KnowTechie Team Reviews: Dragalia Lost
Overall, a solid experience that might not be for everyone.
Dragalia Lost being Nintendo’s first true attempt at the ultra-popular “gacha-style” mobile game type had us at KnowTechie worried. Between the lot of us, Josh Knowles has sunk a pretty penny into Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and at least two or three others that are dependent on what’s new and good. Josiah Motley is no different, dropping money on literally any mobile game he downloads. He has a problem.
With that prior knowledge, we went into Dragalia Lost with fairly tempered expectations. Somehow, someway, Dragalia Lost fails at the core expectations of a mobile gacha game while still managing to do almost everything right.
The gacha aspects of Dragalia Lost are crowded at best. A pull can net you either a new character, dragon, or wyrmprint, in order of most desirable. Characters can be continually improved upon and are able to equip dragons and wyrmprints (which are special cards that add buffs to a character). The better rarity that the pull is, the stronger it starts off and the larger level cap it has.
Combat and exploration simply require players to navigate around the screen by pushing your finger along the screen and attacking requires getting close and clicking on enemies. There is some more depth through the different cards and dragon abilities, but that’s the basics.
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I actually really enjoy Dragalia Lost, outside of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, it’s the mobile game I play the most. However, there’s a bit of a warning here to anyone considering downloading it. The game requires a fairly significant amount of grinding to be decent at it.
That wouldn’t normally be an issue, but with the Secret of Mana-esque gameplay, Dragalia Lost is quite demanding of your attention. This isn’t a game that you can really play passively and if you happen to look away long enough for your phone to turn the screen off, you will be kicked from your mission, even if it happens while loading. There’s even more grind in relation to growing your kingdom, as managing the time it takes to do anything leaves you wanting to be able to efficiently do more.
If you have enough free time to spend a few minutes uninterrupted running missions and completing quests, you will have a lot of fun with Dragalia Lost. It’s stupidly easy to be decent at the game and with a bit of patience, even the toughest content is passable for those that don’t want to spend money. Even though it is difficult to get the highest rarity characters or dragons, there really isn’t any significant bottlenecks. Also, you can skip story cutscene and the game with hive you a brief tldr, how cool is that?!
It bricked my phone so I said fuck it and just played my dumb Hex Puzzle game instead.
Okay, focus on the Lost part of the name, because just like the titular ABC drama if you’re not paying attention you’ll find yourself down a dark path with no clue about what’s going on. I think there’s a story about a prince wanting to get back his kingdom, and there’s some tenuous link between the royal bloodline and shapeshifting into dragons, but really it’s just a shallow vehicle for Nintendo to shovel your wallet into theirs.
I knew the paywall stuff would be here, just like every other mobile clicker aRPG – I just didn’t expect Ninty to throw it down my gullet quite so quickly. Oh, and there’s an “Auto” button so you don’t have to trouble your dainty fingers. Can it even be called an aRPG now? It’s closer to a Visual Novel with paid upgrades.
I’m picky when it comes to my mobile games. While I prefer titles like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes for my mobile RPG cravings, Dragalia Lost has been a charming experience that I’ve enjoyed being a part of.
The art style is right where I like it, the fighting (while somewhat simplistic) is fun and engaging, and the bright colors and sounds have me confirming App Store purchases with my thumb more often than I care to admit. I also like that I can upgrade my castle and buildings. There’s a little bit of everything in Dragalia Lost.
The store is interesting, but often times you’ll be skipping those and reading the helpful story summary screens instead. If you like the art style and clicky RPG phone games, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Dragalia Lost’s presentation looks solid, the graphics are sharp, and it’s presented out in a really nice way. Combat is oddly satisfying, similar to that other hack-n-slash game like Dynasty Warriors. You get to tap the screen a lot, which is a lot of fun.
There’s a lot of cut scenes and dialog which I found to be really annoying. I just want to play this fucking game. Thankfully, there’s “skip” option that summarizes the storyline of whatever mission you’re on. I needed Josh to point that out to me.
I really suck at gaming.
OMG, there’s so much downloading. After beating the first level, you have to download an additional file that’s 202MB. Again, 202MB just for one level. That’s pretty intense. Be sure you’re connected to WiFi or say bye bye to your precious data limit.
Overall, I spent an hour with this game before realizing it’s not for me. I just want to play the game, I don’t want to spend 10-mins before each mission reading stuff and having to find different ways to make my character better. It’s a mobile game, which means it should be quick and straight to the point.
But then again, I was never really into these sort of games, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Overall, the experience with Dragalia Lost is a polished one. Whether or not you like that experience is up to you. If anime-style art, clicky aRPGs, and plenty of characters and unlockables (many for real $$$) are your thing, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Are you playing Dragalia Lost? How are you liking it? Let us know in the comments.
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