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What is Dragonica?
What, you may well ask, is Dragonica? Well apart from being a slightly cheesy name it is a side scrolling MMORPG due for full release in the next few months. It will be free to play and joins the ranks of the micro-payment hopefuls who offer the basic game for nothing and expect people to pay for content such as outfits and items.
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Art and Backstory
At first glance Dragonica is far from inspiring and it fails to chime with my personal, admittedly rather dark tastes. It is a pseudo 3D, basically 2D with the illusion of depth, side scrolling MMORPG with bright colourful backdrops and cute characters. The characters come in four classes, Warrior, Magician, Archer and Thief and they all have proportionally huge heads. In fact the art style is like Street Fighter for kids and the realm of Dragonica is filled with adorable creatures. Luckily the Dark Lord has risen to counter the overabundance of cute and is corrupting these lovable creatures and turning them on the local people. You take on the role of a young hero and you have to save the world from evil.
The presentation is a fairly high standard considering the game is free to install and play. It may be too cute for my tastes but you can’t fault the simple set up procedure and creating a character and choosing your class is quick and easy. The game interface looks quite busy but it is simple to use and you can store skills and items in a quick use inventory for convenience. The environments and characters are incredibly cutesy poo and the limited depth makes it feel like a platformer. There are some serious oddities here which help to offset the cuteness factor and this is certainly a game with a sense of humour but whether you’ll understand the humour is another matter entirely and translation looks to be a thorny issue.
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The game features arcade style combat with the keyboard only and is based on chaining together combos. This skill based combat is free of cut scenes and will appeal to many gamers. You can play on PvP servers in single player deathmatch or group battle. There are also a number of missions to complete which feature some comical storylines and the game supports guilds. Levelling up in Dragonica looks to be the standard straightforward grind of combat for experience points.
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The game has been developed by Barunson Interactive and they have been working on it for a number of years, since 2006. They are a South Korean developer and publisher founded back in 2003. Dragonica clearly has an eastern flavour to it and so it remains to be seen how it will be received in the west. Will it reach the subscriber population it needs in order to compete with other MMO games?
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Free to Play
This is a very accessible title and extremely easy to pick up and play. You can button mash your way to lots of experience points and then spend the skill reward however you want. The world is large, there are loads of items to collect, missions to undertake and weirdness to discover. Dragonica is also free to try so what have you got to lose?