by Howie Howard
reviewed on PC
Extreme Complexity Isn't Always A Good Thing
Marble Age: Remastered is an empire building, turn-based strategy game where the player is tasked with turning a village into a major city-state that will hopefully control the entire known world. How that is accomplished is entirely up to the gamer. But be aware that AI controlled cities have the exact same goal in life. Anything can happen as you try to make your city grow and thrive. The game may be easy to play but it is not easy to win.
Marble Age takes place mainly in Greece starting in 3000 BC, and playing through to 305 AD. That is 3305 years of constructing buildings, discovering technologies, and getting citizens to come to your city. In addition, players must handle diplomacy in order to make friends with other cities or go to war with them. Along the way, gamers can expect to be invaded by cities and unfriendly enemies. Although diplomacy is important, so too is having a strong army. Historical events happen throughout the game which will require choices to be made. The historical events happen as time advances. These events may either be beneficial for your budding civilization, or can be to your detriment, but there is always a choice still has to be made for each. If an enemy is on your border the choice might be to go to war with them or to pay tribute. Each choice that is made will determine how the citizens feel about it or it could cause an early end to the game. Citizen favor could go up or down and as in the case of paying tribute to an enemy such as Persia or Rome, it could wreck your economy for a while. Going to war when your city is not ready could abruptly end the game if your army - including allies - is not ready or able to defend! Generally, the minor bad effects like paying tribute will continue for a number of turns with 10 seeming to be a common number.
We All Have to Start Someplace
When Marble Age is first started, the player must choose the city they want to use. There are three different cities and they all come with completely different strengths and weaknesses. Other bonuses can be chosen as well. The three are Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. Athens specializes in diplomacy, so they have strong diplomats and government. Corinth's specialty is the ability to generate money and they are experts at trade. We all pretty much know what Sparta is all about from learning about them in history class. Sparta specializes in building strong armies and war fighting so chose carefully. Each city choice comes with an easy, medium, or hard setting; however, the settings really don't seem to effect game difficulty a whole lot. When I first started, I picked Sparta and a warning message popped up informing me that “Playing this Polis is harder and recommended only for more experienced players”. I reconsidered my choice and went back to picked Athens figuring it might be best in order to learn the game. Difficulty level seems to be governed more by city choice rather than the included difficulty levels. One major aspect of the game is in no way controlled by any setting in that historical events in the game can suddenly end your game and there's nothing you can do about it other than to try again.
After a city is chosen the game asks if you want to play a tutorial. After accepting, I began playing the tutorial. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like gameplay was any different than non-tutorial play. There did not appear to be anything that spelled out the basic features for a newbie to just jump right in. Although I chose to play through a tutorial, I only realized that I was playing the tutorial after a message popped up asking if I was ready to advance out of the tutorial. As a result, the tutorial option seems to be somewhat non-existent and on the weak side. Having said that, the game is easy enough to learn without the tutorial. In the beginning the lack of knowing the basics did kind of have me scratching my head though wondering what I should do next.
Hey, It's My Turn Now!
Like Sid Meier's Civilization, each turn early on advances the game 100 years. Time advances a hundred years for several turns and as more tasks need to be done a smaller number of years pass with each click of the next turn button. As the empire matures there will be a lot of things to do and as the end date gets closer, the years that pass with each turn will be lessened accordingly. It probably takes about 300 turns or so in total to get all the way to the end of a game with a win. Having to advance turns is a nice feature because time is not passing while you are thinking about what to do next like in other strategy games of this kind. There's no need for a pause button which makes me think of days gone by.
Marble Age in my opinion is the lite version of games such as Civilization, Age of Empires and others but players should not dismiss it for that reason. It does have a lot to offer. I was big into those titles in the past because I liked the complexity, the detail and figuring out the best actions to take based on what needed to be accomplished. Marble Age is more of a resource gathering title and it lets you pick game difficulty simply by choosing a city. These days I don't have a lot of time to be spending on complex strategy games that might take a month to complete. Marble Age might be less complex in some areas but game play that is based upon historical events is a rather novel approach. Marble Age: Remastered is a game that uses the same historical data model from the original Marble Age with the addition of new content and updated game play. The result is more of a casual experience for gamers who prefer a simpler and less complex strategy model. As a result, the game is easy to get in to and offers a gentle learning curve.
Follow us on Instagram for reviews, news and more.
Easy to start and simple to play. Suitable for all ages.
The tutorial isn't that great, but it is really not needed