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Dawn of the Dragons

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Dragging on

Product: Dawn of the Dragons | Developer: 5th Planet Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.02
Dawn of the Dragons iPhone, thumbnail 1
Dawn of the Dragons started life as a browser-based MMORPG on PC, but it's been such a success - thanks to a robust showing on Facebook - that developer 5th Planet Games has ported it over to iOS.

The result won't entirely displease fans of the original, but newcomers may wonder what all the fuss is about.

The game offers a fairly typical RPG experience. You select an avatar and begin the story as a humble farmer, before being thrust into a magical battle between good and evil. Combat earns you experience points and gold, and it's possible to purchase new weapons and equipment to bolster your character's abilities.

IAP Explained
Planet Coins are required to buy many of the best items in the game. 30 coins will cost you £2.99 while 710 sets you back an eye-watering £69.99. To really get anywhere in the game, you have little option but to open your wallet.
Points mean prizes

The main quest is told through static battle pages, where you simply tap an 'attack' button to inflict damage on your enemy in the hope that he falls before you do. Each move consumes energy points, which means eventually you'll have to wait for them to replenish before you can continue.

This trademark freemium tactic is designed purely to make you open your wallet and spend real cash on Planet Coins, which allow you to buy restorative items - as well as some of the most desirable weapons and armour in the entire game.

If you don't mind dipping into the game a couple of times a day then there's no real reason to grumble about this mechanic - in fact, it's quite rewarding to periodically check up on your progress, expending your energy points every now and then and watching as your avatar grows in power and stature.

The missions themselves are also quite interesting. They may require little input other than tapping an 'attack' button, but the story descriptions and lavish illustrations grab your attention.

For those who crave instant action and enjoy playing for prolonged periods, the outlook is less rosy. Dawn of the Dragons is almost impossible to play for more than a few minutes unless you're prepared to pony up some real-world moolah.

Any port in a storm

Another issue to contend with is the rather lazy manner in which the game has been transferred to iOS. Text is too small (iPhone, at least), and the aforementioned art could be appreciated better if it filled more of the screen.

Buttons are often too small to tap accurately, leading to some annoying menu navigation mistakes. Long-time fans of the game will also be bitterly disappointed to learn that progress made in the browser-based version cannot be synced with this mobile offering - you'll simply have to start all over again from the beginning.

Despite its problems, Dawn of the Dragons still manages to entertain on a basic level thanks to its excellent writing, gorgeous hand-drawn artwork, and solid sense of progression.

It's just a shame that it punishes players who wish to play for long periods - unless you're comfortable with spending a lot of money on in-app purchases, you'll find the stop-start nature of the gameplay seriously impedes your enjoyment.
Dawn of the Dragons
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 4 March 2013
Dawn of the Dragons has got the storytelling side of things well and truly sorted - it's just a shame that the action is so basic and the gameplay so reliant on the player pumping in real cash for in-game currency
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