Return to ancient Rome where you must once again rebuild one of the greatest civilizations known to man
Game – Jewel Master Cradle of Rome 2 Developer/Publisher - Cerasus Media / Rising Star Games Version – 3DS Time Spent Playing – 6 hours Price - $29.99 Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Rising Star Games
Return to ancient Rome where you must once again rebuild one of the greatest civilizations known to man. From the humble farmstead to the spectacular Coliseum, you must gather enough gold and materials to return Rome to its former glory and ascend to the position of Cesar.
Gameplay and Controls
Alright, so at its core the game is about swapping and matching tiles in order to clear the board of all blue tiles. Okay, sounds good. Of course, there is more here than just that. In order to rebuild Rome you must go through a timeline across 7 different epochs. You will do this by purchasing and building new structures. Some of these structures include a well, a village, a quarry and a thermal bath. In order to construct these structures, you must amass 3 things - food, resources, and gold. Once you have amassed enough of each, you can purchase new structures, thus unlocking a new level. You will find yourself playing through levels multiple times in order to build up enough to move onto the next stage. Every stage has a set amount of blue tiles and it's your goal to clear these tiles out by matching 3 tiles. If one or more of the tiles you matched are blue, they will be destroyed. The tiles flow from the top down, so as you destroy tiles, the remaining tiles flow down to fill the space and more tiles pour in from the top. But wait, it doesn't stop there. See, if you aren't dealing with blue tiles, then you're dealing with green tiles. Once a green tile has been destroyed, it changes to blue, oh joy! If that wasn't enough, you're going to be faced with chained tiles. Chained tiles need to be matched against twice, once to break the chain and once to destroy the tile. Chained tiles are quite the pain as they stop the flow of tiles in their path. Oh and to top it all off, you're racing against the clock. Yes, I was forced to restart several levels, multiple times. Have fun!
Depending on the level and the generated tiles, you can and will receive bonuses. For instance, the latest level I am on is the quarry. One of the tile types in this level is a rock. So for every rock tile I remove, I receive 7 unites of resources as bonus. This concepts adds an extra layer of challenge, because not only will you be focused on removing the blue tiles to beat the level, you'll also be concentrating on racking up as many bonuses as you can. To help you out in each level are certain power-ups. These power-ups are unlocked as you progress through the game and must be charged before use. Charging them is just a matter of matching tiles and eventually you will have a fully charged power-up to use. As an example, one power-up is a hammer which can destroy a tile, or break the chains off a tile. Currently, my favorite is the bomb, which destroys 9 tiles at once. This has proven to be quite useful in tough situations. At the end of each level you will be shown your tally of food, resources and gold. Plus, you also receive a time bonus for however much time is left on the clock.
This is the game in its entirety, and it is spread out across 100 levels of varying difficulty. You'll definitely be challenged and have a good time while your at it. Oh and to top it all off, there are two additional modes: Tourney and Blitz. Tourney mode allows you to revisit any of the past levels you have completed and try to beat them again in a set amount of time to earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal. The Blitz mode is locked until completing the game, so yeah, I don't know what it does, sorry!
Controlling the game is incredibly easy and simple. You will tap and drag the tile you want to swap to an adjacent tile, that's it. If you want to use a power-up, tap and drag the icon onto the game board and it will be used automatically. That's it. See, I told you it was simple.
Visuals and Sound
The visuals are pretty good, the artwork for every tile is decent and the 3d effect, while unnecessary, looks nice too. For the most part, the top screen will be static, until you purchase a new structure. At this point you will see a brief 3D animation of workers building the new structure. I think the sound effects and the music are both decent. I can still hear the main theme in my head now and it's not annoying, so that's probably a good sign. The sound effects used when clearing tiles off the board or using power-ups are ones you will hear often, and I never got tired of them. Overall. the visuals and sounds were about average.
Concluding Overall Impressions
For a match 3 tile swapping puzzle game, Jewel Master Cradle of Rome 2 does everything right with 100 levels of varying difficulty, power-ups, mini-games, multiple modes, trophies, unlockables, decent artwork and more. Did I mention it's loaded with content, because it is. So, if you're a fan of tile swapping puzzle games and you're looking for a challenging and fun time sink, then I suggest you add Jewel Master Cradle of Rome 2 to your library.
Final Score: 4 out of 5
Our thanks to 'JHardin1112' for another gaming review for our loyal MaxConsole readers!
Game was developed in Ukraine. I was gameplay programmer, who was working on 1st DS version of this game, this newer 3DS version still includes a lot of my code
Thank you for positive review, it's nice to hear some independent opinion (personally I don't think this game is that great, just an ordinary casual one with overrated 3D effects). Anyway "Cradle of X" franchise is most successful one, developed for DS in my previous company.