King of Dragon Pass Review

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 16th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: A Sharp
Price: $9.99
Version: 2.1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Gameplay Rating: Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

[rating:overall]

King of Dragon Pass is a game developed by A Sharp in which players take control as leader of a barbarian tribe in the pursuit of creating an epic story of conflict and survival. The iOS version is actually a remake of the 1999 PC game, and it shows. The entirety of KoDP takes place within various menus, and no animation exists anywhere in the game. Although this is the case, KoDP presents a great mix of turn-based strategy, resource management, and role-playing elements that help the game play feel like one of the most interesting choose your own adventure books imaginable.

Much like a book, the ambiguity that persists throughout much of KoDP's storytelling is precisely what makes the game so interesting and fun to play; that, and the fact that KoDP does a fantastic job of introducing players to all of its systems and menus through its tutorial system. By guiding players through a year of game time, text boxes appear on every screen explaining to players how each system works and even giving advice as to what choice is best. Even after the tutorial text disappears, the in game advisers are very useful for reminding players about aspects of their tribe that they should be paying attention to. However--as the tutorial explains--the members of the clan-ring are also susceptible to giving advice that serves to fulfill their own personal objectives, which might not always be the same as the objectives of the tribe as a whole.

If all of this sounds a bit complicated, that's because it definitely is. KoDP requires a lot of explanation and tutorials to be fully understood. On top of that, the game's only art comes in the form of static illustrations depicting game situations. While these pictures are wonderfully drawn, they are far from flashy, making KoDP a little disappointing for players looking for impressive visuals. Lastly, although the game involves a lot of intricate decision-making, KoDP is just a deep set of menus at the end of the day, making the fun factor really about observing and reacting to new narrative twists rather than actual gameplay.

All that aside, KoDP is a great interactive version of a choose your own adventure book. The game's dense mechanics and narrative variety make it well worth its price tag. If this sounds appealing, consider the money well spent. Otherwise, players not interested by this style of game might want to steer clear of KoDP.

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