Dragon Fantasy

I’ve recently been playing through this charming RPG on my commute, and I thought I should post and talk about it a little.

Dragon Fantasy is a fairly straightforward RPG, reminiscent of the early Dragon Quest games- it’s divided into a number of chapters, in which you’ll explore dungeons, fight monsters, and battle the forces of evil. The whole thing is done in an NES-ish style; it’s got pretty nice, albeit chunky and low-res, graphics and sound. The game is intentionally humorous and lighthearted, and it’s pretty well-written for what it is… While I’m generally not a fan of pop-culture humor, Dragon Fantasy pulls it off in a way that’s at least low-key and inoffensive. They’ve taken the time to include unique descriptions for each enemy’s attacks, appearance, and death- it gives them a lot more personality than most generic RPG monsters, which is a big plus.

Three chapters have been released so far- the first, and longest, chapter follows Ogden, a retired knight, as he leaves retirement to save a prince captured by the forces of evil. This chapter is the most straightforward, and has the most basic gameplay- Ogden is your only character, and he never encounters more than one enemy at a time. The chapter is pretty clearly modeled after the original Dragon Quest, although it’s a bit more linear- Ogden himself even shares most of the abilities of Dragon Quest’s hero. The second chapter is the shortest; it puts you in control of a mage-type hero and adds a second party member and monsters with elemental weaknesses to the mix, although you’ll still only be encountering one enemy at a time. It’s a bit frustrating at times; you don’t have a lot of margin for error with your relatively frail hero, particularly when you’re required to run a sizable dungeon on your own. It’s not the game’s high point, but it doesn’t drag too long.

The third chapter is the most interesting- it stars a thief and his niece. Your ultimate goal is to amass a pile of money through a number of subquests. This chapter adds a few interesting quirks… You can pickpocket NPCs, which is something I haven’t seen in a Final Fantasy-style RPG before, even if it’s more gimmicky than practical. Secondly, your party doesn’t have a dedicated healer- you’re largely dependent on items stolen from enemies to recover your health. Combined with the addition of muliple enemies in combat, it makes for more tactically interesting combat than the Fight-Fight-Heal-Repeat rhythm of the previous chapters. The third chapter ends with a lead-in to at least a fourth, but it hasn’t been released yet.

I’ve been enjoying the game a lot on my commute, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter. I heartily recommend it if you’re interested in a pocket-sized RPG in the faux-NES style. I’ve been playing the iOS version, but there are PC and Mac ports as well. Although there’s no demo, the full game only costs a dollar.

– HC