Backflip Studios has established itself as a developer with a diverse repertoire, with hits in the casual space like Paper Toss and more hardcore titles like Army of Darkness Defense. The developer recently entered the free-to-play casual space with games like Backflip Solitaire, but has gone all-in with DragonVale. It’s similar to some already-available pet management games, with a couple of big, fire-breathing differences.
Players are in charge of their own wild animal park located on a floating island. It’s up to the player to populate it with dragons, who must be fed and cared for. Players purchase dragon eggs, habitats and the supplies necessary to grow treats. True to the genre, everything the player wants to produce takes time, but can be sped up using a premium currency called gems. Gems can be purchased through in-app transactions for real money. They can also be used to purchase premium items and decorations for the player’s park.
The real standout feature of DragonVale, though, is the dragon breeding. Various breeds can be combined to produce hybrids, which creates a fairly robust collection mechanic akin to what several of the earlier zoo games have done. Dragon breeding takes some time, although most of the resulting beasts can be purchased from the game’s shop. The dragons can also be entered into challenges at the game’s stadium and serve as attractions that make players (virtual) money.
Speaking of revenue, DragonVale quickly reached the top of the App Store’s top grossing game charts, surpassing Angry Birds and Smurfs’ Village. The game offers several in-app purchases, from virtual cash and gems to food for players’ dragons. The app itself is free and universal for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
You can follow DragonVale’s progress using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.