Archive for January, 2014

Roads of Rome III

Posted: January 8, 2014 in 3.5 Hearts, Uncategorized

Roads of Rome III is a time management game where you play a general in the Roman army. Your task is to repair the infastructure of Rome so the barbarians hordes descending on the Empire can be defeated.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.50.24 PMMy first thought as I was going through the opening story was that it was a bit more than the game really needed. I mean, context is great and all, but do I really need to know that the general’s wife is pregnant and his motivation for saving Rome is that he’s doing it for his unborn child? What about the glory of Rome? Senatus Populusque Romanus. Other than that, I liked the intro. The art for it was absolutely fantastic.

The game itself is controlled entirely with the mouse. There’s no need to scroll around the screen to see resources and objectives, which made me extremely happy since after the first level there are time limits. I tend to find that single player games where you need to move all over the map add needless difficulty unless the level timer really accounts for that. There are 7 different resources involved in the game. What you say? You only see 5 on the bar. Well, the 6th is your workers and the 7th is time. You start each level with a single worker and as the game progresses, it lets you upgrade your base camp more and more to get more workers. An hour in, I had 3 workers going at the same time. Each level has a set of goals that need to be achieved. These always include rebuilding the roads and generally include rebuilding other pieces of the infrastructure around but might involve gathering special resources or purifying a water source.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 6.08.22 PMThe graphics in the game itself are simple, but well animated. I found them to be kind of adorable. One thing I rather liked is that periodically things in the terrain that might not look interactable but are will shimmer white to draw attention to them, especially if they are currently reachable. I also like the the mouse will have a little green check mark if you have a worker available but there’s a red X instead if you don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.55.15 PMThere are four different modes of play: hard, normal, easy and relaxed. I played through the entire 1 hour trial on normal and I have to say, it felt too easy. I played through a good chunk of levels before I ran out of time, only playing two twice to make sure I got expert times on all of them. If I didn’t manage an expert time the first play through, it was extremely easy to figure out how to optimize my approach for the next play through. Hopefully the difficulty increases after the first hour of play, but that sample leads me to believe that the normal difficulty is a bit too easy.

Overall, I enjoyed Roads of Rome III, but there were a few things I feel like could have been improved. With the story so involved in the beginning, I was sad that I didn’t hear any more, though that could have just been because the trial was only an hour long. I award Roads of Rome III a 3.5 out of a 5 hearts.

3.5 HeartsIf you would like to play Roads of Rome III, you can find it here on Big Fish Games. There is a 1 hour free trial or you can buy the full game for $9.99.




Papa’s Wingeria

Posted: January 6, 2014 in 4 Hearts
Tags: , ,

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Papa’s Wingeria is a time management based strategy game out of Flipline Studios, the makers of the whole Papa Louie line of games. The basic concept of each of these games is roughly the same. You play the only employee at one of Papa’s many restaurants, managing the register, food prep and serving the customers all at once. And these customers are picky about their food. On top of that, you have to save up from your meager tips and once a week pay to get upgrades for the store, like timers or a doorbell.

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Each day, an increasing amount of customers arrives and the amount of choices they have for their food also increases, while a day always stays the same amount of time. Early in the game, you don’t really have to manage your time but you have to stay on top of the cooking food to not burn it and watch for new customers actively. As more and more customers arrive, time becomes much more important, but hopefully you will have picked up things like the fryer alarms and the doorbell so you can know what’s going on while on other screens.

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The graphics are simple, though the building phase is very well made and the food goes exactly where you put it. While this is much more evident in the other Papa Louie games, especially Papa’s Burgeria, it still holds true here. And positioning during the build phase is very important for your final score. One of the things I really appreciated while playing is that the sauces for the wings are each a very distinct color which makes it possible to sauce the wings without having to manipulate the orders too much and thus waste time.

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Scoring is based whether or not the order is correct, how well the wings were sauced, how well it was plated and how long the customer had to wait. This does mean that the wait score can be extremely difficult to achieve as you get further in the game and things get more complex. There are also special customers called Closers who arrive at the end of each day and they score more harshly than the other customers.

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Between each day, there are rounds of optional mini-games based on the other Papa Louie games. These give chances to win extra money, items for the shop or clothing for your avatar. The item rewarded by the mini-game depends on which Papa Louie game it was based on and they don’t seem to reward store upgrades, just decorations. Though decorations can improve your waiting score. You earn the tickets to play the mini-games by doing a good job in the main game.

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Overall, I very much enjoyed playing Papa’s Wingeria, though I will say that if you don’t enjoy stress, this isn’t the game for you. Time management games are an exercise in frustration. The graphics fit the feel of the game, the difficulty ramps up nicely and the mini-games are a nice touch to change the flow of the game. I also appreciate that there is a pause button during the main game. I award Papa’s Wingeria 4 out of 5 hearts.

4/5 Hearts

If you’d like to play Papa’s Wingeria, you can find it here on Kongregate.