App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Marbles. Not many people (as far as I know) still play marbles these days. Believe it or not that stuff that lines the bottom of many an aquarium was once a means of entertainment. Dragon Scroll takes the basic idea of flicking one glass ball into another and game-ifies it while mixing in a healthy dose of Eastern mysticism. However, the aforementioned game-ification could use a little refinement.
The basic goal for each of Dragon Scroll’s levels is to collect all the marbles scattered on a level. Of course it’s a bit more complicated than that. A number of obstacles including pits, walls, ball duplicators, and more. The number of shots needed to finish are also factored in and can have a big impact on a stage’s rating. So players will have to flick (via swiping) their marbles precisely and carefully if they want to secure the best ranks.
Dragon Scroll’s diverse challenges and hidden stages are decent groundwork for a fun game. Every few levels, a new problem is introduced which can lead to some real brain-benders later on. If that isn’t enough to keep one occupied, there’s also a multiplayer mode that allows players to challenge each other for the best score in a gauntlet of levels as well as a custom level creator. There’s even a fair amount of power-ups to make good use of in order to maintain an edge. Problem is what’s holding all of this together is pretty rough.
First and foremost, while the ability to curve a shot with a careful swipe can be handy the shot mechanics are spotty at best. Supposedly the strength of a swipe and its direction interprets speed and angles but I’ve yet to take a single shot that performed as I’d intended. Slow swipes either yield a ridiculously slow shot or an insanely fast one. Slight curves to a swipe typically result in the marble traveling in the wrong direction or curving much more sharply than expected. The power-ups are also somewhat perplexing as the descriptions aren’t entirely helpful (why doesn’t the “remove one major obstacle” power remove anything beyond walls?) and I’m not entirely sure if they can be bought with anything other than real money. I thought the gold marbles earned in bonus levels and through getting good scores were meant for this (seeing as they can be bought in packages with real money), but they don’t actually seem to do anything.
I like a lot of the ideas present in Dragon Scrolls, but their execution is kind of off. Actually they’re kinda really off. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a great game after a little TLC but at the moment it’s fairly confusing at times and difficult to play.