I wouldn’t be the first to comment on the uncertainty of the App Store. It’s a landfill of failures and clones,with a few breakouts perched atop the trash. Nonetheless, developers chance the uncertainty with aspirations of becoming the next phenomenon. With a dream and a Candy Crush clone Team Chaos released Dragon Academy on to the App Store. A boring game that is lacking in every single category, egg-cept puns. It has ‘egg-cellent’ egg puns.
Dragon Academy is a free-to-play match-three puzzle game that requires players to align gems of like colors to complete a task within a certain amount of moves. The task range from getting a high score to clearing goo that engulfs certain gems. You can arrange the gems in groups of three, or more, and an “L” shape. There are eggs that randomly drop that are similar in color to the gems, and when matched clear an entire line. In addition to eggs, there are boosters that can help complete said task. The game holds these boosters close, so expect to spend a couple bucks if you want to use them. With the exception of a few new mechanics the game feels tired, and uninspired; I felt like I’ve played it before. I didn’t find the puzzles enjoyable or engaging, but when I managed to pull-off combos the game would reward me with puns like, “egg-tastic.” That’s honestly all I brought out of my time with the game, really bad egg puns.
Dragon Academy also has a heart system. If you fail to complete the task within the move limit you will lose a heart. Lose all your hearts, and the only way to continue is to wait for an absurd amount of time (thirty minutes), or pester your Facebook friends. Oh, you can also buy hearts for a buck if you are so inclined. This is the hook Dragon Academy is built on, and when it truly rears its ugly plot to monetize off of your failures. The randomization of the gems makes completing some of the puzzles feel impossible; subsequently resulting in you losing your hearts and waiting, or paying. This mechanic would work perfectly fine if the game wasn’t asking me for money, but at times I was just dealt a bad hand, and was asked to pay to continue playing that bad hand.
Free to play isn’t inherently a bad thing. When a fair, opaque monetization system is placed inside of a well-designed game, results can make developers unfathomably wealthy. That being said, the instance I as a player feel as though my progress, or enjoyment is being blocked by a monetization scheme my interest fades. Regrettably, this plagued my experience with Dragon Academy. I only made it so far before I could no longer take its cold reptilian hands reaching into my wallet, ultimately leading to me not playing it anymore.
I can’t help but to make fart noises with my mouth whenever the game somehow seeps into my consciousness. Maybe I’m being hard on the game, maybe it just isn’t my bag, maybe I should have spent some money on it. The only thing that I know for sure is I can’t wait to delete it off of my phone.
[+Egg puns] [-Won’t stay out of my wallet] [-Uninspired clone] [-Monetization gets in the way of enjoyment]