09th May2018

‘DragoDino’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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DragoDino is a vertical platformer that wows you with its vibrancy, jaunty music and characters but has a few issues under the bonnet that detract from the game reaching its full potential.

The game play in DragoDino is simple, you are trying to regain your precious egg from the top of a tree and spend the game working ever higher through the branches in your quest. The controls are accessible and the game really has a great, fun tone. The ten levels are split into sections that have a pathway at the top of the screen that remains blocked off until you kill specific enemies (signified by the diamonds that swirl around them) that drop said diamond upon their death allowing you to boost-jump slightly higher, opening more of the level to you until you can eventually jump up to the next section (usually this takes five diamonds).

As you work your way upwards, you can collect gems that, upon reaching a hundred will grant you a continue. There are also coins to collect to spend at the in-level shops in which you can buy power-ups (such as stronger shots, shield, freeze-bombs etc.) and health. Power-ups are quite numerous in the game, however and aside from regaining my health, I never really needed to use the stores for anything else.

The game features semi-random generation of each level to add variety and this is both a strength and weakness of the game, strength in that it does make each play through different but weakness in that the layout can hugely affect difficulty and also it draws attention to how similar each level is, and they don’t really appear to alter much throughout play.

Should you have someone with you, DragoDino is local co-op (good) and you can bring a long a Lola to assist your Bob. I found the game to be far more enjoyable in two-player mode (as most platformers are) and the split-screen mode works well, the ‘collect-em-up’ style gameplay balancing co-op work with gentle competition quite well. You want to finish the level with both of you alive…but you also want to be the one to have picked up the most stuff along the way!

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Aside from the lack of variety in the levels beyond the difficulty ramping up mainly due to the enemies, the load times are also very noticeable. I generally don’t have an issue with load times but DragoDino can tip over into the minutes when generating a level and on occasion I genuinely wondered if the game had crashed. Rest assured that though it may take a while, it is working.

Aside from the gripes above, it’s also worth mentioning that due to the busy scenery, sometimes the enemies can blend into the background, taking off precious health in what feels like a cheap hit, but these niggles all come down to one thing, after you’ve played a couple of levels of DragoDino, you’ve pretty much seen all it has to offer. The replay value comes from the random generation and the value that the co-op mode has. If you click with its gameplay, you’ll enjoy your time with it but evolution of gameplay is definitely not the games strength. If you are picking this up as a co-op title, you’ll have a lot of arcade-style fun as you help each other out and work through the game, whilst in single player mode the shallowness of the gameplay will be more visible and could put some off, although as a game to occasionally dip into, especially for younger players, it definitely has its charms.

DragoDino is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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