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Review: Romance of Rome

At a Glance

This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!

ESRB Rating: E - Everyone
My Rating: Everyone
Genre: Hidden Object
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2009
Review Published On: August 27th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Gamer's Gate, Steam, Steam (Cradle Bundle)

Save System:

Each player has their own profile, where their progress is saved whenever they return to the map of Rome. Since you can do this at any time, you don't need to solve entire puzzles in one session, and can take things at your own pace.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Most of the offensive material in this game comes from the fact that it's based around ancient Rome and its culture. There are some references to magic or mystical objects, and Marcus' status in Rome is determined by what he owns.

Screenshots

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Senator Quint has a task for you

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Searching a ship for treasures

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At the marketplace



Game Overview

Romance of Rome was a bit of a surprise for me. I'd picked up the Cradle Bundle expecting to play some Match 3 games, like Cradle of Rome, but the final game in the bundle was actually a quiet, story driven hidden object game. Of the three games, I'd say that this one is the most fun, as it's the sort of title that you can relax with on a rainy day.

The game's story revolves around a young man named Marcus, who was traveling to Rome in search of adventure. As it turns out, the adventure found him, and now he's mixed up in a plot to take over the Empire. At the heart of this plot are the Imperial Relics, priceless treasures that have been stolen by some dastardly criminal. The Emperor has promised his daughter's hand in marriage to the person that recovers these treasures, and feeling that this was the adventure he had been looking for, Marcus sets out to explore Rome and find the Relics.

Romance of Rome's gameplay also has some unique charms to it. Like most hidden object games, you'll be spending your time going from scene to scene, finding objects from a list. This time around, some of the objects are added to your inventory and can be used to interact with something within a scene. Note that the scene an object is used in isn't always the same scene where you found it; for example, a hammer collected from one scene might be used to smash a pot in another. Because of this, you can move between areas freely rather than completing them in succession.

You'll also earn coins as you sort through the various locations. These can be used in the Marketplace to purchase better clothing, jewelry, and other treasures that will improve Marcus' status among the Romans. This part isn't optional; you'll need to purchase everything in order to finish the chapter and continue the game.

All in all, this is a perfect little game for those who enjoy either hidden object games or casual games in general. It's not a challenging game, but I don't think it was meant to be.

Points of Interest

Everything is tied together with a grand story
While the main story is about gathering the stolen Imperial Relics, you'll also come across a small cast of Roman citizens that could use a little help with things. These conversations at the beginning of various scenes provide you with another reason to rummage through the area, and help make the game's world seem more alive.
Fitting voice acting and soundtrack
Throughout the game you'll be listening to a quiet musical score. Like everything else in this game, it's slow and methodical, providing a relaxed, cozy atmosphere.

Additionally, there's a lot of dialogue in this game, and each line is fully voiced. Unfortunately, it's not always the best delivery, as it sometimes sounds flat, lacks emotion, or just sounds like someone was trying too hard to come across as serious. Still, it's a welcome touch.
Awards (faux achievements)
Although it's on Steam, there aren't any achievements to earn in the usual sense. Instead, you can earn in-game awards, which are basically the same thing. However, as they are tied to your in-game profile, they don't become part of your Steam account. On the plus side, this means that you can earn them again each time you play through the game.
The story is incredibly predictable
This game is clearly aimed at a younger audience. Thus, older children and adults will find that the story's twists and turns are extremely easy to see coming. By the end of the first chapter, you'll probably have all of the "shocking" revelations figured out.
Almost feels like an edutainment title
Romance of Rome is a great relaxing game, but between the unhurried gameplay, quiet soundtrack and young target demographic, the game feels like a well made edutainment title. This might not sit well with gamers that prefer fast, exciting action games, so keep that in mind before you get it for someone else.

Concerns and Issues

There's a little violence in the cutscenes
During the course of the story, various characters end up in trouble. This starts out with a young woman being threatened by a pack of wolves, and later moves to Marcus getting knocked out by a blow to the back of the head. Nobody is permanently harmed, nor is there any blood. Many of the more well known Bible stories get worse than anything you'll find here.
Both Marcus and Titus trespass at one point
Marcus checks just about everywhere for the Imperial Relics, and this includes an illegal visit to the Roman Treasury. As it happens, Titus was also sneaking around in there to recover some of his goods that had been impounded. Both parties agree to keep their visit a secret.
Some magical and mythical references
As this game takes place in ancient Rome, it's not shy about making casual references to Roman deities or mythical concepts. One example is a magical elixir Octavio attempts to make. Another, more direct reference is the fact that you'll need to purchase a hamsa (presented as a good luck charm) at the Marketplace. If you don't buy the item, you can't continue the game.
Material goods, not character, make the man
Roman culture is presented as being very materialistic in this game, as Marcus' status among the citizens is determined by what he wears or owns rather than who he is or what he has done. In effect, this allows him to buy his way to the top.