|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: D3 Publisher||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Cerasus Media||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
However, our main issue with this game is its screen sensitivity. Throughout the entire experience, we had to deal with the frustration of watching our gems move in unintended directions. More often than not, pressing on one tile caused a different tile to highlight, and sometimes gems would switch instantly upon contact with the touch screen.
The only way around this was to tap once on the screen and then tap again lightly on the same tile, and usually this would cause the intended tile to finally highlight. But when time is of the essence, this type of issue becomes a make-it or break-it proposition. Ultimately, Cradle of Rome still remains quite playable, but the poor screen sensitivity (and we tested the game on two different DS systems with the same results) is, without a doubt, a source of contention throughout the entire process of building up your empire.
It also doesnt help that Cradle of Rome is so utterly plain in its presentation. Nothing looks ugly per se, but there just isnt much to look at here. There are no cutscenes, no story elements, and there are only a small handful of still images that sit behind puzzles. The building screens are ho-hum, and overall the game feels very low-budget.
The music fares a bit better, though it too lacks variety. Themes are somewhat soothing and seem to fit the games motif of antiquity. Sound effects are sparse, but the game does a fine job of alerting you when power-ups become available.
In spite of its shortcomings, however, Cradle of Rome is still an oddly addictive puzzler. Theres no real city planning, the screen sensitivity wreaks all sorts of havoc during puzzles, and the presentation in strictly bare-bones. Yet, we still had fun with the game. Worth $20? Probably not. Even at a discount, its hard to forgive its problems. However, those folks who love their gem-matching pleasantries probably cant go wrong checking this one out as a weekend rental.
CCC Freelance Writer