Dragon Pals Review

DragDragons are bad ass creatures. They can fly, breathe fire, and are both respected and feared in any world they happen to call home. In most games, taking down a dragon is a true test of one’s mettle; it is a challenge that would undoubtedly reward those who would succeed, and leave those unsuccessful as smoldering piles of ash. But what if these magical, mythical beasts become your allies in battle? How would your foes fare against you and your draconian companions? Dragon Pals, the free-to-play turn-based MMO browser game, does its best to answer that question. Dragon Pals was developed by R2Games. It lets gamers take on the role of the “Child of Fate”, the chosen one who was tasked to save both mankind and the Dragons from The Darkness, and reclaim peace to the world.

The Story so Far…

Set in a world that was created as a refuge for all that is good and right, the gods created Dragons to serve as protectors for the world and all its inhabitants against the Darkness; however, peace and prosperity would not last. The Darkness manned the offensive, having conquered other worlds before setting sights on the one created by the gods. This set forth a war that led the Dragons to seal themselves away in eggs, for fear that their powers would be used for their evil purposes. The Dragons waited in stasis for the “Child of Fate” to arrive and unseal them from their self-imprisonment and rid the world of the impending evil once and for all. The premise of Dragon Pals’ narrative is plain at best. It rehashes the “chosen one” concept that most MMO games carry, and doing so makes it feel like one of those run-of-the-mill adventure games.

Choosing Your Class

Dragon Pals let the gamers choose between three classes, each having different strengths and weaknesses that further define their playstyles: Archer, Warrior or Mage. The Archer can deal a ton of damage in the battlefield at the expense of having low defense, while the Warrior class serve as the tanks in the game, withstanding enemy damage, and dealing a reasonable amount of damage. Finally, the Mage class is the most balanced class in the game. Their damage output and defense are both moderate compared to the previous archetypes. The classes in this game are standard and uninspired, to say the least. One would think that there would be some variety with the classes, especially since dragons are involved, but the selection leaves the game kind of flat in this category. While there is nothing wrong with using the basic archetypes, it would have been nice if they came up with their own set of unique characters.

Can I Be Your “Dragon” Pal?

As the title suggest, one of the game’s features revolves around players having two dragon companions that aid them in their quest to defeat The Darkness. These dragons give certain abilities that bolster the players’ potency in battle. That being said, they can only be acquired by unsealing them. This is done by collecting Dragon Souls from monsters and by unlocking them in the main quests. Also, dragons can be trained and leveled up; doing so gives them additional skills that further aids the player. Not to mention, the dragons look cooler, too, when leveled up.

Ooh.. So Pretty..

The aesthetics of Dragon Pals as a whole are good. The music gives players an immersive experience; it provides each town a unique and eclectic characteristic that separates them from other places in the game. The battle theme gives players an air of urgency and danger, making the experience more immersive. The sprites are animated and one can clearly see the attack being executed on the monsters (but more on that later). Another thing worth considering is that as your character and Dragons level up and you gear up on armor and equipment, the avatar and their aptly titled dragon pals change their looks as well. For a browser game, this evolution of the characters’ outer appearance while in-game is a feather in their cap. As an aside, one thing that is noticeable when selecting the class in this game is that the character designs are androgynous in nature. When I opted to choose the Warrior class, I was a bit confused with the selections because all of the preset avatars looked like girls. For those who are into the whole “Bishonen” thing, they might get a kick out of this game.

care for a game of "Who's Hiding the Magic Dragon"?

care for a game of “Who’s Hiding the Magic Dragon”?

Shut Up, I’m Farming Over Here!

Dragon Pals also has a pseudo-farming simulator in-game that lets players level up faster by planting Lunar Fruits in their respective farms. The said Fruits can be consumed for experience points or be sold for Amethysts (one of the various currencies in the game). Players can also pray for the Goddess’ Blessing and once enough prayers have been offered, the players get different rewards. While farming for experience in games has always been a standard, Dragon Pals takes the “farming” concept too literally. For a game that plays like an adventure game, having a farming simulator in-game feels like it is out of place somewhat. But then again, every character needs something to fall back on once the questing stops, right?

pray to the goddess all you want. It won't make time go faster

pray to the goddess all you want. It won’t make time go faster

Since When Did Combat Become A Spectator-Sport?

A staple in any adventure game is that players should be able to control their characters while fighting monsters. It is one of those non-negotiable factors since players should be able choose how to dispatch a group of baddies. Dragon Pals, unfortunately, does not give that interactive aspect for players. Their combat system is automatic and turn-based – the player’s character strikes the monsters first, then the monsters retaliate. This goes on and on until either the player or all the monsters die. This automated combat system really kills the whole adventure vibe of the game because it leaves the players to just watch their character beat the monsters on the screen and hope that they don’t die doing so. Players become detached from their characters because it is as if the characters do not need them once the fight starts. The only interactive part of the combat system is when the players preset the skills that they want their character to use once a battle ensues. This, in turn, takes out the fun in defeating monsters and bosses since the player essentially did not do anything.

Who knew watching monsters get dunked on was so much fun? Said no one ever.

Who knew watching monsters get dunked on was so much fun? Said no one ever.

When Exercise is Not Good For You

Dragon Pals has a system wherein players can still level up their characters even when they are not playing the game. This is done via Exercise and happens when players situated in a town leave their browser for a certain amount of time. When the browser reaches a certain period of inactivity, their characters would start running from one end of the screen to the other. For every ten minutes that their character is running, they get experience points. This means that a player can choose to run Dragon Pals and do other things, all the while their characters run back and forth in the town, gaining experience points. That being said, players who stay in the browser and watch their character run the length of the screen again and again get 30% more experience points. While the concept of multitasking in games is not new, it should be done while playing the game. The Exercise option in Dragon Pals lets the players do other things instead of playing the game itself. It is quite telling when a game gives you an option to not play it and still gain levels because it means that it knows that you have other more important things to do. It really begs the question, “why do I need to play this kind of game when I can play other games that warrant my attention?”

dragon pals exercise

it’s like the characters themselves are doing their hardest to find a way out of their own game

Verdict

Dragon Pals is a browser game that shows promise at first with its good aesthetics and overall character designs, but once the game gets going it falls flat where it matters most – being a game. While it tries to incorporate various aspects to make the game interesting and have a different dynamic, the said aspects feel forced and out-of-place. Their combat system is the biggest let down because it renders the players to be nothing more than spectators (or hecklers depending whether you are winning or not). It just goes to show that having more isn’t always better.

Related: , , ,

About MMO Games