Published on June 17th, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Based loosely on the 80’s board game Circus Maximus, Qvadriga brings you the best of Turn Based Racing and Ben Hur in a polished but pricey package.
Slitherine and Turnopia have gone all-out on the historical accuracy in this Roman racing simulator: did you know that the leftmost horse on a chariot is called the Funalis? These guys do, and this is just one example of the detail that’s gone into Qvadriga. In fact, it’s a disservice to the devs when you naturally compare this game to TBR Lab’s Turn Based Racing. Although the core mechanic is similar, Qvadriga really transports you to a fully-developed world, with realistic upgrades and factions that influence play. There’s also a dynamic mode where you punch in orders on the fly, and this really makes for a more exciting race.
As with T.B.R. this is a top-down racing game which pauses occasionally for you to plot your next move. Obviously you can change lanes, speed up, brake, and what have you, but this is where Qvadriga departs into a fully-loaded strategy game. You can whip horses for extra speed, and offset that boost against the long-term damage caused to your beasts. You can lash out at enemy charioteers, or strategically block them so that your churned-up gravel injures the opposition horses. All the strategy comes to nothing if you enter a turn too fast though, as it’s very easy to flip your chariot and end up getting dragged along the track. Hint: you won’t win if that happens.
For a game about sweaty, oiled-up men with whips, Qvadriga is incredible cerebral, and every move needs to be planned carefully due to the aggressively smart AI racers. These guys don’t hold back, and their various factions give them differing boosts. For example, the noble Veneta class have the finest horses from around the empire, but the Russata, who recruit from the Roman military, have the toughest charioteers. It’s incredibly well-balanced and it’s worth trying different factions to find one that matches your play style.
On the whole, Qvadriga is a highly-polished game with a long, tough campaign and the option of one-off races to enjoy too. However, the hefty price tag will understandably put a lot of people off, despite the promise of no IAPs. Yes, there’s a heck of a lot of detail and very fine strategy in Qvadriga, but the core gameplay will eventually get a little repetitive, and some people will wish there’d been a demo version available before they invested.
Summary: It's a thinking person's racing game, so full of historical atmosphere you can smell the horses. However, the serious price-tag and lack of a demo version means a slightly risky purchase for many 'droiders.