Entertaining.. but where are the dragons?
For those who have seen games such as Ragnarok Battle Offline, you will appreciate Dragonica. Dragonica is a side scrolling 3D game that is fast paced with lots of button mashing sequences. If you have played Maple Story before, you would also notice that the character design is pretty much that style; the cute short “chibi” characters that has various facial expressions.
Dragonica is developed by Barunson, the same company which developed the ever-so-famous Dragon Raja. This time with Dragonica, they revolutionized the concept of online side scrolling by incorporating a 3D environment and fast paced action. The story of Dragonica revolves around these big-headed adventurers who are trying to end the conflict between humanoids and dragons.
Basically, you start off by choosing one of the four classes available; Warrior, Magician, Thief or Archer. The Warrior is mostly about physical defence and offence, which is more apparent when they go through a job change to either a Fighter with maximized attack power or a Knight with exceptional defence power. Magicians are magic specialists who can grow into Mages, the master of general Mage, or Battle Mage, the master of assault sorcery. Then there is the Thief, one who wander in the dark streets and back alleys getting job done from behind the scenes. They are so used to ambushing and sneaky attack that they have never fought a straight battle. Thieves grow into Clowns, who use various tactics and skills, and Assassins, who are more specialized in battle. Now for the ranged specialist; the Archer. Long-range firing weapon, which requires much preparation time, has been said to be the greatest and most complicated weapon. Archers are very proficient in swift hit-and-run strategy. Archers can grow into Hunters, bow experts; and Rangers, Crossbow experts.
The gameplay of Dragonica is definitely engaging. The controls are easy; however, its a button mashing fest where you hack, slash, whack, blast your way through mobs. It's like KoF in a MMORPG setting. However, sometimes it's frustrating to aim at the mob as not only can you move left and right like the usual 2D side scroller, but up and down as well. Well, since this is also a MMORPG, there are quests for you to complete and mini missions that require you to enter a dungeon-like instance. You would have to go through wiping all the little mobs before you encounter the boss. Although this game is a hack and slash button-mashing fight sequence, there is some strategy involved. You don't try to go head on with the boss as you might just end up dying instead.
So far in the CBT mode, I managed to explore the beginner's map only since we were only given a short time to check it out. So far the mapping system is a little confusing. There is a lot of running and jumping, and since running with a burst of speed takes up mana, it does take some time to get from one place to another. There is a particular way of moving in faster speed though; something in the context of running and jumping consecutively.
There is also a Pet System, where you purchase an egg to hatch a pet and nurture its growth. Not only does the pet make a cute accessory, they also assist in combat. You can also own a house and a shop in Dragonica. By owning a house, you can decorate it with furniture, a pet house, a mailbox, and even trophies. And if you enjoy trading, you can purchase a shop space to start a player trade even when you've logged out.
At the moment, there is not much that can be said since it is still in testing stage. The graphics are cute although it does remind me of Maple Story 3-D-fied. The map remains much to be desired since it's almost impossible to pinpoint your exact location as well as the quest givers. However, the animation are all top notched with great effects; heck, even sometimes you get to see your enemy fly off and hit the screen resulting in a big crack. Even when the mobs are getting hit, their facial expressions are comical and entertaining. And working hand-in-hand with the graphics is the music. The music is relaxing and even loitering around town is pleasing to the ears. In a nutshell, this is a game that even casual players would enjoy.