Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Faraway Kingdom - Dragon Raiders is a questing and loot driven game that has a lot of stuff going on. Players are tasked with rebuilding a kingdom, going on raids, unlocking and fighting through dungeons, recruiting new heroes, upgrading items, and more. Although part of the reason it has a ton of different systems is due to its free-to-play nature, Dragon Raiders has enough to do at any given time that it instills a sense of progression lust in a way that other games like it just don't.
The premise of Dragon Raiders is straightforward: a legion of dark forces led by a dragon have destroyed the once peaceful lands, and it's the player's job to rebuild and train their own army to defeat this enemy army. In the beginning of the game, players are led through a sampling of all the things that this entails, and it's quite a lot. In order to train an army, players need to unlock training grounds, build houses, and gather resources to attract quality prospects.
On top of this, there are two kinds of combat in the game. The first is raiding, which can be thought of as the meat and potatoes. It has an active combat system that eventually leads to the endgame and dragon fight. The other kind of combat, which is dungeon crawling. Dungeon crawling is a pretty passive activity (i.e. basically a timer), but can yield loot drops to upgrade characters so they are better prepared for raids.
For those that are familiar with it, much of this ends up feeling a lot like Tiny Tower, but with a combat component. Players build houses and pair heroes with their ideal dungeon much like the housing and dream job mechanics of Nimblebit's popular title, but somewhere at the end of all that they get to take there heroes out and manage special abilities in raids.
Although the prospect of a fantasy themed Tiny Tower sounds pretty great, Dragon Raiders unfortunately falls apart with a very much less-than-ideal free-to-play model. With equipment that can only be unlocked with premium currency or by asking friends on Facebook to help, a demand to always be online, and a set of timers for game actions that ramp up absurdly quickly, the game becomes hard to enjoy even when players are willing to spend some money.
All that being said, the base mechanics and ideas in Dragon Raiders are pretty great. Players with some extra cash and/or high tolerance for free-to-play models would probably find a lot to like. Heck, I'm still probably going to boot it up a few more times to scratch my weird Tiny Tower-meets-loot itch, but the game certainly isn't for everyone.