Author Topic: Wiiware Review: Dragon Master Spell Caster  (Read 1398 times)

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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Wiiware Review: Dragon Master Spell Caster
« on: January 09, 2012, 04:29:42 pm »
So in a fit of "I need dragons", I decided to buy this game last night using some left over Wii points that I had.

The game is actually rather simple.  You are flying on a dragon.  You cast spells.  You have precisely one of two goals: To kill the enemy dragon, or to collect all of the elemental orbs (and the book) before the time is up.  You will alternate between these goals during story mode.

(I'm not completely done with content, but what I'm reviewing is what I've done so far)

The gameplay, however, is not so simple.  First of all, this game is heavily dependent on the nunchuk.  How dependent?

Well, for once thing, you steer with the nunchuk.  Not the control stick.  The nunchuk.  You tilt it left to steer left, right to steer right, up to steer up, angle it down to steer down.

C button is the lock on button (which overrides your steering and points you straight at the enemy rider) and Z is the "go forward" button.

The control stick does things, too.  Stick left is a quick dodge left, Stick right is a quick dodge right, Stick forward is a dash forward, and Stick down is a dragon's roar that stuns the enemy rider and deflects spells.

And now that we're done with everything the off hand does, it's time to focus on the Wiimote.

A button makes your dragon breathe fire, which is incredibly hard to hit with, but I suppose it can work good by keeping pressure on the enemy.  B button, followed by swinging your Wiimote in a direction, is a physical attack.  Left Slash, Right Slash, Bite, or Tail Whip.  Hey, it's like a pokemon!

And then there's the spells.  Each character has their spells in a different order.  Down is always your character's preferred element (So if you're the ice-elemental character, Down is ice.  The electric elemental character, down is storm)

Oh, but the spells get a little more complex.  If you charge up a spell so it's big and slow, but then launch a weaker, quicker spell into it immediately afterwards, it'll become a mixed spell.  There's four different kinds of mixed spells.  Double-mixed (which becomes a fast-moving bolt that has low accuracy but deals high damage), Left-mixed (You mix it with the spell on the left of the wheel.  This makes it into a buff item that you can pick up), Right-mixed (You mix it with the spell on the right side of the wheel, which creates a HUGE spell that steadily damages the enemy rider that's foolish enough to ride into it.  Thankfully, they are foolish enough.) and Opposite-mixed (which is similar to blast, except it's bigger, lasts longer, and deals less damage... but also has another purpose)

There is also an ultimate spell that each character has that is essentially Preferred Element + Opposite Element + Preferred Element (so you take an opposite-mix and add your own element to the mix again) but I've yet to try any of these out.

So, complex enough for ya?

Now for the story mode.  The story mode is funny.

Basic plot: Dragons were around and making a mess of things.  Humans gained ultimate power.  Humans sealed dragons away.  Humans feared ultimate power and sealed it away too.  Dragons came back.  Humans made dragons fight each other.  Suddenly, an evil dragon of destruction is born from this.

There's four characters in the game.  The Friend-To-All-Living-Things ice mistress, the Brought-Back-to-Life ancient earth warrior, the Friend-Of-The-Lady-Who-Has-An-Unfortunate-Past-And-Seeks-Ultimate-Power storm master, and then the Wants-To-Destroy-Everything fire demon.

And that is about the depth you will ever get out of these characters.  There is literally no character interaction aside from the player defeating the other three in combat.  That's it.

And to be fair, the story mode was never advertised as very deep.  So how does the story work?

1. You get the character's origins
Battle against Character!
Collect Elemental Orbs to that Element to use.
2. You get the character's motivations.  They may even meet their dragon here (the one they've been riding)
Battle against Elemental Character!
Collect Elemental Orbs to get that Element to use.
3. You get the character acting based off of their motivations.  If they didn't meet their dragon in Step 2, they meet them here.  (In case you can't tell, this is a flashback)
Battle against Elemental Character!
Collect Elemental Orbs to get that Element to use.
4. Character combines the four elements to summon the Dragon of Destruction
Battle the Dragon of Destruction!
Collect Power Orbs to get the Book of Destruction to unlock ultimate spell combo.
5. Victory!  Brief epilogue, back to character select.

As you can see, it is VERY formulaic.  And these cutscenes are at best two sentences.  Each.

In other words, it's an excuse plot.

Now, combat itself.

You and the other dragon rider are in an arena of sorts.  You fly around, flinging spells at each other.  You have a steadily draining bar that fills up with each spell you cast, and if it fills up all the way, you can't cast anymore spells or perform anymore aerial maneuvers until it's gone all the way down.  (In other words, keeping this bar as empty as possible is a good thing)

Combat is exceedingly hard at first.  I died like... 10 times before I figured combat out.  Of course, once you figure it out, it actually gets easy.  Essentially, when facing the computer, you have to work at evading your enemy's spells until they max out their mana.  Then you lock onto them and try to nuke them... or rush them to perform a physical attack so you can stun them so you can THEN nuke them.  If they're flying right at you, hitting them with a double-mixed spell is appropriate, or even setting up a Right-Element Burst so they'll fly right into it.

Is the game fun?

Surprisingly, yes.  It's simplistic, bearing in mind, but it's good if you want something to do and are bored of the rest of your games.

Now for individual grades.

Controls 8/10 - So complex and convoluted, but ironically, they're incredibly responsive.  You don't have to struggle with the nunchuk to make your dragon turn right.  If anything, the controls are TOO responsive.  The spells are a little weird to work with, but then invisible walls around the arena have a tendency to eat your spells.  I also give it inventive points for making the Nunchuk the steering mechanism and actually managing to make it work well

Gameplay 6/10 - The combat is fun, and the flying is nice, but that's all there is.  There's nothing of any depth.  It's a two-player game, so it's probably more fun with a friend...

Story 2/10 - Oh god, what story?

EDIT: Wow, I forgot about this.

Graphics 5/10 - They're early PS1 graphics, essentially.  However, this is a WiiWare game, so I'll give it a small pass on it.  However, there is no excuse for why they tried to use a realistic style with their graphics limitations.  The game could have been a bit more stylized.

I will give them credit for some of the dragon designs, though.  They're good looking.

Overall Rating - 5/10

This game is probably worth a buy if you have 500 wii points left over (I certainly wouldn't spend more than $5 on it) and don't have any other games you wish to buy.  Or if you feel like playing a game that does one thing well and that's it.  Otherwise, give it a miss.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 04:42:13 pm by Zachski »
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