Three Dragons

by Tim Samoff profile

Fantasy
2015

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
When an adventurer sees a dragon, an adventurer slays a dragon., May 2, 2015
by CMG (NYC)

This is a very short game where the player, upon meeting an old man on the road, is randomly tasked with going on an adventure. The "adventure" itself happens immediately when dragons attack and need to be dealt with. But the old man appears to have shifty motivations behind enlisting the player's help, and perhaps the adventure isn't as random as it seems.

As far as storytelling goes, the ground covered here is basic, which is the point. This is a simple fable with a simple setting and simple characters. I only came across a few spelling and grammar mistakes, although there was one jarring programming error involving an elixir. Otherwise, on the programming side, the interface is nice and glossy.

What stands out is the combat. When you fight a dragon, it happens in real-time, with links appearing for you to launch an attack, defend yourself, or retreat. The dragon will continuously attack, and the text will progress, whether you click these links or not -- meaning that it will progress even faster if you do click them. Even though it's difficult to die, this mechanic gives a real sense of urgency to the battle.

The good thing here is that the combat feels like it has stakes, especially when your health, listed in the status bar, begins to deteriorate and flash red as the dragon deals damage. But the bad thing is that, in a text-based medium, this gameplay style encourages you to click links without pausing to read the text, since pausing might allow the dragon to hurt you.

The game also gives the appearance of branching at some points, but most of the branches I picked were dead ends. For example, when you're given the choice to speak with the old man, rob him, or just walk away, only speaking with him will advance the story properly. I see this a lot in CYOAs, where the player will have multiple options to select from, but only as a kind of illusion to suggest there's more choice than there is. In reality, the game has a linear path it wants you to take, and if you don't take it, you lose.

I had to restart this game quite a few times when I picked the wrong option. Since it's so short, that wasn't a hassle exactly, but it did detract from the experience when I found myself wondering why this was necessary to finish such a simple story.


Comments on this review

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timsamoff, May 2, 2015 - Reply
Thanks for the review! Id love to know where the spelling/grammar mistakes are and how you experienced the elixir bug (although I think I found it).
timsamoff, May 3, 2015 - Reply
The new version (1.2.1) is available!
timsamoff, May 3, 2015 - Reply
Cool. Thank you. I will fix these things where I find them.

Im also working on a new version with better (more subtle) elixir logic.
CMG, May 2, 2015 - Reply
The programming error popped up when (Spoiler - click to show)the old man gave me the elixir for free and I drank it. I wouldn't be able to remember every spelling/grammar mistake without replaying it again, but I do remember that "reins" was misspelled as "reigns," quotation marks were once used instead of an apostrophe, and a few places had odd spacing.
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