Published on September 21st, 2013 | by Ghost_1170
Battle Dragons Review
Summary: Battle Dragons holds itself up as a prime example of well paced mobile gameplay. A freemium model allows for gaining the upper hand quickly, but regular steady play will also grant great rewards as well.
Spacetime Games has had multiple mobile hits with its Legends series of games ranging from the gothic Dark Legends to the light hearted yet verbose Arcane Legends. In Battle Dragons, the studio continues the success it has but tries it with a new genre rather than the tried and true formula they had been using.
Battle Dragons is a mini real time strategy like mobile game available on Android and recently ported to iOS. The premise is that you are in charge of an emerging dragon army and have to maintain your base and army to attack and expand. Turrets, in the form of dragon towers, can be placed on your territory and protects your resources as well as your command center, or dojo. Units are also smaller dragons and are based on common RTS units, such as melee fighters and fireball slinging ranged units. Everything is presented in a cartoonish and colorful palette that will attract both younger generations and old school gamers. After a few hours, players will begin to recognize that the gameplay goes deeper than just making a fancy base and rushing your opponents.
Starting off, players need to learn how to establish the base of operations and the friendly dragon sage goes on a step-by-step tutorial in how and what each thing does, ranging from the sheep corrals to the gold hoard. Resources consist of gold and sheep, both of which are used to purchase and upgrade your structures. With each sheep barn and gold mine you erect, you need to have a subsequent structure to hold your resources. Guarding your training centers and your dojo is key to your victory and all of this is done through a simplistic tower defense interface, where buildings are created using builder units and placed strategically in your area. To defend your structures, a variety of different dragons can be used, from traditional fire breathing dragons to acid and lighting spewing beasts. Upon setting these up, the player should set up barricades, such as walls, to funnel opposing army troops into range of your defenses. When attacking, players will also use a different variety of troops. Melee focused Brawlers and Crushers will go in and cause as much damage as possible while Slingers attack from the outer edges, all playing into the light RTS mechanics that might even feel to some as the opposite of tower defense.
As with most mobile games these days, the economy of Battle Dragons is a freemium model and while all things can be unlocked over time, some of the amounts of gold or sheep may seem daunting to the casual user. However, pearls are used to speed building and training up and can also be used to purchase more resources. You are given a limited number of pearls to begin with and should be used wisely as to not waste them. More can be purchased via an in-app transaction and are fairly priced.
The single player campaign wisely chooses to not rely too heavily on story, rather, the campaign uses each level and new area as a stage to introduce the player to new type of units. All areas mention a different tribe and each of those tribes are made primarily of one type of dragon. Knowing this, players should prepare their troops accordingly. There are also PvP and Spar modes to hone your skills against rival players. At this point, the freemium aspect is very evident, as players willing to pay for pearls will be able to have strong, high level dragon towers and use of Devastator units without penalty. This leaves the people who don’t want to pay or play extensively very unprepared for what they may face and can cause people to throw money at the game in the hopes of being victorious. While this may not detract from the experience for people used to the free-to-play model, some may take this as a reason to stop playing altogether.
Aesthetically, the game uses vibrant colors and if you have a Retina display, the play field is nothing but eye candy. Effect and particles add to the visual appeal and are satisfying on small screens and large screens alike. The mood of the music is Oriental in nature, the game thematically fits the sound. Touch controls never seem to be a hassle, even when used on older iOS devices. The game does have to be online for it to work, so should you lose connectivity during a match or while harvesting resources, be prepared to wait until you can get your connection back.
Overall, Battle Dragons does the mobile world justice by bringing a fun game with addictive mechanics to iOS. Integrating with Game Center allows you to play with friends, work in tribes, and help each other succeed. The game plays smoothly and looks wonderful on every range of iOS devices. Battle Dragons holds itself up as a prime example of well paced mobile game play and should be played by everyone.