Card battle RPGs are typically highly successful, highly profitable titles for their developers, but also often severely lacking on the gameplay front. Lord of the Dragons is certainly no exception in that regard, but it’s worth noting that it does feature significantly better presentation than many other examples of this genre. The impressive introduction sequence followed by the stirring (if repetitive) orchestral soundtrack and the striking Retina-display graphics certainly give the game a significant degree of audio-visual polish. Unfortunately, great visuals and sound are not enough to disguise the fact that this is yet another game where the player’s sole interaction involves repeatedly tapping on the screen until something happens or they run out of energy.
As per usual for this style of game, Lord of the Dragons is split into a player vs environment Quest mode and a player vs player Battle mode. In Quest mode, players are given a linear series of quests to complete by repeatedly tapping to continue and occasionally tapping to fight a boss. As the player progresses through these quests, they collect additional warrior cards to add to their deck, which in turn may be used to increase their attack and defense statistics. In order to defeat bosses and other players in Battle mode, it is necessary to ensure these statistics are as high as possible, but this is about the extent of the strategy that the game incorporates — it is, as usual, no more than a numbers game. Incentive to remain competitive in Battle mode is provided by “collection items” — sets which may be stolen from other players by fighting them and which reward them with special bonuses when collected in their entirety.
One interesting twist on the usual formula in the Quest mode is that it’s possible to run in to other players along the way, making the experience feel a little less “lonely.” Upon encountering another player, it’s possible to join their guild, battle them or send them a message. It’s a good addition to the otherwise-stale formula that helps make the experience feel a lot more “massively multiplayer” than usual.
Despite its impressive presentation, Lord of the Dragons is prone to the same issues that its peers suffer from — besides the shallow, uninteresting gameplay, lengthy loading times and large use of data are a big issue. The game regularly pauses to stream data from the Internet, ranging from background images to icons for collectible items. The game would immediately look a lot more polished if this data were actually included in the app download itself rather than having to repeatedly break to load it during play.
Ultimately, Lord of the Dragons adds very little to the card battle RPG genre. While the good presentation and the addition of player encounters to the otherwise solo “Quest” experience are both good points, the fact that the rest of the game is just as shallow and tedious as its peers makes this one to skip past with confidence.
Lord of the Dragons is currently the No. 115 on the free iPhone games chart, No. 49 on the overall top grossing app chart and No. 39 in the top grossing games category. Readers can track its progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.