We’re a bit behind with this one, new Rising Star release Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 on the 3DS has already been out a week or so. This review is only being published now because every time I’ve tried to write something about it, I’ve picked it up and spent ages playing the thing.
That in itself is a pretty good recommendation, like all the best strategy / puzzle games e.g. Tetris, the core premiss of Cradle of Rome 2 is very simple, match three icons of the same type up or down to remove them from the playing area. Once removed they are replaced, and so on.
I will always have a soft spot for Bejeweled, the original was one of the few games you could get for a Mac, way back when the selection of Mac games available was miniscule, compared to now where it is only extremely tiny.
I used to play it whenever I had 10mins to burn, and in COR2, Blitz and Tourney modes are included, enabling a quick fix pick-up-and-play experience should the urge take you (I bet the technician that starts to play Space Invaders in the new Avengers movie has got a version of this game).
In ‘Adventure’ mode you receive resources to build beautiful houses and magnificent palaces. From small beginnings, the idea is to build your holdings into a mini-empire and return the Italian capital to its former splendor. This is for long term gameplay, and while engaging, it does take a while before you start making much progress.
On the downside, the 3D elements of the game are not utilised as much as they could have been, and are restricted to the visuals you don’t really look at in the top screen (a bit like in Rock Band and Guitar Hero you are too focused to notice them properly). On the upside, the refined 3DS hi-res graphics enable you to see the differences in the icons more quickly and clearly.
Their are big similarities between Cradle of Rome 2 and another recent-ish release Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia and the engine underneath the games is probably pretty much identical.
If you already have that one then there is probably no real reason to purchase Cradle of Rome 2 unless you are a real connoisseur, or fan of all things Roman. It would also be good to see a multiplayer / online version in future versions, where you could build a city together with a friend.
It’s a game every self respecting gamer should have in one form or another in their collection, and the portable version is perfect to while away long car journeys, or if you’re a member of S.H.I.E.L.D, killing time before saving the planet.
Publisher: Rising Star
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Number of Players: 1