App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Dragon Project takes the core tenants of the Monster Hunter games and squeezes them into your phone. This makes for a co-op multiplayer game where groups of up to four hunters team up to take down huge creatures (known as “Behemoths”) in order to harvest parts and craft new loot to take on even tougher Behemoths. It's a bit of a loot treadmill, but it's a tried and true one that's never been more convenient to whip out when you're on the go.
In Dragon Project, you play as a hunter who's main purpose is to kill Behemoths and use their remains to craft gear that helps you take down other Behemoths. This all plays much like a Monster Hunter game, with players having direct control of their character from a third-person perspective.
As a mobile game, Dragon Project keeps the action as simple and convenient as possible. The whole game can be played in portrait mode, and a super streamlined control scheme makes it so moving, dodging, casting spells, and attacking can all easily be done with one hand. As simplified as it's controls may seem though, Dragon Project is still a pretty demanding game that requires some precise maneuvering and proper preparations to ensure a successful Behemoth takedown.
Geared for groups
Each Behemoth hunt in Dragon Project requires a party of four to participate, and each one feels like a large, collaborative boss fight. The huge Behemoths on screen have attack patterns that can decimate your crew, but if you memorize and exploit them the right way, you can walk away with a nice set of rewards.
Defeating Behemoths feels best when playing with friends or random human players, and Dragon Project goes out of its way to encourage players to team up and work together. Quests are intentionally structured so that you need other players to help you with them, and the gear is designed so that everyone has a role to fill in a boss fight. In the event that you don't have human players to help you out, Dragon Project can also sub in AI teammates, but they are not the smartest companions, though they can help you brute force some lower level Behemoths pretty easily.
A monstrous design
The heart of Dragon Project as a game (that is, the hunting and crafting part), is a pretty straightforward and satisfying process. Whenever you're not actively on a hunt though, Dragon Project is a confusing labyrinth of different quests, currencies, and all sorts of other free-to-play shenanigans.
There's a single-player campaign, daily and weekly quests, group hunts, event hunts, personal quests, and two gacha-style stores, among other things in Dragon Project, and very few of these things are explained very well. For those just starting the game, this could make Dragon Project seem like an impenetrable mess that just wants your money. While this is at least partially true, spending time with Dragon Project reveals a game that can be a satisfying grind, even if you don't want to spend any cash on it.
The bottom line
Dragon Project's core, Monster Hunter-style action makes it easy to satisfy your loot lust while you're waiting for the bus. It's still a grind, and it definitely doesn't explain its overabundance of systems and modes well, but it lets you fight epic boss fights with others no matter where you are, which is pretty great if you ask me.