Irritations, cheap tricks and other stories

[Post New]by DamageBF on Mar 20, 13 10:10 AM
I know there are lots of fans on this forum but I'm finding it really hard not to get seriously irritated by this game.

I've expert-completed "Northern Tale" and all three "My Kingdom..." games (hideous minigames included) so I'm hardly new to the genre, but I find "Roads of Rome" goes out of its way to make it nigh on impossible to even come close to their "Expert" times.

Yes, I know others have "experted" through the whole game, but just look at the walkthroughs on here, you have to do precisely the right actions in precisely the right order to have a hope in hell. There's no consistency to the levels, one requires loads of gold, another stone, so you can't develop a general strategy. You're invariably forced to memorize the requirements of each level to have a chance at beating the time, or even the level at all.

Meanwhile, the game delights in knocking down buildings moments after you've built them, or putting essential resources on an island only accessible by a slow one-way boat, which feels like a cheap trick to artificially increase the difficulty.

In similar games I had to replay some of the trickier levels at most two or three times to get "gold". The level-by-level difficulty in those tended to stem from a lack of a particular resource - no sawmill, no storehouse, forcing you to be more careful about resource use. In RoR you get loads of resources but extortionate costs for every action and no obvious feel for what you actually need, or don't.

After that it's back to learning the precise order that every step must be performed, for every level. That's not exactly fun, for me anyway.

I've appreciate I've long crossed the TL;DR threshold but I wanted to add my voice to those who found the difficulty balance a little.. uneven. Perhaps the sequels will be better, but having to retry ten levels a dozen times each just to get the proper end-game (and some sense of achievement) goes beyond my tolerance for a casual game, which is a shame.

RoR is nicely made, stylish, well-presented, and too much like hard work. Kinda like this post! :-)

Edited on 03/20/2013 at 10:13:31 AM PST

1,657 Posts

Re:Irritations, cheap tricks and other stories

[Post New]by ricoblade on Mar 21, 13 11:03 AM

a lot of what you describe makes the RoR games top notch IMHO and there really are only a few levels that you have to replay multiple times to get expert.

Against what you say there is a general strategy of building Sawmill, Farm, Gold Mine and Quarry then Storehouse and upgrading buildings in that order. This works for most levels.


Re:Irritations, cheap tricks and other stories

[Post New]by DamageBF on Mar 25, 13 12:04 PM
For the record, the second game is far better balanced, as well as being more interesting thanks to some new game mechanics, and an absence of annoying minigames. Makes a welcome change from the fairly identical levels of the original.

I managed to "expert" every level in RoR2, and only had to replay two or three of them (plus the very last one) to get the required time. In the original game I conceded "defeat" and completed the game with at least 9 levels that didn't make expert.

Given that the same techniques that work in some levels completely fail in others (which brings us back to the whole 'memorizing the level' thing I still think is required) I don't see much fun in going back and trying to 100% it.

With bonuses that last about ten seconds, buildings that somehow always fall down moments after you upgrade them, and an excess of boats, balloons and bears, I remain convinced that the first title is less a game and more a CIA induction technique... Or a huge test of patience and tolerance, anyway.

Right, time to give RoR3 a whirl.


Re:Irritations, cheap tricks and other stories

[Post New]by DamageBF on Apr 1, 13 1:40 AM
And finally, Roads of Rome 3, which pretty much falls slap bang between the first two games in terms of irritation value.

New cheap tricks involve adding the Cobbler mechanism to speed up your workers, and then halving their normal movement speed from the previous games to compensate.

You also now have to do almost every task twice, thanks to the fire mechanic, which also means most levels start with a long wait for the pumping station to produce, which rather kills the pace.

And instead of having buildings which improve your workers' overall abilities, they just produce the same short-lived bonuses instead. Most levels you're lucky to have time to build even one of the three bonus structures, let alone upgrade them.

There's an oddity here too, newly-upgraded buildings take three times as long to produce resources and bonuses the first time. After that they produce normally.

Combine that with a rehash of levels (and music) lifted from the first two games and the end result isn't exactly sparkling.

I made it through the first three chapters with "expert" times on all the levels. The final 10 levels, however, were something else. Retrying 4-2 about a dozen times (like others on the RoR3 forums) and missing the expert time by anywhere from 5 seconds to 2 minutes despite not a single wasted click left me utterly disheartened. I decided to come back to that level after finishing the game, only to fail in similar fashion on all but one of the levels that followed.

One particular level I can say with certainty my execution was flawless, sometimes you get into a rhythm and I had everything moving and flowing like clockwork, not a wasted movement or unnecessary resource collected. And yet I missed the expert time by 15 seconds. The simple fact is that I'll never be able to play that level as well on any number of retries, and still it wasn't enough.

So there you go. RoR 1 was an exercise in frustration, RoR2 was actually well-balanced and the most interesting of the three, and RoR3 added a load of new mechanics which somehow managed to make things even more irritating.

Ah well. I just wish **** would make Northern Tale 2, now that was a game with style, a realistic challenge level, and lots of nice character and humour too. And at least MKFTP had a flying cat in a sea captain's hat.

P.S. Apparently the name of the well-known games developer for Northern Tale (sold elsewhere on this site) is censored on this forum. What on earth?

Edited on 04/01/2013 at 2:13:45 AM PST

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