The first thing to be said for indie developer Puntigames, is that they really know how to make a fun game. Although Roma Invicta doesn’t necessarily change the real-time strategy genre, it does do it simpler, more efficient, and more thoughtful than other strategy games currently being released this year.
Your Legion Awaits You
Roma Invicta combines action-packed real-time battles with a turn-based strategy on an open playing field with the goal of capturing and conquering ancient Gaul. You make the decision to fight or pillage a city by yourself and hand over your soldiers to the AI and enjoy the spectacle.
The campaign map is nicely handcrafted and you can see some of the rich detail of the ancient Gaul scenery. You also have a lot of different troops at your disposal from legionnaires to artillery to Germanic troops on horseback. Arms and training limit the number of times a unit may fire in battle, so deciding when to hold on and when to let loose a volley of spears, for example, makes for many intense moments.
The battle scenes come in two flavors–harrowing and unlikely. For the most part battles at the start of the game are conveniently fought in open fields while the most impressive kind is the one that tests men and horses, as soldiers march into the withering fire, and the survivors draw their swords or fix their bayonets for blood-soaked combat in close quarters. Arrows and spears pierce both flesh and ground, and with the morale system integrated into the gameplay, wounded soldiers withdraw limping away in hopes of staying alive just long enough to fight another day.
Alexander Meets Total War
The game, while not entirely historically accurate, is above all, about the personal codes of its heroes, both Roman and Gaul during the Gallic Wars as seen through the eyes of the developer. The soldiers created here, are by most accounts, men of honor as they’ve seen enough bloodshed and lost enough friends to look with a jaundiced eye at the leaders who urge them into battle.
Each encounter consists of the opposing sides squaring off against each other as they plan their attacks. You could not ask for more of a contrast between the two sides either; one is trained and self-serving, while the other is merely trying to stay alive. Here the results are not calculated by heavy arms or weaponry, but by sheer will.
Certainly, there’s an allure to seeing this sort of old-fashioned fight onscreen and indeed, within this assortment of pixels, there is the undeniable purpose of the massive set pieces and behemoth battles. From the attire to the weaponry to the details in each level, it’s obvious that Puntigames took great care in trying to recreate each scene as they envisioned it.
For an indie title, Roma Invicta is a really well-developed game and has a lot to offer despite it being on the short side. However, if you’re a fan of games like ‘North and South‘ or the ‘Total War’ series, you’ll definitely get a kick out of Roma Invicta.