05th Aug2020

‘Tales From Dragon Mountain 1 & 2’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Tales From Dragon Mountain 1: The Strix

Mina Lockheart’s dreams became unbearable nightmares. She had a dream about her grandmother Kate and their old family house being eaten by flames. One day, Mina decided to travel back to their family estate to make peace with her own memories and feelings of loss and loneliness. But after she arrived there, what happens is something she could not imagine even in her wildest dreams. What started as a simple trip of search for inner peace, turned out to be the greatest, unimaginable adventure of her life!

Tales From Dragon Mountain 2: The Lair

It has been years since brave Mina Lockheart defeated Lord Strix. But dark shadows are rising once again! Spirits are restless! For he has awaken! Evil Lord Strix is breeding a new army to enslave all creatures from the Dragon Mountains. It is once again up to Mina and her best friend spirit Malik to travel to distant parts of the world and find clues how to open the passage to a hidden wasteland – Lord Strix’s lair. Meet different characters along your journey, help them and have them help you. Search and discover new places, but hurry! Lord Strix gets stronger by the minute!
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Tales From the Dragon Mountain 1 and 2 are both point and click, hidden item adventure/puzzle games from developer Cateia Games and publisher Ocean Media – both of whom specialise in such titles, previously releasing the likes of Myths of Orion and Black Rainbow.

The gameplay in all of Cateia Games’s titles are essentially the same. You’re presented with a scene and you have to navigate your way around, locating objects and solving puzzles – typically by finding items and using those items to unlock other items and/or areas. You can also, like typical RPGs, combine items in your inventory; such as making bread from the ingredients you find, or setting a fire with the matches you found in a draw, or as you do early in the first game, uncovering a super-creepy face in a wooden plank! Thankfully the Switch’s touchscreen is built for games such as these – such a shame then that the screen size hinders your discovery of items. I honestly found myself either squinting at the screen or using the “show objects” hint waaaay too many times.

Whilst the touchscreen works well, playing both games in docked mode is just… weird. Developer Cateia Games have chosen to replicate mouse-like controls using only the right joycon: the right stick is the pointer control and the ZR trigger is a mouse click. Though the ZR button was, in both games, incredibly unresponsive and light years from the smoothness and responsiveness of a finger on the touchscreen. Though the biggest question has to be why just ONE joycon? And why not one of the regular A/B/Y/X buttons for a mouse click? Using the ZR trigger works, it’s just an odd choice. Not a game-breaking choice but a strange choice nonetheless.

There are also reportedly times, in docked mode, where you can’t actually complete tasks in the game as the pointer doesn’t move fast enough! It’s not something I experienced as I played both games predominantly in handheld mode; only docking the Switch to experience that mode purely for the purpose of this review.

In terms of graphics it’s VERY hard to not do these types of static hidden object badly; and to be fair to both games the scenes look good. Unfortunately then that both Tales From the Dragon Mountain games feature blurry cutscenes when the game progresses the story. It’s an odd sdevelopment and one that I’ve not experienced in any other Cateia Games/Ocean Media release. The only explanation I can think of is that the developers have compressed the game too much to enable a faster download? Because both games downloaded very fast and a quick check of the filesizes revealed that both titles are under 500mb (Part 1 is 215mb and Part 2 is 399mb), whereas Myths of Orion is 1.1Gb. But hey, that could be me clutching at straws for an explanation as to why these two games, in their cutscenes, look like badly encoded PS2 releases… The Switch isn’t THAT underpowered guys!

If you enjoy these kinds of point and click adventures you’ll probably have a decent time with the Tales From the Dragon Mountain games. It’s just a shame they don’t measure up to some of the other Cateia Games/Ocean Media point and click adventure titles.

Tales From the Dragon Mountain 1 and 2 are both available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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