Cradle of Rome combines the popular tile-matching puzzle format with an empire-building element; the Roman Empire, of course. It's similar to plenty of other puzzle games we've seen, but the Roman twist gives this puzzle game a fun extra challenge.
To play Cradle of Rome, you must first download the Free Ride Games manager, which will then download the game--along with plenty of others, if you're not paying attention. The price of admission is steep for this free game; advertising appears both in the form of videos that delay and interrupt your game and as Flash-based banner ads that surround it. We've played plenty of other games from Free Ride and have occasionally noticed performance issues that we attributed to advertising, but Cradle of Rome seemed to be especially affected by this; our biggest complaint was that the game's responsiveness was painfully slow. If you can get past that, though, the game does provide an interesting variation on the tile-matching format. You earn resources, such as gold and timber, by matching three or more like tiles in the puzzle. Between levels, you are given the opportunity to purchase sawmills, quarries, foundries, and other cornerstones of civilization. We only played a few levels because the game's slowness was more than we could bear, but these performance problems might not be universal. We recommend Cradle of Rome to any puzzle fans who could use a variation on a classic puzzle format.
Cradle of Rome installs and uninstalls without issues.