Friends, Romans, countryfolk… lend me your eyes. Cradle of Rome swallowed up a lot of my time for weeks as I matched my way to level 100. When I reached the 100th level, I had one citizen that I left to earn and could never get that guy. I let it go and accepted the Roman journey more than satisfied and delighted me.
Last year, I reported Cradle of Rome 2 was on its way. And many others kept asking when it was hitting the streets. As eager as I wanted to go on another journey in Rome, I figured Awem wanted to perfect the game before sharing it with the world. Sometimes deadlines need missing for quality’s sake.
And you might expect, Cradle of Rome 2 was worth the wait. After all, it was enough time to memorize Marc Antony’s speech from Julius Caesar. No excuses for not knowing it by memory. Hey, I memorized it in 10th grade. Funny thing about memorized poems and speeches, I end up like the author, play or whatever they’re from. Anyhoo… the game!
Adventure Mode — my favorite mode by far — of the match three game opens with the miracle story of two brothers and asks you to restore Rome’s glory by buying blueprints and then constructing the building. This makes way for the tie in with the mini-games to give them a little purpose. First, you start playing level 1 and make matches until you break all of the blue tiles. You’ll be done within 30 seconds with just four blue tiles.
As you make matches, you earn units of food, gold and supplies. Every blueprint costs so much food, gold and supplies. Once you have enough for a blueprint, you can buy it after successfully completing the mini game behind it. Mini games include jigsaw puzzles and finding matching pairs. While these are common mini games, it’s a little break from the matching grind. Completed jigsaw puzzles reveal a building blueprint — so that’s a great tie in with the story.
After completing a building, you can earn a citizen. Every citizen comes with a task you need to complete during the matching to win the citizen. It may be making as simple as matching five tiles to as challenging as making 10 moves in 10 seconds. Adding citizens also gives you an advantage in the game. One citizen gives you 500 extra units of gold in every new level. Another fills up a bonus faster. These bonuses can make or break a level for you depending on your strategy. Bonuses gives you more time, destroy all of the same type of tile, break one tile and so on.
Not only do you win trophies for every citizen, but also for special events such as completing five levels without a time warning and playing the whole game without losing a life.
New in Cradle of Rome 2 are the nasty skulls. When you match three skulls, it puts three blue tiles back on the board. Yeah, like I said, nasty things. As annoying as they are, they increased the game’s challenge. At least, they don’t show up in back to back levels. So you do get a break. Sort of. When not facing skulls, you may face narrow rows or columns that make it hard to break the tiles in them.
Two other modes include Tourney and Blitz. You unlock Tourney after scoring 500,000 points. Blitz stays locked until you’ve finished all 100 levels. These modes rely heavily on the clock, which turns me into a panicky gal. I prefer the clock in Adventure Mode. In Tourney, you have to break all the tiles in the level as fast as you can. The faster you finish the level, the higher your award.
Let’s say on Level 1, you need to complete the level within 10 seconds to get the gold medal, 15 seconds to get silver, 20 seconds to get bronze or end up with nothing. Seeing the little medal flash from gold to silver to bronze to zilch drove me batty. Even putting my hand over that area of the screen — it was HARD to even get a bronze medal in spite of all the tips and tricks I deployed.
I can tolerate Blitz more than Tourney. This one resembles what you may know as Endless Mode in other games. As long as you keep making matches, the clock slows down. Keep playing levels until the clock runs out. Like I said, I’m jumpy when it comes to heavier timed games, but those who love it will enjoy getting more out of the game.
Cradle of Rome 2. Worth. It.
Download and try Cradle of Rome 2. (Here’s the Mac version.)
FCC warning: The reviewer had a small role in the development of the game and received a copy of the game from the company, which in now way influences whether the game review is good, bad, reviewed or mentioned.