Application Review: Dragon Island

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NTT Resonant, Inc | 177.4 MB | $ 2.99 ($ 0.99 Launch)

Pokèmon has always been a well-remembered, classic game on a handful of Nintendo game systems. Anyone with a fun-filled childhood has touched, or at least knows about the game. ZigZa games hopes to take the base structure of Pokèmon and take its own version onto the iOS App Store with Dragon island (Blue). Is success the shore that is in sight? Or will the shore be an illusion? Read on to find out.  Please note the game has not been released yet.  Links will be added after the game is released.

Gameplay

One of the first things that I noticed about the game was the depth of the game. On just about every single iOS game, they are simple and to the point, lacking depth and actual gameplay that becomes trite and repetitive. Dragon Island is kind of like that, but the RPG aspects bring it further.

You play as the protagonist in the game, whose soul mission is to go out and follow in his father’s footsteps as a dragon breeder. You start with a selection of monsters, you must choose one. From then on out, you will be raising it, along with others that you catch. Your adventure has begun.

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The map is large, and you’ve got much to explore on your journey, it awaits.

You eventually join the local guilds to protect and enforce their rules and gain status on your way up. Your main adventure consists of a number of quests that you are to embark on. They get harder as you go and you can have up to 3 in-progress quests at any given time. Each visiting city contains their own quests, gaining entrance to these cities becomes a challenge.

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The main missions of the game are outlined by a number of quests.

Your monsters are your main army, while spirits that you collect along the way can also serve you in battle. Like any RPG, these monsters gain levels as they fight in battle. You are allotted a maximum number of monsters within your party. This max increases as your character levels further. That said, choosing the order of monsters as well as what monsters becomes important. One big gripe I have with the game is that you can’t re-order your party on the run as it can only be down in town.

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Choose the monsters and their order wisely, once you’re in the wild, it can’t change.

This is one area of the game that I see needs changing. Why can’t a player change the order of his monsters on the go? When one dies in battle, why can’t he choose which one to summon on his behalf next? It’s perplexing to me, but a small gripe. When monsters reach a certain level, like in Pokèmon, they’ll evolve into a much better beast with a different set of attacks.

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Evolution is part of a monsters life, it’s a good part too.

Other neat features includes the ability to level up your own hero and increasing his power with jewels. Combining monsters to form new ones is also another big thing. Some of the strongest monsters in the game are formed by recipes. Gold and silver is distributed through the game, gold being rare while silver is handed out quite frequently. That said, save your gold, it’ll be of use.

Gamplay consists of battle and movement. The controls are actually quite simple: tap where you want to go. There really isn’t much more to it. Map movement is really easy.

Battling on the other hand is a little more complex. Things follow a timer. Each attack uses a different amount of time and does different amount of damage. The bar on the left lists the monsters in battle and the time they have left before they attack. When your monster is up, choose one of the four attacks and choose a target. Alternatively, you can also swipe (if supported by the attack) a given target.

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Battling is a little complex, but easily adjusted to.

Gameplay: ★★★★½

Graphics

Graphically speaking, this game does very well. The map is drawn beautifully while the monsters are drawn with exquisite details. The little details on each and every monster look hand drawn with good quality behind them. Size is also taken into account as the larger monsters are typically stronger.

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This is a boss, and as you can tell, he’ll be a little tougher to beat.

The attacks and animations are also drawn out nicely as well. The entire app runs smoothly and in a stable fashion. Menu items do take a little getting used to, but once you are used to them, you fly through them like a breeze.

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Battle graphics and animations are clear and smooth.

Graphics: ★★★★★

Audio

A vast amount of audio is included with the game. Different background music to help you during your travels is longer, and non-repetitive. They fade into the background as well (like they should). The mix makes them not annoying. Battle songs speed things up while the sound effects are present for just about every single attack and action taken.

Audio: ★★★★★

Replay

The game does gain even greater depth even after you beat it with the caves, caverns, and forests that are out there. Each one containing bosses (who will help you in battle after defeat) as well as a challenge to catch 3 monsters that exist within that given cave. Although not a requirement of the main game, they do prove to be useful if beat. Caves become a diverse area to find the rare monsters to fight in battle.

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Caves are scary, and require you to find your way through the maze-like structure.

If you need more to do, like in Pokèmon, you want to catch them all. This game is no different. There are 200+ monsters in this game for you to find and catch. As you advance further, they become much harder to catch.

Another form of replay value is included in the form of an infinite cave.  The idea is simple, but can also be used to kill time after the game is beat.  You enter the cave, that has infinite depth and you fight to get as deep as you can.  There will be leaderboards for this.

Gamecenter support is given in the game for a few things. I did wish that there could be a little more connectivity and multiplayer action. I would love to battle a few friends in the game (brings me back to the cable linking days!). Outside that, the game is pretty filled after the game is beat.

Replay: ★★★★½

Value

The game will be priced at 3 dollars after the 1 dollar launch sale. For either price, I do see the game worth it. It has great depth and will kill lots of time. There is much to explore in the large map. Countless quests await. Lots of work was put into this game, there is no denying that. As much as I’d like the online multiplayer battles and maybe having the ability to rearrange my party on the go, it’s well worth the 3 dollars.

Value: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

Is this game Pokèmon? No. It has a lot of similarities though, but doesn’t clone it as one would think. In reality, I see this as a fun mix of Final Fantasy, old-school RPGs, and Pokèmon to create a unique gaming experience. It’s fun, has great depth, and makes a great RPG-time-killer. I can’t wait to see where the developers take this game.

I’d like to thank Lars for the promo code to allow me to review the game.

Overall Score

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Dragon Island

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Lars for the product sample.
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