PT Guides: Like... Rome: Total War? You'll Love These!

By Nick Vigdahl 03 Feb 2017 0

Rome: Total War is a grand-strategy game that features both turn-based world conquering gameplay and real-time tactical combat between armies. The scope is daring and Rome pulls it off well. The mobile release captured our strategy-game-of-the-year award for 2016. Not a lot of mobile games replicate both the world and battlefield experiences of Rome: Total War, though games like The Battle of Polytopia—our strategy game runner up—and Legends of Callasia get pretty close. We've reviewed many others through the years that can be described as "like Rome" as well. The purpose of this article is to highlight a few more games that we have not reviewed in the past that you may want to check out if you're a fan of Rome: Total War and other similar titles. As always, feel free to call out other recommendations in the comments below.

Autumn Dynasty Warlords (2014) [ Available on: iOS ]

The closest game out there to Rome: Total War is easily Autumn Dynasty Warlords, which also offers the same two levels of gameplay. The turn-based strategy layer has you acting as emperor. You'll construct and upgrade buildings within the cities under your control and as is common with this type of game, there's a balancing act between building markets to encourage trade and military encampments to hire and train troops. You can also build and improve watchtowers to defend each city. When you are ready to expand your great empire you will deploy troops to where they are needed most—either attacking rival warlords or pacifying an unruly public. You'll also have several officers under your command to lead warriors into battle and act as diplomats or spies.

20353 CityAttack adwarlords

When the time comes for war you trade your crown for a general's helm. Invading an enemy province is a multiple step affair and you have to choose how you want to approach it. You can set up a base camp within your foe's territory and, assuming you hold it against their best attempts to drive you off, use it to attack the gates of the province's capital city directly. Alternatively, you can conduct recon and infiltration operations and try to take the enemy by surprise. If you control two or more provinces that neighbor your target you can coordinate attacks from each.

Combat itself happens in real time with a slick paint-a-path method to direct units to where they need to be. You can very easily control precisely what each unit attacks and make smart tactical decisions like softening up fortified positions with ranged attacks and holding cavalry charges until the perfect moment. The controls work very well and battles are action packed without being overwhelming for those of us who prefer turn-based combat.

The bottom line is that Autumn Dynasty Warlords is an awesome game. If you're a fan of Rome: Total War and don't already own it I recommend that it is your very next purchase. For those who want more battles Autumn Dynasty RTS (which is also available on Android) is all about the combat without the turn-based imperial expansion. For the budget conscious, both games go on sale each and every holiday season and usually sometime during the summer months.

Age of Conquest IV (2016) [ Available on: iOS | Android ]

Age of Conquest IV a turn-based strategy game that lands somewhere between Risk and Rome: Total War. You build up an army and march inexorably outward to conquer the world. The depth of options is nowhere near Rome, but it captures the same type of strategic gameplay and satisfaction of victory in much less time. You can generally finish a single-player game in a couple hours. Gameplay is WEGO-based, meaning it uses turns but all sides put in their orders at the same time, rather than you getting a turn and me getting to react to what you just did, and so on. You don't zoom into combat to control units and tactics, the winner is mathematically determined based on size of force, defenses, and a few other factors.

Age of Conquest IV

There are a lot of options for exactly how to play Age of Conquest IV. You pick a map—medieval Europe is the base option—and one of twenty different scenarios. My favorite is 1200 AD because I'm a huge history nerd and love playing various factions of historical significance. There are thirty different factions from which to choose including the Byzantine Empire, Papal States, and Holy Roman Empire if you want to recapture the glory of Rome. There are also five different game objectives from which to choose. Supremacy is the default option and is won by the faction that gains control of 82% of the map. That percentage factors in diplomacy, which spices up strategy a great deal. Allies count as 35% of the goal and protectorates as 100%. It's often simplest to bully enemies into bowing down than conquering them outright. Other scenarios are things like "domination" where you have to conquer everything and even a capture-the-flag mode. There are a ton of other options including five different AI settings, the ability to set teams, and much more. Seriously, you can customize the crap out of this game.

You can play Age of Conquest IV as either a single-player or online multiplayer game. The AI is not bad and puts up a good challenge, especially at the higher difficulty levels. Multiplayer is cross-platform and as real-time or asynchronous as you like. Here again, there is a wealth of setup options including number of players, who can play (free-for-all, private games, clan-only games), and duration of turn (ranging from one minute to 7 days per turn).

Age of Conquest IV is a use case in how to make a free-to-play game. There are no energy bars, blind buys, or annoying videos to sit through. You can play the entire game for free on the medieval game map. In-app purchases unlock additional maps, of which there are many, and other modifications. In addition, the developer really supports this game and I see pretty regular updates. I can't imagine ever purging Age of Conquest IV from my iPad and find myself frequently coming back for a game when I need a war-game fix. If you like Rome: Total War there's really no reason not to give this one a shot.

Nanuleu (2016) [ Available on: iOS | Android ]

At first glance Nanuleu has absolutely nothing in common with a game like Rome: Total War. In it you play as a network of magical trees defending you environment against a dark force (also represented by trees) gathered to expand and consume all in its path. It's when you delve a bit deeper, however, that some similarities begin to show. Nanuleu has resource management—minerals, water, and life—and specific trees that produce each. Your goal is to destroy the dark forces that defile the land by expanding and holding your territory through use of stalwart defenses (protector trees) and an invading army (generated by war trees) to take the fight to the enemy.

nanuleu screenshot 6 

Gameplay in Nanuleu is in real time and plays out a lot like a tower defense title. War trees for both you and your foe spit out warriors at regular intervals. You don't have any control over how the units operate, warriors make their way toward the nearest enemy tree to attack it. Your job is to expand toward your foe and build the right trees in the right places to succeed. Much like in Rome: Total War and similar games there's a strategic balance between building trees to expand and attack versus those that increase your resource pool. You can go strong and fast and hope to end it Zergling style, or build up resources to fuel a stronger surge down the road. Resource granting trees can only be planted at certain spots on the map, further complicating tactics.

The game plays out in a campaign of three phases. First contact, where the blighted forest encroaches on your turf is the initial phase and the easiest. Invasion is like the middle movie or book of an epic trilogy—things aren't going so well and the bad trees have encroached far into your territory. Your job is to push them back. Counterattack is the "Magical Trees Strike Back" episode of the game where you take the fight to their turf. You can play each part of the campaign on different difficulty settings for a total of seven levels.

Fans of the real-time strategy component of Rome: Total War will likely enjoy how Nanuleu plays out. The tactical options are nowhere near as rich—few games are—but there's plenty of challenge to be had. I thought splicing in tower defense mechanics to handle combat was a fun way to go, but how much you like it will depend on how you feel about the genre. I do wish there were more levels to play, but we aren't talking about a ten-dollar game here, so I was plenty satisfied.

Eufloria HD (2012) [ Available on: iOS | Android ]

Let's stick with the flora theme a bit longer to talk about Eufloria HD. Once again, you play as a colony of trees, but these are space trees rather than magical ones. Originally planted by the mysterious Growers the colony has a genetic mandate to reproduce and expand from asteroid to asteroid across the galaxy. Eufloria checks the same command-and-conquer gameplay boxes as Rome: Total War. You build up strength on home asteroids and send your seedlings outward to colonize and expand. You exploit resources on newly acquired asteroids to generate more seedlings . You explore nearby space seeking ripe targets for takeover and send your seedlings streaming across the void to exterminate the diseased greys, an enemy colony who represent an existential threat to your own.

C Eufloria PSN 1280

Like different units in Rome and other human-based games, seedlings come in different types as well. An asteroid's energy, strength, and speed attributes determine what type of seedling gets produced by trees planted there. High energy seedlings are able to more quickly sap an asteroids core and begin a new colony. Strength determines attack power and stronger seedlings take down enemy trees faster. Speedy seedlings, on the other hand, are able to travel quickly between asteroids and zip around enemy defenses.

Eufloria is a full-on real-time strategy game, though it is more casual than many, and has a very Zen approach. The calming music and minimalist graphics create a mesmerizing experience. There are three different speeds at which to play so you can speed up or slow down gameplay depending on the current level of action. There's also a relaxed mode to further enhance a laid-back vibe. Don't let the atmosphere fool you, however, at its core the game operates on a ruthless kill-or-be-killed attitude common in nature. As with Nanuleu, you don't have much direct combat control of your seedlings. You decide how many to send and where, and can call them back or redirect if needed, but each seedling picks its own target and takes care of business.

There's plenty to do in Eufloria, starting off with a story mode which is a hefty twenty-five levels and worth quite a few hours on its own. There's also a "Dark Matter" mode that lets you replay the story with different goals and in a different graphical style. Skirmish levels add still more content and are quick levels that can be replayed repeatedly. Eufloria is the oldest game on this list but holds up quite well and is a good bet for fans of Rome: Total War who are looking for a more casual experience with many of the same gameplay concepts.

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