Dragon Evolution is a new mobile title from NobStudio. The game is a variant on the “endless running” fomula that casts players in the role of a dragon whose abilities grow and change as the game progresses. The creators cite titles such as Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride and Sony’s PSP-based Patapon series as inspiration for Dragon Evolution’s gameplay and visuals respectively.
Dragon Evolution’s gameplay is split into nine “years,” each of which lasts a limited amount of time. During a year, the player must help the dragon to travel as far as possible while scoring points along the way for killing enemies and destroying buildings. Traveling a set distance (which is not reset between years) takes the player to a new “world,” which features a different color scheme, art style, music and enemies to contend with. It also restores the dragon’s energy bar — a multi-purpose meter that represents both the dragon’s health and its capacity to use special abilities — and adds some time on to the ever-ticking clock.
Between each year, the player has the option to select an evolution for the dragon. Some of these improve damage, others improve the size of the energy bar and others provide a combination of smaller benefits. Certain evolutions also have an elemental affinity attached to them, and certain enemies are weak or strong against these elements. By learning the set sequence in which the various worlds appear, the player is able to predict what evolutions will be the most beneficial in the coming year.
The game also features a “mission” system similar to that seen in Jetpack Joyride. Three objectives are active at any one time, ranging from surviving a certain amount of time to killing specific enemies or using specific evolutions. Each successfully-completed objective awards the player with a star, and earning three stars increases the player’s score multiplier. This means the longer the player plays the game, the higher scores they will be able to achieve — something which will be of importance to those players hoping to chase the elusive top spot on the Game Center leaderboards.
Dragon Evolution is an unusual game that is surprisingly addictive, though it takes a few of the in-game “years” to both figure out what is going on and to get the dragon up to a level of power where it is not collapsing of exhaustion every few seconds. The distinctive silhouetted visual style is an excellent fit for the game, and the controls are kept simple to understand. The evolution system provides a surprising amount of depth to the gameplay, however, allowing score-hungry players to work out the best “builds” for optimum scoring.
Dragon Evolution was released on May 24 as a Universal app for both iPhone and iPad and is currently on sale for $0.99. The game is not currently featured on any leaderboards in the iOS store, but you can check on the game’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.