Dragon Fantasy: Book One Review

Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Playstation 3 (reviewed) and Playstation Vita (reviewed)

If you tend to avoid iOS games, there’s a good chance you had never heard of Dragon Fantasy prior to it coming to PSN. Dragon Fantasy is a tribute, right down to its namesake, to older Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy (see what they did there?) games. There are a lot of indie developers that cut their teeth on this style of game. That’s with good reason, as the simple mechanics and controls lend themselves to multiple platforms quite well. What does Dragon Fantasy do to separate itself from the pack? Let’s take a look at it.

Dragon Fantasy is broken up into three chapters and an intermission chapter, with the first being the longest and the others varying in shorter lengths. The first three chapters, if played in order, play out while the previous one was occurring and eventually leads into the next. Intermission M occurs once the three chapters have come to a head. While the first chapter is fairly straightforward (bad stuff happens, get stuff to stop bad stuff), the others are a little more ambitious with their story. They’re nothing that will send people to message boards for speculation, but the writing quality definitely improved substantially as the game was added on to.

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The gameplay is very simple and straightforward – fight, magic, item, and run commands are your battle options. You’re likely to be relying on “fight” mostly, which is where a slight problem arises. The times you’ll swing and miss, the same holding true for enemies attacking you, is a bit much. This can drag out even the most simple of random encounter into a rather lengthy affair. An enemy and I went back and forth three times before either of us landed a hit. This hiccup breaks up the otherwise nice pacing and flow of the game and add a level of unnecessary tedium when experience and money grinding becomes necessary in certain spots.

The graphics come in both the original 8-bit style that were part of the original mobile release and the now early 16-bit style that was added for the PSN release. If you grow tired of one mode, you can switch between the two at any point. Doing so also flips the music style, going to a more lo-fi when switched over to the 8-bit mode.

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The PSN release also has a nice option of cloud saving, allowing you to stop playing on your PS3 and switching over your progress to the Vita and vice versa whenever you want.

All in all, Dragon Fantasy is a totally competent game that gets better as it goes on. While the gameplay really doesn’t vary from chapter to chapter, the writing gets sharper and it trims some of the fat found in the first chapter. While it won’t set the world on fire, Dragon Fantasy is a nice addition to your collection if you’re looking for something to scratch the itch for a simple RPG. Well, as long as your attacks connect.

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