Price: $6.99    Score: 9/10    Category: Games

Romance of Rome HD may have forever changed our notion of the search and find puzzle game. The story based game doesn’t stop with beautiful scene illustrations, but also delivers a kind of comic book based mission to marry the finest dame in Rome.

You’ll spend most of your time searching for hidden objects amongst G5 Entertainment‘s 17 intricate scenes. Every object you reveal with the tap of your finger puts money in John Marcus’ purse, and certain objects get stored in your toolbox so you can use them later on in the level to open secret trunks or uncover specific objects.

Every level in the game gives you the opportunity to do a favor for a citizen of Rome, an action that raises your status in society. The increase in reputation is reflected by a sliding status bar that sparkles with success, and as your check off found objects your purse gets heavier with money.

Once you’ve found all the objects in each of the level’s locations (there are usually four or five) you can move onto the shopping section. This is where you buy wristbands, capes, estates and more for the game’s protagonist. Although you’re not given the choice as to what you can or can’t purchase, it’s fun to watch John Marcus’ assets grow with every new level.

Although there’s not much more to the game, somehow if feels much more robust than search games like Piktureka and Little Things. Even the adventure component is an improvement over Everest, but when it comes to detailed illustrations the two games are almost head to head. Some might enjoy Everest’s variety of illustration styles and scenes, but overall the two are similarly stunning.

All said and done, Romance of Rome is one of the best search and find puzzlers on the iPad, but it’s not without its faults. The extra tiny items can seem close to ridiculous, but a hint button that shows up with timed frequency helps alleviate this issue. Also, the $6.99 price tag feels a little steep. Fortunately though, G5 Entertainment makes sure you know what you’re getting into with a try before you try version called Romance of Rome HD Free.

The only other improvement I wish we could see in Romance in Rome HD is the option to decide how you want to dress your hero and manage his wealth. Watching the “ragamuffin” that starts the game get clad in capes and gem-like accessories is a delight, but small plot changes depending on whether he saves his money and refuses to pay for new duds for awhile would add yet a replay element to Romance of Rome. Still, the game is brilliant for anyone who likes the genre and we can wait for the different plot lines for the next generation of puzzlers.

Bottom Line: Romance of Rome HD (and Romance of Rome for iPhone) is a robust search puzzle game with beautiful illustrations and a great storyline. It’s a little pricey but an absolute delight.