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iPad  header logo

Dragon Finga

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Kung fu candour

Product: Dragon Finga | Developer: Another Place Productions | Publisher: Another Place Productions | Format: iPad | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Dragon Finga iPad, thumbnail 1
There's a simple, smart, entertaining idea at the heart of Dragon Finga. Grabbing your puppet-like avatar by placing a single digit on their head or limbs, you can fling them around wildly.

It's a delightfully tactile control scheme that powers a strange arena brawler, your kung fu hero attacking enemies with flailing fists and feet like an inebriated reveller ill-advisedly taking on a club's bouncers at kicking-out time.

Drunken master

It's not a particularly dignified way of dealing with waves of samurai and ninja, but it's undeniably entertaining at first, your avatar ragdolling about the place as you get to grips with the bizarre yet intuitive controls.

Attacking enemies is a small matter of tapping them, as your hero aims the nearest or most appropriate limb in their direction, lunging forward with his feet from distance, or thumping them at close range.

A dotted line gives an indication of where your enemies are likely to strike so you can drag your hero out of harm's way, or interrupt incoming blows with blows of your own.

Chi whizz

You can also collect glowing butterflies to fill your magic meter, allowing you to pull off special attacks that are dependent on the warrior you've chosen. One freezes her enemies with an icy blast while another chains electricity through the bodies of his unwitting opponents.

Meanwhile, you'll smash urns for coins and gems, and demolish crates holding fruit that replenishes your energy. After every few waves you'll face a boss, and so the action continues, with more durable foes that hit harder as you advance.

But keeping your life meter out of the red isn't your only concern. You'll have to hit enemies in certain ways to keep an ever-present timer from reaching zero, from Rocket attacks that see you fly through the air to the self-explanatory Dive Bomber and Double KO.

Martial artistry

With some lovely Oriental music and exceptional stylised graphics, Dragon Finga looks like a minor classic, but once the novelty has worn off the action soon grows tedious.

It doesn't help that the in-game currencies are as unbalanced as your floppy-limbed fighter. You'll need gems to unlock new fighters, and coins to open up new abilities, but to earn these you'll need to complete missions.

These range from defeating a certain number of a particular type of enemy to pulling off several special moves, or surviving for a given period of time - but the rewards you get for completing these are too small to afford anything useful.

The emerald pile

Green gems are even harder to come by, and as they're used to pay to unlock fighters and stages, you'll have to weigh up which of those you'd like to see first. The third area alone costs 100 gems, a tally it will take you over 20 consecutive games to reach.

That wouldn't be a problem if Dragon Finga developed in any meaningful way, but beyond the introduction of different enemy types, it's identical from the first minute to the last.

What's more, the difficulty curve bends sharply upward far too early, forcing you into battles with shuriken-throwing ninjas whose projectiles do great damage.

When four or five direct hits are enough to completely drain your life meter, it rapidly becomes an exercise in frustration, exacerbated by the curious stickiness of your character's jump. Often you'll try to lift them in the air yet their legs will remain planted and you'll take a shot to the chops.

Carry on brawling

The idea, of course, is that you'll pay to continue or repeat stages ad infinitum until you've earned enough to move on, but Dragon Finga simply doesn't reward your investment, whether it's time or money.

It's so repetitive there's little incentive to keep plugging away, and with the IAPs being rather stingy in terms of the rewards you get for your cash, Dragon Finga soon grows tedious.

It's compelling proof that while a single good idea may be enough to sell a game, it's rarely enough to sustain interest unless you find a way to build upon it.
 
Dragon Finga
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 25 September 2013
Dragon Finga has a great concept, but it's so shallow and miserly that it ends up as little more than a drag
 
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