Gets a Lukewarm Reception
A pretty epic sounding slice of scene-setting story proceeds Debug Design’s interesting spin on the retro style, top-down shooter, Dragon Fire: Una’s Quest (out now, $0.99). Here’s the dealio: Evil Queen Hydra is ruthlessly culling dragons and collecting their “knowledge sparks”, so that she might gain control of the mythical land of Krytok! Playing as a feisty young dragon, Una, it’s up to you to avenge your mother’s death and put a end to Hydra’s dastardly plans.
Heady stuff indeed. However, the gameplay itself fails to live up to the intriguing plot, offering an uninspired series of shoot outs, rather than the exhilarating blend of high-flying derring-do and fire breathing action it hints at.
Viewed from a top-down perspective, levels see you piloting Una through increasingly bizarre lands, collecting power-ups, and blasting everything in sight. As you soar through the sky, Una automatically spits fireballs at enemies – a motley crew consisting of levitating mermaids, flying pigs, psychotic meerkats, and more – whilst they try their damndest to gun you down.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this all sounds like quite a bit of fun. Believe me, it’s not. For starters, Dragon Fire’s unconventional control scheme – a clunky and poorly designed virtual D-pad – is awkward to use and feels unnecessarily cramped. The game does also offer an alternative control scheme by way of a joystick. Which would be great, but for the fact it doesn’t seem to work.
Just the first of many, many bugs I encountered during Una’s adventure. Other low-lights include poor collision detection, the game continuing of its own accord even whilst paused, intermittent crashes when loading, and powerups not functioning as expected, if at all. Overall, I have to say, Dragon Fire features some of the sloppiest design I’ve yet to encounter in an iPhone game.
Three unlockable mini-games act as an incentive for you to see Una’s main quest through to the bitter end, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll have lost interest well before you complete all 14 levels. You’ve been warned, approach this one with caution.
iFanzine Verdict: Despite an intriguing concept and a delightful array of outlandish enemies, Dragon Fire: Una’s Quest crashes and burns due to overly clunky controls, half-baked presentation, and some seriously toothless top-down action.