Developer: Griptonite Games Inc.
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

At this point, talking about how dull and repetitive kingdom-building strategy games like Dragon Storm are is dull and repetitive itself. There are only so many ways to bring up how little actual interactivity there is and how exploitative their freemium elements are. However, in its own small ways, Dragon Storm is still its own game so let’s talk about that.

Dragon Storm at least has an impressive start. The animated and voiced opening cutscene tells the story of how the evil dragon, Shadowclaw, threatened the land causing the goddess to send it skyward with the last, uncorrupted dragon egg. Despite how little it ultimately matters, it’s a cool tale that feels a lot like recent Legend of Zelda games in a few ways. The whole “last uncorrupted dragon” plotline actually has an impact on gameplay too. Depending on what kind of dragon they choose to raise, players can apply different universal stats to their kingdom. Seeing their scaly, fire-breathing child lording over the land adds a nice element of customization as well as personal investment.

However, Dragon Storm almost instantly settles into the slog of resource gathering, building construction, and army training that these games always turn into. Players are just tapping on icons, watching timers go down, and waiting to pay money to start the process over again. Even worse are the battles which, again, are just watching numbers going up and down. With so much information though it’s still bafflingly difficult to figure out who won and why. Considering that winning battles is crucial to progress it’s a frustratingly opaque interface decision.

Fortunately, the best things about Dragon Storm are the things that give it its own identity. Instead of relying on detailed artwork, the world is fully polygonal. This allows players to zoom around their game world from different angles. It’s a small but neat touch. Equally small but neat is the jaunty, fantasy music score.

There’s nothing inherently bad or boring about any type of game. However, some games, like Dragon Storm, just need a little more effort to be made interesting.

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