DRACO is a 2D top-down scroller shooter game. The app starts off with a good animation about the back-story of the game. The graphics and the music fit well into the game. After the intro video, the player, for the first time, will enter his or her own name. After which the player picks their hardness, color of their dragon and after a brief introduction to the controls is shown, the user can start the game.
The rules are fairly simple - avoid the oncoming dragons/obstacles & their fire/shots. Tilt the device in in either direction to move your dragon (tilt iPhone to the right, the dragon moves to the right, etc.) and tap the screen to shoot.
The graphics look great; especially the scrolling textures of the ground below the dragon! It is also obvious that they did not skimp on music. While the music is short & repeating, it loops perfectly and is engaging.
I have mixed feeling about the gameplay itself. I initially played the app from my iPhone, but then also loaded it onto my iPad. On the iPhone, I found it difficult to navigate my dragon and shoot on a small screen. No matter where my finger was, it always seemed to get in the way of my dragon and hinder me from seeing where I was going. I also felt that the dragon itself is a little wide for the gameplay. Meaning the dragon's width is about a quarter of the size of the screen, which makes it hard to initially navigate around tight spots, like the Egyptian statues that fly by in the game. You cannot destroy them; you simply must navigate around them.
I became quickly frustrated on my iPhone. However, when playing on my iPad in the “2x” mode, I found I had much more room to tap on the screen without my hand getting in the way of the gameplay. I soon found how this could be an easily addicting game. However, just like the iPhone, the iPad also presented the opportunity to see some other issues. One of them was the scrolling objects that I had to avoid - these items, when the center of the object got to the edge of the screen, they would disappear rather than slide off screen completely and smoothly. I realize this is nit-picking, but it was very noticeable on the iPad.
There are a few power-ups in game that give you "auto-shoot", "armor", "fire breathing", “3-shot" and "lightning shot". The "auto-shoot" was my favorite, namely because I did not have to tap the screen to shoot, I could solely concentrate on navigating.
As far as the controls go, the left & right tilt were fine, but I had two issues with the controls – first, the tilting forward to make the dragon move up the screen to get the powerups was not fine. The game assumes that you begin playing with the phone flat or parallel to the ground. Problem is - if you are lounging in a chair, you have to tilt the phone so far forward, you can't see the screen, which was incredibly annoying.
Secondly, in order for the dragon to do the "fire breathing" you have to blow on the microphone. Again, you have to take your eyes off the screen in order to complete this task. If you have a case on your iPhone, this might not be so easy, especially if you have an otter box case. I however, did find that rubbing the bottom of the iPhone against my shirt made enough sound to activate this special move - which is very helpful in clearing out all the enemies that are currently on the screen.
The game has its pros and cons, but ultimately, this game isn’t quite where it needs to be. With a few fixes to its controls and gameplay, this has the potential to be a truly addictive game.