TL:DR - Its too expensive for what you get. Its not terrible, in fact the first hour or so is fun, but definitely not worth the price. Especially once you realize that when you've seen the two types of track youve pretty much seen everything the game has to offer.
So I love ancient Rome. An ancient Rome chariot racing game is an awesome idea. It reminds me of the chariot race missions in Shadow of Rome. (A really really fun PS2 game. If you are a fan of gladiator games, get it! And enjoy cutting people's arms off, beating them with it, then tossing it into the crowd..) But this review isnt about Shadow of Rome. Its about Qvadriga. Which unfortunately, is no where near as cool as the concept could be.
Now, I wouldnt have as much of a problem with it if it wasn't 20 freakin' dollars. So what do you get for 20 dollars? A tiny-graphic boring game. I normally dont really care about graphics if the gameplay is engrossing, but this game unfortunately lacks that quality, so all you keep on thinking were damn, this would be cool if it actually had decent images of the action.
So a basic rundown. You start, and pick your faction. Different factions have different abilities that are explained in tooltips. Some are stronger, faster, can handle their chariots better. Then a map appears with different regions. There are many different regions, each with different tracks in them. Lots of tracks to run on with many random events is a giant plus, except for one issue which shall be explained later.
When you start, you can pick one region, and each region has 1 track unlocked. Then a screen where you can look at your charioteers, get vet services, repairs and healing, and upgrade your horses and chariots. Heres the kicker. Once you pick your first track, you cannot leave it until you get your "fame" up enough from racing. So if you pick a hard as hell track (as I did my first try), youre pretty much stuck. Pick which charioteer you want to race with, and you are off.
The graphics are really simple, a top down view of chariots on a track. Looks like tiny mobile game graphics. There are two modes, one where the action stops every 10 seconds to give a command, one where it doesnt but you still only are give a command every so often. The commands are accelerate (to a certain level, then you can't), brake, crash right/left (slam your chariot into an opponent a la ben hur), lacerate (whip an opponent), small/medium/large move left or right (each one moves you farther across the lanes), watch for attacks (basically a block) and control (basically do nothing, but it makes your control go up), and finally whip (allows your horses to get a burst of speed, but you can hurt them).
There are many different tracks to race on, some narrow, some larger. Each track has a brief paragraph about its history. Every time you race there are slighty different variables on the track, described in a simple sentence before the race. Theres lots of these, both bad and good and they provide some variety.
Youre going to need it. This game is grindy as hell.
See, you get money for racing, more if you win. You use this money to buy better guys, horses and chariots. You also need to pay for vet and repairs from racing damage. Each wheel, horse, and charioteer has a life bar. Take too much damage, and a horse dies, leaving you to pull with 3. Go too fast, and your wheel gets damaged. Go too fast around a corner and you can topple your chariot, leaving your guy to be dragged by his horses. You then have the option of running (and the other guys can hit you, or hanging on till youre in a safe spot to run.
There are stats, represented by icons. The different stats ccombine to make the upgrades (say a horse with two speed icons vs a horse with 1 speed and 1 endurance - which one do you want.. The two speed will be faster but weaker than the 1 speed 1 endurance)
But theres only 6 guy types (stats: skill - how good of a driver you are, and constitution - how much damage you can take) and 9 horse types (stats: speed - top speed, and endurance - same as con but for the horse) and 9 chariot types( stats: acceleration and size, again same as con but for the chariot). And they are expensive as hell.
It also costs money to travel from track to track, and you can't race certain tracks till you get more famous. So you will probably doing the same race over and over just to get enough cash to go somewhere else.
Theres two types of track, a tight oval type and a longer wider type. Except for this, there is absolutely nothing to differentiate them.
A $20 game this is not. It can be fun for a little bit, and if it had some kind of multiplayer it'd be pretty fun. But as it is, its just boring after the first hour or so.