Ancient Battle: Rome is a turn-based strategy game that puts players right in the middle of Caesar's successful campaign in Gaul. A Roman based war adventure should be a definite score for Hunted Cow, since it's truly hard to make any kind of Caesar expedition a boring experience. So is this Ancient Battle a fierce enough title to download?
Even for initiates to the genre, turn-based titles are relatively easy to understand. With tablet gaming, all it usually takes is a simple tap on one of your units and a second touch on an empty block to move your troops. The challenge mainly lies in one's strategy. Are you an emboldened warrior who will charge right into the fray? Maybe you're an even minded statistician, preferring to outnumber your opponent and beat them to submission. Ancient Battle: Rome enables you to figure out your own tactical aesthetic, and during your breaks it will also throw down a bit of a historical lesson.
Each stage of a campaign will offer you a couple of challenges which, if you don't meet, results in a loss. If you plan on blindly hitting that breach with your warriors, archers, and legionnaires, that may not work if the goal is to keep 50% of your troops alive by the end of the battle. Since I'm the type of general who incurs heavy losses to reach that proverbial mountain, I've had to change my thought process and flank the living heck out my enemies. My troops below are marked in blue, and thanks to thinking before I strike, these hapless soldiers are down to their final breaths.
If Ancient Battle: Rome was just about cornering your adversaries, monotony would set in by the first hour. Having a wide array of fighters, especially long range troops, keeps the game interesting, but the ultimate coup is the unpredictability of the campaigns. During an early section, it's your job to take out your enemy's camps while not losing 80% of your men during battle. Although I had lost most of my warriors on the field, I still had a few riders left to complete the mission. Since their troops outnumbered mine, the only alternative was to destroy their camps before they invaded my own territory. Thanks to a few evasive maneuvers, victory was mine.
If you're expecting a visual spectacle filled with flashy intros or over the top scenarios, then Ancient Battle: Rome's understated nature may keep you at arm's length. It's a very meat and potatoes experience, and it delivers everything one can expect from a strategy title. The $1.99 price tag is also a pretty solid bargain, as it should take you a good several hours to wade through the campaigns. There are also extra campaigns available for purchase if you're knee deep into Roman warfare, but even if you don't want to spend more than a couple of bucks, you'll still have a ton of ground to cover.
Ancient Battle: Rome isn't going to set the world on fire anytime soon, but it checks all the boxes as a solid turn-based experience. Rome wasn't built in a day, and with the hours I've invested on this iOS wargame, it may take a couple of weeks before the Gallic Wars are completed. My battle days are far from over, and I plan to conquer each campaign one troop at a time. Caesar will just have to wait.