Reviewed: March 4, 2011
Released: February 28, 2011
App Store Price: $4.99
Love is in the air and you are about to embark on an adventure with Romance of Rome for the iPhone. Unlike the more traditional adventure titles out there, Romance of Rome is of the hidden object variety. This type of gameplay has become increasingly more popular to the point that I see more hidden object games on the shelf of my local establishments than ever before. Their digital app counterparts have also made them a much more accessible media for the gamer on the go.|
Romance of Rome follows a young ragamuffin that falls for a girl that he happens to save in a forest. It comes to pass that a bunch of important Roman relics are stolen and the Emperor will offer the hand of his daughter to anyone that finds and returns the relics to their rightful place. This is a tale of love, treachery and jeopardy set in the legendary times of the Roman Empire with surprises at every turn.
The gameplay in Romance of Rome is pretty simple and easy to pick up on. While there is still that same familiar hunt for the hotspots pixel hunting that will still plague this genre there is one new improvement that makes things interesting. Players are required to find particular items shown at the bottom of the screen in each of the 7 episodes at 17 different locations over the course of 30 Rome filled levels.
To make things interesting you will often have to complete certain objects like getting a scroll out of a glass container without breaking it. To do this you have to seek out special green items to aid you in your goals. But it gets even better as sometimes these items are not in the same location as the puzzle. Most of the time using these green items will reveal important items to the overall story or the immediate task at hand. Iíve seen this feature in other hidden object games but this is my first hands-on experience with this type of gameplay and I definitely enjoyed it.
For those not particularly skilled at hidden object titles there is a built in hint system that points you in the right direction. I also like that the gameplay is designed to let you know if youíve found everything possible in an area to the point up until you need to find a special item to complete the area. It saves you from racking your brain trying to figure out what you didnít do.
Graphically Romance of Rome features sharp visuals in the form of static images utilizing the iPhone 4ís Retina Display and each location looks really good and is nicely designed. I also like how each location remains the same visually after you complete puzzles, like an egg remaining cracked or secret chambers left open. Romance of Rome also utilizes the iPhoneís Pinch technology to zoom in and out to help you find the less obvious items. The story is presented in a handdrawn comic book strip style which is nicely done and does a good job as a transition from episode to episode. Romance of Rome also features a pleasing score as well as well as pretty decent voice acting.
Romance of Rome offers more than just a good story and visuals it offers a bit of incentive too. For those that want of a bit of a challenge there are over 2 dozen trophies you can earn. These include a trophy for finding 25 items in under a minute which for the untrained eye can be a tricky feat. There is also the ability to make the citizens of Rome love and worship you by helping them and by improving your image and status. For every item and hidden coins that you pick up you earn gold to spend to purchase items. The main menu also changes depending on how far you are in the game and shows you status. Romance of Rome is also Game Center and Facebook supported so you can share you progress and trophies with your friends.
This is only my second real experience with the hidden object adventure on a stand alone basis and I found it to be quite enjoyable. I really liked the puzzle aspect of the gameplay and the clever placing of all the objects. Some of them took me a while to find and that was with a few hints to guide my fingertips. The graphics are well done and the interface uses several of the iPhoneís functions to their fullest. I definitely recommend taking Romance of Rome for the iPhone for a spin. Itís a worthy addition to the App Store and the adventure genre.