Publisher: 505 Gamestreet
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2 via wifi
I was actually surprised that Draglade isn’t based on a Japanese anime TV series. It looks like it should be however, and its bright and brash stylings come from firm roots in a thousand Japanese cartoons.
Draglade is a real surprise, it’s a strangely addictive action/fighting RPG, with a totally unique style of gameplay – yeah I know you’ve heard that before but this time someone has actually produced a game with a unique gimmick that actually enhances the gameplay, as well as making it more customisable and individualistic than most other games.
Draglade’s story is pretty simple. You play as one of four customisable characters who are on a quest to become a "Master Grapper". Yep, I said GRAPPER. Grappers use a weapon known as a G-Con which creates unique weapons with which you can bash your opponent into submission. After wandering around for a bit (in simple 2D flip-screen RPG-style) and talking to some of your friends (and your grumpy Dad), you set off to earn your Grap license and meet up with a new friend called Yuki.
Fights are done side-on in the classic 2D fighting game mould. Draglade’s “special little something” is its beat mechanic, a feature that really sets the game apart. On one side you have a gentle RPG with Soul Calibur-type fighting, and then you have rhythm mechanic of something like Beat Mania. The bottom screen displays a "beat bar” that you can use to create some massive combos. During a fight you can tap the ‘L’ button to start a combo, and here timing your button presses right is the key, because if you miss one then your combo is over and your character is left open for a possible counter attack. These 12 note, 12 hit combos are totally customisable in an editor called the Dragon Sequencer (DS, see?), and so is the tune that plays along with them. It’s very cool and satisfying to finish an enemy off with a combo of your own design, accompanied by a choon of your own making, in a tone of your choosing!
At first, the various menus and selection screens seem overly complicated but after a while you do get used to them - initially I found myself fiddling around in the menus for far too long though, which is not a good sign. When all is said and done, Draglade is a pleasant enough little adventure, but it could have used some more variation in the core beat 'em up gameplay or more exploration, because it does get repetitive quickly.
- Bright & colourful with nice animation
- 4 customisable characters to play as
- Fighting mechanics work well
- Making your own combos in the Dragon Sequencer
- Very linear and gets repetitive quickly