Version Reviewed: 1.2.208
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5S
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Developed by Ghostbox, Dragon Season is a cute endless runner in which players take the role of ‘Nook’ - a little red dragon whose friends have been kidnapped by the meddling King Jellyboo. Tasked with completing quests in order to level up and become the "awesomest little dragon ever," one must guide Nook through an endless and perilous flight, avoiding and blasting through obstacles where possible and touching down when needed.
The basic premise of Dragon Season is to survive for as long as possible, and along the way try to collect coins. The more coins one collects, the more likely one will be able to restore lives in the event that crashing Nook headfirst into a castle wall becomes unavoidable. In the event the player doesn't have enough coins to cover the restoration of a life, one can pay $0.99 to boost their coin stash by 20,000.
While I would agree that Dragon Season features a unique vertex art-style that is most likely to appeal to a younger audience, there's really little else here that we haven't already seen before - and herein lies my problem with it. Granted, the game is challenging and that's what it should be, but there's also an argument for Dragon Season's reliance on the player failing early on, and having little option but to opt for the impulse buy of more coins in order to feel like they can progress.
Upon completion of each experience level however, players are rewarded with a stash of new coins. As Nook makes his whisking journey through the air he will also get the chance to choose various riders. Each rider comes with a set of missions that one must complete if they wish to earn more coins. Missions can vary from collecting a certain amount of coins to landing at a specific time. This mission system is really Dragon Season's saving grace. I found the way in which missions are delivered confusing at first, but after playing for a while the bubbles in which mission targets appear become more understandable. Once players get into it, Dragon Season can provide an entertaining few hours. But the game's reliance on in-app purchases and other similar mechanics are just too obvious to ignore.
One thing I did like is the customization offered for the characters. Visiting the Shop will not only allow players to buy in-game coins with real money, but will also allow them to browse Dragon Season's in-app costume closet. Here they can kit out Nook with all sorts of awesome, such as ninja wings, robes, a hood, horns, and even a top hat! Each of these modifications can be purchased with in-game coins, but their values are pretty high (starting at 1,000 coins), which again throws me back to my earlier point about reliance on in-app purchases.
Provided one remembers to turn off in-app purchases in settings (to avoid accidental purchases), Dragon Season is definitely a game that is sure to keep the little ones entertained for at least an hour or two.