Developer: Kabam
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

I don’t like to think of my self as a cynic, at all. If I was cynical, I couldn’t do my job here. But it gets challenging when reviewing a lot of the free-to-play games that are out there: the mechanics are just so paint-by-numbers. Only minor differences in theme separate a lot of the games out there.

Thus it is with Kabam’s Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon, a game so committed to being about dragons that it is willing to put the word “dragon” in the title twice. It might as well be called Dragon Dragon Dragon: Dragons of Dragons Dragons.

DragonsOfAtlantis-07DragonsOfAtlantis-08And hey, that works with Kabam. They’ve found formulas that work, and it just requires changing the values of the variables. People like games with dragons like Dragonvale, which has made Backflip Scrooge McDuck-rich. And people like the competitive aspects of Clash of Clans, which has made Supercell super-rich. Why not mix the two together? Well, that’s what Kabam did.

Heck, I’m surprised there’s no Candy Crush Saga in here. Though I suppose something like Puzzle and Dragons is popular, too, for a reason…

And really, the mechanics of everything here are industry-standard. There’s wait timers to build things (and that one can’t queue up building construction, thus forcing constant return play, is part of the return engagement process), wait timers to train troops, wait timers to learn new skills – there’s a lot of waiting, and opportunities to pay to skip the waiting. And it’s all in the name of players hopefully getting to a point where the city, armies, and now the dragon they customize and train, will be something that they care about and are willing to spend money on. It’s what all these games do, it’s like the difference between McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s: same basic concept, just slight variations in preparation and taste.

DragonsOfAtlantis-05DragonsOfAtlantis-04Dragons of Atlantis‘s metaphorical fast-food burgers do have their positives: it does right to play in portrait orientation. The drawback is that yes, it makes the view area feel a bit limited, the advantage comes in with being able to play casually. And this genre is all about casual play. The quest menu also serves as a great way to know what to do next. It’s not all bad. It’s a reasonably well-constructed game; a decent example of the genre and business model, which are inseparable at this point.

But of course, one would hope that it would be, right? In my time with Dragons of Atlantis, all I could really say about it is this: people receptive to the whole f2p building genre, and those maybe looking for something in the Clash of Clans mold but with more dragons, might just enjoy this one. Or not. Maybe the calculus won’t work out. But it’s there, and laid out in a pretty standard way.

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