offers sawmills, gold mines, quarries, storehouses, boathouses and workshops, just to name a few. They can be upgraded to increase productivity, and even those buildings that produce bonuses play a significant role strategically. Some of those bonuses increase the speed of your workers while another bonus speeds up production of resources. The use of bonuses, the advantages of certain buildings and how you prioritize tasks requires a lot of planning ahead and is one of the strongest points of the game.
The problem with Roads of Rome 3 is that there is always a lot to do, the screen is busy and filled with buildings, obstacles, and other tasks, but most of the time, particularly in the beginning of most levels, you have to wait and the timer keeps running. While this definitely ups the challenge it is quite frustrating and not very fun. Furthermore it is also a pity that the four different worlds are not as distinct and interesting as in Roads of Rome 2. While they look quite differently and slightly differ in obstacles (for example quicksand and snow), the charming details from the predecessor are nowhere to be found.
All in all Roads of Rome 3 without a doubt offers an interesting experience for newcomers to this genre, but players of the first two parts should give the trial a go before buying. While there are some nice twists to the formula of this series and the graphics have been improved again, the gameplay feels quite a bit too familiar right from the beginning. If you still don’t get annoyed by regular waiting times the game definitely delivers what one expects from this series.