Fat Dragons Review

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Title: Fat Dragons
Developer: Nostatic Software
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download:  13 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Digital Download, Direct Download

Mobile games are like Indie Games in that there are a lot of things that developers can do that big name developers do not do.  They can make little bite-sized games that almost resemble Flash-based browser games in style.  There are a lot of very simple Mobile games that are simple, but still capture the hearts of many people, from Angry Birds to Chaos Rings to Plants vs Zombies to more.  There is a lot they can really do with only a small budget.

Another aspect they can do is the actual content of the game.  Developers can be as silly and goofy with the game’s name and content as they want.  In fact, many Indie Games are out there with some of the silliest names you can think of.  Mobile games are the same, with many silly names that spawn large numbers of fans.  There are names out there like Fruit Ninja and more.

One such Mobile game just released on a variety of platforms.  Mobile Developer Nostatic Software has just released a game on Android this past week, and have expanded that support to the PlayStation Mobile platform as well.  This game also falls into the name of the category or silly names and concepts.  Having just released this past week, here is our official review of the PlayStation Mobile game, Fat Dragons.

Story

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Fat Dragons doesn’t really have a plot surrounding it, much like many Mobile games.  The game will boot up and throw you into the tutorial and gameplay of the game, so there’s no deep story surrounding all of the dragons that you play as and encounter as you go through each stage.

In Fat Dragons, you are a Dragon that is being attacked by other dragons.  You have to keep the other Dragons from defeating and killing you by killing them first.  With Kinetic Energy on both your and their side, your quest is to travel through four locations of the world and survive against the army of other dragons that are attacking you.

As I said before, Fat Dragons has no plot.  The only plot we do have is what we can gather from how the game plays.  This isn’t a game that you would play for the story, but more for the gameplay.

Gameplay

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Fat Dragons is a game that is stage-based, meaning that you will be playing on separate stages as you play through the game.  When you first boot up the game, you will be able to jump into the Tutorial Stage as well as the first environmental stage, which is an Ancient Temple.  The other stages will be available to be viewed in the menu, but they must be unlocked to be able to play through.  There are three stages to unlock, while each stage contains several stages within it.

The game plays like a 2D Action game.  You will be controlling a 2D Dragon on a 2D Plane full of platforms that you can fly and land on within that stage.  There will always be other dragons in the area as well that look just like you, but have different colors so as to not confuse you with whom is the enemy and whom is the player’s dragon character.  This is pretty important as there can be several dragons on the screen at one time and knowing which one is you is pretty important.

The stages consist of waves of enemies that will appear in random places throughout the stage and fly around to attack you.  Your goal will be to take out every enemy in the wave, and then wait for the next wave to come in.  As you complete each wave, it will get harder, having more enemies in each wave and, every few waves, you will be taken to a new version of that environment in the form of a new stage for the next few waves, and will keep going until you get knocked out.

The flying mechanics and combat system are what makes the game interesting and, also, quite humorous.  Every dragon in the game is, well, fat and overweight.  This is made apparent in the flying and combat system.  As you fly into the air, which is done with flapping, somewhat similar to how you float in Nintendo’s Kirby games by pressing a button over and over, you will slowly gain speed.  It is quite clear that the wings are having a hard time bringing you into the air.

As you fly or move without running into another dragon or platform, you will increase speed and momentum.  This will increase, to a point, where you will keep that speed until you turn the other direction or hit something.  This requires you to think and time everything.  Even if you try to land on something, that momentum will keep you moving, resistant to your commands to stopping.

The whole idea of the game is to be able to control and time your movements to hit and take out the dragons that oppose you.  Each dragon you face will only be hit and take damage if you bump into them when you are higher in the air than they are.  This will knock them unconscious and they will fall to the ground, much like you when you get hit by something.  You will then have to go to where they fell and hit them again to defeat them.  They can also do the same to you, so you have to be careful to where you’re moving.

The big key of the game is controlling the physics of the game and defeating as many waves of dragons as you can.  Though, in the latter two stages, you will have a little more to worry about than just the dragons.  There will also be volcanoes and storm clouds that will produce falling magma and lightning bolts that can also damage you and your opponents.  This can be tricky to dodge but also be used to your advantage, like taking cover under a platform while the magma has a chance of hitting and taking out your enemies.

Unlocking each stage will depend on getting a certain high score in the previous stage.  For example, to unlock the Jungle stage, you will need to go through at least 8-10 waves of enemies in the Ancient City stage.  This will need to be repeated in each stage to unlock the next until all four stages are unlocked for use.

Since the game only has four stages, it wouldn’t take a long time to unlock everything and play through each stage.  I was able to unlock everything without much issue in a little over an hour, counting adjusting to the controls.

Controls

Since this game also released on the Android platform, Fat Dragons has button controls as well as touch controls on it.  While there isn’t a way to disable one or the other, the controls are really simple and will not require more than a few of the buttons on the PS Vita.  The touch controls seem a little more technical than the button controls, but still, there isn’t a whole lot to learn.

With touch, you tap on the screen to enter commands into the menu as well as swiping to cycle through the stages.  When you’re in a stage, you will tap the screen to flap your wings and you can tap any area of the screen to fly in that direction.  You will need to keep tapping to stay in flight, though, so you will need to keep a sharp eye on what’s happening on the screen.

Button controls are similar.  You move your dragon from side to side wither with the D-Pad or the Left Analog Stick.  You can choose options in the menu with the X Button and go back with the Circle Button.  While within a stage, you will be using the X Button to flap your wings and the Start button to pause the game.  All in all, it’s very simple.

Presentation

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Fat Dragons has a very 8-bit feel to it.  There are no special effects with the visual engine, and every dragon has pixels that can be seen pretty clearly.  This is not bad, as the game mostly had quick load times, aside from the opening Load Time.  The opening Load Time is actually pretty good for a PS Mobile game, booting you to the Menu in about 9 seconds, rather than the normal 15-20 seconds for a PlayStation Mobile title.

Audio is where the presentation drops down.  While there are different stages to play through, music is something that is light and even missing in some stages.  When you’re in the Jungle stage, for example, there is no music at all.  The only audio you will hear in those stages will be sound effects of the dragons as well as birds in the Jungle Background for the stage.

Overall

All in all, Fat Dragons is a funny little game that has an interesting premise behind it.  While the 2D visuals look pixelated and there is no music to speak of in the game, it is fun for little bits of gameplay to spend a bit of time with.  The game isn’t one of the best PS Mobile has to offer, it may be worth the measly $0.99 price tag.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Fat Dragons a 6.5/10

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