Caesary is essentially Evony in a new dress. It features the core OSG mechanics with great graphics, but suffers from a crowded UI and some annoying balance issues.
As far as I can tell, Caesary was developed in Korea and then exported to a number of game portals, including Aeria Games and Kongregate. Both versions are practically identical and run inside the gaming portal, so you’ll need either an Aeria Games account or a Kongregate account. Having these games integrated into the portals means a few things. If you’re already playing other games on either site then you don’t need to remember a new username and password, which is always nice. On the downside, both portals run ads next to the game as well as their own links, which just adds to an already messy UI (which I will rant about soon). Both version are of coures free-to-play, but you can only purchase in-game currency with in-portal currency. This makes for a very complicated transaction!
Step 1: use actual money to purchase Aeria Points or Kreds
Step 2: use Aeria Points or Kreds to purchase Caesary Gold
setp 3: use Caesary Gold to purchase your desired Ceasary Item
Step 4: apply item to receive affect (speed up a construction or whatever)
Again, if you already have an account on either portal this might be a nice feautre, since you can use the same in-portal currency across a number of different games. But for the rest of us… oi.
As for the game itself. As mentioned, it’s basically Evony. You’ll gradually build a Roman village. You’ll need to build a lot of cottages to increase your population which is used to create jobs which produce Crops, Lumber, Stone, and Iron. You also have to balance your tax rate, which produces Sesterces (coins) but also decreases allegiance. There’s a strong emphasis on the Hero, which every army needs, there’s a strong quest system, which I still dislike, and the game constantly… encourages you to spend money.
There are a few changes: “appease criticism and levy on resources” has been moved from the Palace (or “Rectoarate” in Ceasary) to a new building called the Temple. The Temple is actually a cool building that lets you pick one of several dieties to worship, and each one gives you a different affect. “Juno” increases your city’s population cap by a percentage (based on the level of the Temple), another diety increases your attack, etc. Allowing the player to only have one of these at a time is a great new strategic element.
I found the pace of poduction to be off balance. My empire is usually very much lacking in Sesterces but drowning in everything else. I simply can’t build fast enough to properly spend all my Crops, Iron, etc. Since most resouces sell for about .02 Sesterces in the marketplace I’m led to believe this is a game-wide problem. Also, it seems each building level has a number of prerequisites that restricts a lot of freedom when choosing what to upgrade next. For example, to upgrade your Rectorate (Palace) to level 6 you need a Wall of level 4, which requires a level 4 Cottage or something of the sort.
The UI is also a mess. There’s just too much information bombarding the player at any given time, especially when there’s a sub-window open. To Ceasary’s credit, at least the sub-windows don’t cover up any important information like they do in Evony. On the other hand, the graphics and art are fantastic. There are little animations of people working, and the passing clouds even cast shadows.
Overall, Caesary certainly provides an engaging game experience, but there are definitely stronger OSG’s already on the market. However, most of the game’s shortcoming seem to stem from the use of Evony’s base code as a foundation. Caesary’s unique additions (most notably the graphics and the Temple) are definitely a step in the right direction. It would be interesting to see what game the developer could create if they started from scratch.