My Fantastic Ranch Review: My First Management Sim

My Fantastic Ranch, developed by Piece of Cake Studios and published by Nacon, is an adorably chibi-fied ranch management sim where you raise dragons and unicorns with the goal of becoming the most highly-regarded ranch in the kingdom. It’s definitely targeted more towards kids, with a fairly simple gameplay loop and not a ton of content, but more casual adult gamers can find a few hours of fun in this vibrant fantasy world. Serious dragon enthusiasts and gamers looking for a deep management sim may want to give this one a pass, however.

The game is available on all major platforms, but for the purposes of this review, I’m playing on PC.


My Fantastic Ranch boasts colorful and charming stylized visuals. The chibi, somewhat blocky character models have an almost paper-craft quality to them, giving the world a storybook feel which suits it so well. The models stand out from the pastel scenery, and overall the world feels cohesive.

The UI is pretty simple, clean, and easy to navigate. There’s not much in the way of menus or gameplay options, making it accessible to kids. There’s an in-game codex which contains gameplay tips, explanations of game icons, and some in-game achievements.

The game has two game modes to pick from: a normal mode that serves as the campaign, and a “dreamer” mode that allows free creative play. The tutorial is easy to follow and goes by quickly, and I appreciate that there’s an option to skip it in the pause menu.

There’s only a bit of voice-acting, from the fairy character who walks you through the tutorial and advises you throughout the rest of the game, and surprisingly, it isn’t grating or annoying. Kids in particular should find it cute. The rest of the sound design is fine, and the music is pretty calming, though it could use a little more variety to fill in some silent gaps.


Obviously, given the subject of this blog, I was most interested in the dragons, so I focused my ranch entirely on them and completely ignored the unicorns (I’ll let Alice over at The Mane Quest handle that someday).

Personally, I think the dragons are the cutest part of the game, but they still retain plenty of dragon-ness in both appearance and personality. I appreciate that they’re visually distinct enough from the unicorns while still being cutie-fied. Both dragons and unicorns have four elemental types, unique to each species, with the dragons being based on the traditional elements: fire, water, air, and earth. The various elemental types have different basic designs and colors. Water-types will have fin-like jaw frills, air-types have feathery wings and accents, and fire-types are a bit spikier and toothier. Earth dragons are the most visually distinct, with stockier bodies that make them look a bit like adorable baby rhinos as they lumber around. There’s also a rare design for each type that have the most unique appearances, drawing the most inspiration from their respective elements.

The dragon’s animations are particularly stand-out. They have such personality; they’ll look overjoyed to be trotting around a pasture or balancing on a circus ball, and they may stretch and yawn sleepily while curled up on the ground. They’ll hold their heads up in triumphant smugness when they hit a target, but they’ll also look dejected with droopy wings when they miss. The animations can definitely be a bit floaty at times, though. The dragons tend to slide across the ground when they turn or when they jump up the rocks in the aerobatics lesson. There’s a lot of motion with their wings, which is a great detail, but those movements don’t always match up physics-wise with the rest of the body. But, given the extremely stylized nature of the game, I don’t feel these hiccups detract much from the charm. Overall, My Fantastic Ranch is a great example of cartoony, stylized dragons done well.

Four dragons at target practice. The far one missed!


The goal in My Fantastic Ranch is to create the most famous magical creature ranch in all the land, and to impress the prince and princess of the kingdom. In the campaign mode of the game, you start off by meeting Ferilita, the fairy who advises you on ranch matters. She walks you through the tutorial, which sees you setting up a tack room, individual stalls for your critters, a barn for food, and fields for various activities like free-roaming and lessons. You’ll also hire staff to help care for your creatures by feeding them and cleaning their enclosures.

Once you’re all set up, you’ll choose a dragon or unicorn to get started with. The game definitely expects you to end up with a mix of both (more on this shortly), but I was able to easily get through the full campaign without any unicorns. But doing so does limit you slightly in some minor ways. You’ll have three creatures to pick from, and you can spend gems (the in-game currency) to re-roll your selection, which randomizes the creature type, elemental, appearance, and name. You’ll find out later that this also automatically resets at the beginning of each in-game week, if you don’t want to spend the money (though for adult players, this very quickly becomes a non-issue).

Staff, students, and dragons are all quite diverse in appearance.

After this, visitors will start pouring in to your ranch to take lessons with your creatures. You’ll start with Dressage lessons available. I don’t know much about Dressage, but I think it’s a bit more involved than this game makes out; Dressage lessons here basically involve a student riding around in circles on the back of a creature. Lessons always require you to select a staff member to teach them, a student, and a creature. All of these individuals have badges that provide certain benefits like gems or experience, and they’ll all gain additional badges through training. Pairing up these badges in lessons nets additional bonuses. And here we meet one of the few limitations of a dragon-only ranch: about half of the students that visit will have a unicorn badge, so they’ll get less rewards from doing lessons with dragons. That said, I only had an issue optimizing lesson spots at the tail end of the game, when I’d maxed out my creature slots with all dragons.

There’s four lesson types total: in addition to Dressage, we have Target Practice, Circus, and Aerobatics. These are pretty self-explanatory, and they all have their own cute animations. Staff can teach two to four students at a time for lessons, depending on the badges they have. Teaching lessons nets you gems and reputation, which is your experience towards leveling up. Your progression is soft-locked behind specific tasks, usually like teaching a certain number of a specific lesson type, or completing a tournament or festival, which you’ll unlock as you progress. Tournaments are basically higher-level versions of your lessons (and happen off-screen). Festivals involve putting on a four-act show of different lesson types to impress the prince and princess while they are visiting your ranch. They’ll ask to see specific types of creatures; they asked for a certain dragon type during my first one, and one each of a certain dragon and unicorn for the second one. Even though I didn’t enter a unicorn, I still managed to pass and reach the final experience level of the game. There’s one more festival level after that, even though the campaign has technically ended, but I’m not sure how hard that will be to pass if you can’t meet the specific requirements of the prince and princess. But, if you’re playing a mixed ranch, it shouldn’t be difficult to achieve at all.

There’s a pretty simple happiness system for your creatures, based on how hungry they are and how much energy they have. Happiness will typically drop after lessons, but with a fully-staffed ranch, they’re back to maximum happiness pretty quickly. By the end of the game, all of my dragons were walking around with near-permanent happy eyes.

Silly behavior during Dressage lessons. Note the trainer freaking out in the background for extra lols.

That’s about it for the main gameplay loop of My Fantastic Ranch. You’ll conduct lessons, let your staff automatically care for your creatures, and enter tournaments and festivals. You unlock dorms to allow students to enroll full-time in your lessons, but I’m not exactly sure what additional benefit this provides besides some extra bonuses after lessons. You also have a small assortment of aesthetic items like paths, benches, and fountains that you can place around your ranch, but again, I don’t think these actual do anything besides make it look nicer. You’ve got the option to donate unwanted creatures to the kingdom for a small amount of gems, but this became pretty pointless except to make room for new dragons. Finally, your critters are also prone to what the game calls “silly behavior” which I find nauseatingly cute. They may randomly start running around your ranch or causing a ruckus in lessons until you click on them. I think this will negatively affect lesson bonuses and festival results if it happens, but it’s super minor. Kids will get a good kick out of this, and the antics are all quite different depending on the lesson they’re happening in.


Most of my issues lie with a general lack of content, but I’ll start with some technical bugs and nitpicks. The camera controls are the first hitch I really noticed. Overall the camera isn’t the worst, but trying to pan with the mouse while zoomed all the way in sends the camera flying backwards, which made it difficult to get up-close views of my dragons until I switched to basically only using the keyboard camera controls.

You’ll get timed tasks that pop up throughout the game which net you a little extra money and experience, but they have an annoying habit of showing up right after you do something that would have fulfilled them. I gave up on those pretty quickly after I kept filling up all my lesson spots to look down and see I now had a task to start a new lesson, forcing me to wait until all the in-progress ones were done.

Overall, the game ran smoothly for me. There’s some bugs present, but nothing game-breaking or that couldn’t be fixed by re-loading from the main menu. The worst bug I encountered was that paths wouldn’t show up, even while placing them, until the game was reloaded. Nobody seems to have any sort of programming to follow any paths though, so they’re purely aesthetic, which again resulted in a feature I completely abandoned. Icons will pop up to alert you to problems, like silly behavior shenanigans or an empty feed barn, but occasionally they’d show up in the completely wrong direction on my screen, sending me on a wild goose chase across my ranch. I only saw a few other minor bugs, like visitors getting stuck on fences, or dragons in lessons getting stuck when I’d get pop-up notifications, but those were easily fixable in game. There’s some minor graphical issues: the dragon’s eye color peeks through the edges of their closed eye texture, and there’s no collision for models, resulting in everyone walking through everyone else, which I find annoying, but kids probably won’t care.

I’d love to see the observation seats in use during lesson and festivals. Why have them otherwise?

The biggest issue with My Fantastic Ranch by far is a lack of content and a general feeling of being unfinished. I reached the end of the game’s main content in about four hours. Kids will make progress more slowly, but for adult audiences, the game definitely falls short. Some of this shows through in smaller ways: even though there are benches throughout your ranch and around the bigger set pieces like lesson arenas, visitors never utilize them. The creature and human designs are diverse and very pleasant to look at, but by the time you’re maxing out your 24 slots for everything, you’re seeing a lot of repeating names and designs.

But worst of all, the game basically tells you it’s unfinished. After passing the mid-tier festival and reaching level ten, you unlock access to the third and final expansion of your ranch. But a pop-up notifies you that you’ve reached the end of the game’s content, and unless you’re going to plop down seconds of all of your lesson arenas, there’s not a lot of ways to use this new space. It feels like the game basically transitions to creative mode at this point, with no real incentive to keep working on your ranch, especially given the complete excess of money you have at this point. The devs are pretty silent on whether they’ll provide any future content updates to the game, only saying in their Discord channel that it’s up to the publisher to decide. The gameplay loop is probably enough to keep kids invested for a little while longer at this point, but there’s not much left for anyone wanting more.


My Fantastic Ranch succeeds at creating a very simplified, family-friendly ranch management game with a cute magical animal theme. I think there’s some things the devs could have done to improve the game, while keeping it appropriate for kids; but I also think there’s a lot that could be taken from this game and expanded upon for an adult audience.

There’s a few small nitpicky items that I would have liked in my playthrough, like adding some sort of progress bar to lessons so you know how much time is left. The amount of decorative items is pretty small, enough so that I think even kids would quickly get bored of the options. As far as I can tell, there’s no ability to rename your creatures, and since the pre-generated names are fairly repetitive, this would be a welcome addition. I also think some sort of day/night cycle or other time representation would be helpful. Currently the game clock is only measured in days, with a few specific events happening on a weekly basis, but because the game proceeds at full force all the time with no change in daylight, those events feel like they come out of nowhere. Having the ranch only open for maybe a certain number of hours a day, with the closed hours maybe being spent on caring more actively for your creatures, could make a more interesting experience.

While simple, I do think there’s a lot to build off of in My Fantastic Ranch. I’d like to see more involved creature breeding and raising mechanics. What might happen if you could cross dragons of different elements? Raising baby dragons could be very fun, though I think it’d be important not to fall into the trap of just the usual basic caretaking mechanics: feeding, grooming, etc. If you’re going to do that, at this point I think it needs more than just a little mini-game showing you washing off your dragon. Maybe your quality of caretaking affects their growth, through appearance or temperament? The training lessons are a good basic start, but these too could be made more interactive through mini-games.

There’s an indie game called Dragon Creek which tackles this dragon-ranching gameplay, though it’s obviously a smaller project and still falls short in many ways. But there’s at least more interactivity involved in its training lessons, and it has a simple battle system to participate in with the dragons you’ve raised. Fortunately, there’s a lot of directions you could ultimately take for a game about dragon ranching. Dragons are great candidates for competitive battles (ala the Monster Rancher series), but you could also instead focus on something more peaceful like skill- or aesthetic-based competitions. Even some sort of RPG like the original Digimon World could provide a good basis for a modern dragon raising game. It seems like most games in the animal ranching genre, whether they’re about horses or something more magical, fall into many of the same trappings of grindy, unsatisfying gameplay loops with little payoff. What do games like Viva Piñata, Bugsnax, and Slime Rancher (or heck, even the Chao garden in Sonic Adventure 2) do to create cute and charming creature raising games? Can we take some of those ideas and expand them into a dragon ranching sim that doesn’t just become a grind of hosing down your dragon and feeding them some meat? If you’re looking for a new game idea, maybe that’s something worth exploring.


At the end of the day, My Fantastic Ranch will provide several hours of enjoyment if you’re looking for something cute and relaxing, and kids will likely get even more mileage out of it. It’s definitely got a lot going for it in terms of style, even if its lacking in substance. But, it’s cute enough that even my husband was getting sucked in when he popped his head in during my playthrough. This would be a great “my first management sim” game for young audiences (I’d say ten or under; after that I think most would want something a little more meaty). There’s also some good, if really basic, bones here that could be expanded upon for a more in-depth ranching sim, should some other dev want to tackle that in the future. I picked the game up on sale for $11.99 USD, but I would hesitate to recommend it at the full price of $29.99 USD (and would outright advise against the $39.99 console price!). If you can grab it on sale, I think it’s worth spending a lazy, cozy afternoon with some adorable little magical creatures.

Century: Age of Ashes Review: High-Intensity Action with the Trappings of a Typical Free-to-Play Game

I’ll be honest, this is a difficult article to write, because I’m not the target audience for this game. I tend to bounce pretty hard off of multiplayer games, especially of the free-to-play variety. I just want to pay $40-$60 for a game that contains all of its content and not have to deal with grinding during limited-time seasons against other players who are just plain better than me.

I bring this up at the beginning so that my complaints about this game have context. This game was not made for me.

Despite this, Century: Age of Ashes is one of the dragon games I was most looking forward to trying out when I kicked off this blog. Century is a free-to-play multiplayer dragon-riding arena battle game developed by Playwing Games. I went into this one with mixed expectations (due to the aforementioned reasons) but the gameplay looked so smooth and satisfying that I just couldn’t resist. Plus, dragons!

I started out playing on the Xbox One version and switched to PC at a later time, so this review will contain a bit of both platforms.


First impressions upon booting up the Xbox One version of Century weren’t great, as the animated cutscene introducing us to the world stuttered all the way through (fortunately, this wasn’t a problem that persisted through the actual game). You’re sort of introduced to the world and background conflicts, but most of the game’s lore is given through walls of text in the game’s menus. Unfortunately, like in most modern console games, the developers don’t seem to think it’s worthwhile to make text that is easily readable on a TV from five feet away.

The game takes place over a number of PvP gamemodes, including classic deathmatches, a gold-hoarding mode (very appropriate thematically), and a sort of capture-the-flag match. In each of these modes, various powerups spawn throughout the maps, such as shields, extra boosting power, or health pickups. Spoils of War, which involves collecting as much gold as possible and returning it to your base, has extra items that spawn during the match, like a bomb to blow up the enemy team’s coffers, or a gem that grants additional points to the team holding it at the end of the match. These bonus items help to break up the standard gameplay loop, making Spoils of War more interesting and my personal favorite game mode to play.

It’s my understanding that the dev team is working on a highly-requested PvE mode to be included in a future update, which I’m very much looking forward to.


Currently, there are four playable classes in Century, each with their own unique species of dragon (technically speaking, wyverns, but we use dragons as a catch-all here, for simplicity’s sake). Three are available from the start, but the most recently added class, the Stormraiser, must be purchased. As far as I can tell, the dragons all control the same, with the only differences being aesthetics, health, and special abilities. All dragons have a basic fireball attack and a closer-range flame breath. Each class has a main ability, a passive ability, a berserk/rage mode ability, and an additional power that is selected from two options at the start of each match. The devs intend to keep adding classes in future updates, with the next due with the launch of Season 2 sometime later in October 2022. For now, here’s your options:

Bloodchaser – Marauder Class

The ultimate alpha predator, capable of smelling the scent of blood from the top of the mountains where it resides.

The Bloodchaser is dragon of choice for the Marauder class, and my personal favorite dragon design of the game. They’re the stockiest of the three free classes and just a beautiful example of a pretty classic dragon. Their thick head and large jaws definitely give off the appearance of a powerful hunter (though I lean more towards my dragons having lips as opposed to exposed teeth, which was likely the case for most dinosaurs).

Marauder’s are the tankiest class in the game, built almost entirely for killing. Their powers focus on dealing damage efficiently and slowing enemies with frost bolts, though you can go for a slightly more defensive build with the Gust ability which allows you to repel incoming fireballs. It’s an all-around good class to play, especially when starting out, since you can pretty much focus on hunting down enemies.

Ironwing – Winguard Class

It is said that seeing them in nature brings good fortune.
They rescue the brave in the darkest hours.

The Ironwing is a dragon obviously built for speed and maneuverability, with it’s smaller head, longer neck, and finned tail. It’s a bit sleeker than the Bloodchaser, with a bit less vicious nature and a lower tolerance for combat. Aesthetically speaking, this dragon falls just behind the Bloodchaser for me; overall it’s a strong design, though I feel like it’s blunter face makes it look a bit, I dunno, goblin-y? Which turns me off a bit.

That said, the Windguard became my most used class. This surprised me because it’s the game’s main support class, with abilities that heal, protect, and augment other players. The Windguard’s main ability is her Salvation Surge, which sends you careening across the map to heal and shield an ally player (I found this also incredibly useful for quick getaways). Otherwise, her Smoke Trail ability is fun and highly useful. I found this class to be the most all-around enjoyable and satisfying class to play because you can still hold your own in combat, while providing some valuable support to your teammates.

Nightsnagger – Phantom Class

A stealthy and terrifying creature.
Those whom she spares eternally fall into madness.

The Nightsnagger takes last place on my list of preferred Century dragons; I just am not a fan of bony, frail-looking, emaciated dragons. I like my dragons with a bit more meat and muscle on them. Overall its design is fine. It’s spiky and evil looking, and it does sell the concept of its class very well. It’s almost spectral in a way. Ok, maybe I do appreciate it more than I thought. But again, and I’m just noticing this as I write, why does its head also look like a goblin?

The Phantom class also ranks last for me personally, but a well-played Phantom is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It’s physically the weakest class in the game, with the lowest health, but its strengths lie in its stealth and sneakiness. The Mystic Shroud ability allows the player to go invisible for a short period (crucial for when someone is tailing you), and your first fireball from this stealth mode is more powerful. They also have the ability to drop mines to blow up unsuspecting enemies. I didn’t play the Phantom much – I struggled with using its abilities effectively – but I was taken out many times by a Phantom player.

Stonesnout – Stormraiser Class

With their burly physique, such dragon could crush an adventurer’s skull in a single blow. Don’t leave unattended.

The most recent dragon (and first class requiring purchase) added to the game, the Stonesnout is a drastically different design from the other existing dragons. It’s much thicker in the chest and neck, with a huge rhino-like horn on its snout. The number of straps around its neck definitely give it a bit of a barely-controlled beast vibe; it’s truly a fearsome opponent.

I didn’t go up against many Stormraisers, and have not purchased or played the class myself. It doesn’t seem like very much of the playerbase has either. And honestly, every time one showed up on the enemy team, I found they were quite annoying to play against, with their Chain Lightning ability that rocks your whole screen, and their Blinding Wave that does exactly what’s on the label. Playing against them isn’t so bad to be rage-inducing, but could be a bit frustrating.

The dragons in Century are beautiful well-designed in my opinion, with a diverse range of colors and appearances across all the available skins (see below for an assortment of skins I’ve earned). I only wish there was a more quality photo mode in the game so that I could admire them even better outside of menus or attempting to snag lucky screenshots during matches! The best we get is the “Overview” option when customizing your classes, but that’s limited to a dragon and rider stationary on a cliffside. I’d love to be able to turn off the HUD (if there’s an option for this, I couldn’t find it for the life of me) during free flight mode, just to enjoy admiring my hard-earned dragons.


The gameplay is where Century truly shines. This may be one of the first games I’ve played that straight up feels like you’re playing an action movie. Flight and combat is fast-paced, intense, sometimes nerve-wracking, and at times frustrating. But I legitimately had more than one occasion of jumping off the couch and yelling because I pulled out of an extremely tense moment. The way your dragon dashes around the map is viscerally satisfying and the devs were successful in making their dragons feel like huge, strong beasts with their powerful wingstrokes and whipping tails. The animations can get a bit wonky if you’re swiping quickly back and forth, but otherwise his is the most fun I’ve had in a long time when it comes to purely controlling a dragon.

The high-intensity action is unfortunately difficult to capture well in a low-res, low framerate gif.

The level design is strong; every map has a plethora of nooks and caves and ruins to dive through while in pursuit or while being pursued. And the powerups scattered around the levels encourage some degree of exploration. There’s a bit of resource management in play as well: you’ll spend a good bit of time boosting around the map at full speed, but that requires a careful balance of picking up boost powerups, or navigating to specific sections of the map to recharge your boosting abilities.

Level design is varied and interesting. Having a good knowledge of the maps will serve you well.

On the negative/nitpicky side: with all the intricate level design, I’d love the ability to stop and land, or to grab onto the sides of cliffs as a defensive/strategic measure. With the main gameplay loop being so focused on speed and agility, this could possibly open up some interesting gameplay variety. I’ve seen players try to pull something like this off anyway by hiding in a corner of a cave and hovering in place, or by flying directly into walls to cause your pursuer to do the same. I’m also starting to feel at this point that I’d like a few more maps to play on, but I think we can expect more with future updates.

As mentioned before, the dragons themselves have good visual variety, but I wish there was a bit more customization in terms in dragon/class abilities. Not so much between classes, but I wouldn’t mind some extra options when choosing your abilities, even if these were locked behind leveling up or otherwise acquiring them.

You can get new dragons in a few ways: hatching dragon eggs, or purchasing adult dragons in the Dragon Pass or in the store. You’re given three free eggs right off the bat, one for each of the free classes. After hatching them, you must complete a series of simple quests (such as achieving X number of kills and so on) to grow your dragon into adulthood. First of all, the baby dragons are adorable and I want more of them. I also felt more invested in the dragons I had “raised” than any ones I’d purchased from the shop/Dragon Pass. Now the only way to get new eggs is to grind enough silver coins to buy one of the few available on rotation in the store (or purchase them with gems, the real-money currency), and then you have to grind more to hatch and raise it, which soured the experience a bit. Overall I like the egg hatching mechanic much more than just buying dragons, but I don’t like how much of a grind it is to get an egg and then get it to adulthood.

So stinkin’ cute!

A few short notes on the differences between the Xbox One version and the PC version: it plays and looks better on PC, unsurprisingly. I’ve seen a bit of an argument within the playerbase that PC players don’t have an inherent advantage while using mouse and keyboard with the ability to change your mouse sensitivity. Having put some time in on both systems, I have to say that’s a load of BS because I was almost immediately a noticeably better player when I swapped off console. I found I could turn way faster and more easily keep enemies in sight than I could while using a controller. The Xbox One version is also disappointingly low-resolution when compared to PC. I’m not sure how this compares to current-gen consoles, but I noticed a lot of texture pop-in, and the carrier dragons in the Spoils of War gamemode were so low-poly they looked like they could belong in the PS2-era. The game is prone to crashing on both versions, moreso on Xbox, and I saw various visual bugs and glitches on both. But I never felt like it was unplayable either way, and the Xbox One version is perfectly serviceable if that’s what you have.


The Dragon Pass is Century’s solution to monetizing the game.

So I want to reiterate the point I made at the beginning of this article: I am not a good target for free-to-play games. I am not what one might call, a “whale.” I spent a whopping five US dollars on this game, just to get enough gems to unlock the Dragon Pass so that I could say I could.

Alright, I’ve mentioned it a few times, so, what is the Dragon Pass system in Century: Age of Ashes? Added along with the start of Season One, Dragon Pass appears to be the game’s take on the monetization aspect of free-to-play games. All items in the pass, which range from new dragons and dragon armor, to customization options for your rider and profile, can be purchased with stars earned from leveling up. And you can even buy a limited amount of items without putting any actual money into the game. However, the vast majority of items require you to buy the premium pass before using your earned stars.

The Dragon Pass is separated into a number of tiers, with various rewards spread across them. You can reach higher tiers by purchasing a certain number of lower tier items first, or by leveling. Somehow I missed this fact at first, so I spent all my stars on various lower-tier items I didn’t really want to try and unlock the higher ones. Eventually I realized and grinded it out until level 20, only to learn that the dragon I wanted, being the highest reward for that specific tier, required purchasing all other items on that tier. So back to grinding to get enough stars to get even more items I didn’t want, or couldn’t even use. Because, you see, some of those items are class-specific armor and weapons which might not be for the class I primarily use, and some of them are even for the class that I don’t even own (the one that requires actual money, or 20k silver coins).

It’s my understanding that you need to reach level 100 to purchase all items in the pass, including the bonus tier items.

I felt like this monetization scheme was pretty unfair at first, but my opinion did shift a bit when I picked the game up again on PC about a month later. I’d binged pretty hard for a few days when I first picked the game up and wasn’t completing any more daily and weekly quests, which ground my XP gain to a halt. But with Season One still ongoing when I returned to the game, I was able to level up enough over the course of a few days to get the second dragon I really wanted from the pass, and I still have a while to go if I want (with Season One not ending until sometime in mid-October). So, even if it’s still a bit of a grind, it seems like there’s plenty of time for most players to get at least some good rewards from the pass.

Otherwise, antsy players are welcome to spend real-world currency on gems to buy new dragons, armor, etc. in the shop. I’m in no way opposed to throwing down $60 or so, as if I’d paid for a full price game. But most dragons in the shop are $15-$25 worth of gems for a dragon, an armor set, and a weapon for your rider. I’m going to hit that $60 limit pretty quick. And I’m sure each new season is going to be bringing shiny new classes and dragons to tempt players with. Some shop options are available for purchase with silver coins, which you earn from gameplay, but those are also quite expensive and you’re much more limited in your options.

Even on sale, I feel the shop prices are too high when you already have to purchase the battle pass each season.

Overall, I find the Dragon Pass system confusing with too many layers. I like hatching eggs more than buying adult dragons, but it feels entirely too grindy under the current system. This season’s pass is also heavily weighted towards the new class; most skins and rider customization options are for the Stormraiser, leaving those of us who like other classes a bit in the dust. I feel like one of Century’s biggest issues is not being new-player friendly. There’s not enough drip-fed content to keep new players interested, and monetization aspect is a bit too confusing at first. There’s already a very small player base post launch; as of August 31st, 2022, the game had an average player count of approximately 175 on Steam, peaking at 312 for the month. Season One launched in July which brought an large influx of new players, but the player base (at least on Steam) dropped over 30% by August.

I don’t have much experience with free-to-play games, so I don’t have a great basis for comparison for Century’s monetization scheme. And I don’t know enough of the behind-the-scenes numbers to know if this game is profitable for Playwing at this point. But despite some really fun, unique, intense gameplay perfect for dragon lovers, I just don’t think new players have much incentive to stick around long, especially when the small player base results in a bunch of highly skilled users that stomp newcomers right off the bat. I can see myself picking this game back up occasionally to fulfill that high-intensity dragon dogfighting urge, but I tend to lose interest after I’ve done a lot of grinding in a short period of time. That said, it’s free, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you love high-intensity dragon gameplay. Maybe the free-to-play model will work out better for the devs in the long run, but I can’t help but be left wishing that Century: Age of Ashes was simply a polished single player experience at a good price point.

Century: Age of Ashes is currently available on PC and Xbox platforms. Playstation releases are incoming, hopefully by the launch of the next season.

Gedda Cake Demo Review – Super Sweet, Without the Tummy Ache

I talked about Gedda Cake previously on this blog, but I hadn’t been able to check out the demo yet at that time. And seeing as developer Flannel Bear Games launched their Kickstarter for Gedda Cake last week, now seems like the perfect time to give it a try. At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign is roughly 25% funded, so they have some ground to cover before the campaign closes on August 11th, 2022. I enjoyed the demo enough to back the full campaign and hope that you’ll give it a look as well.

Gedda Cake is a pixel art 2D metroidvania action-platformer. That genre is super saturated these days, but I think this game is bringing enough to the party to make it stand out. While this one is a much less traditional dragon game than I’d like to talk about on this blog, the lore and charming playable characters makes it worth a look.

Disclaimer: This will contain some light spoilers for the demo, if you care about that sort of thing.


In this game, you play as six young dragon siblings (Galacteon Draconis). Obviously, they aren’t exactly what most people picture when they think of dragons — there’s no leathery wings or razor fangs here. But those of you who prefer dragons with lots of personality over mindless beasts will find a lot to love here. So far, four of the playable characters have been revealed, and the remaining two will be shown off during the rest of the Kickstarter campaign.


Gedda’s love for food is immediately apparent.

The Galacteon Draconis of Leadership, attuned to the element of fire.

Gedda is the lazy brother and the leader. He is driven by food and just mentioning the word “cake” is enough to make him act. If it is edible, he is after it.

Gedda is the first playable dragon you meet. He’s round and red, with a belly that reminds me of Totoro, making him immediately endearing. But under his chubby exterior lies an explosive fire breath which can propel him backwards into dangerous situations in the game. He’s more of a drake than a proper dragon, with four limbs and no wings, but no less adorable. He seems to care very little about the plight of his missing siblings, only jumping to action at the mention of his lost cakes.

You regain health by eating cupcakes, and I love watching Gedda chow down.


Piccky makes a dramatic entrance.

The Galacteon Draconis of Humility, attuned to the element of water.

Piccky is the difficult sister and the fancy one of the group. She does not have patience with anyone besides Saline and is known for her snarky comments.

The other available character in the demo, Piccky, is drake adapted to life in the water. She wastes little time and energy explaining things to her brother; a lady of her stature has more important things to do. Her animations especially help show off her somewhat frilly personality, with her fancy little fan and her penchant for striking poses. Unlike Gedda’s more aggressive playstyle, Piccky fights with more precision and grace. Even if she’s a bit on the prissy side, she holds her own in combat.

Timing her attacks well results in extra damage.


Grabbu’s design is drastically different than the first two playable characters.

The Galacteon Draconis of Stability, attuned to the element of earth.

Grabbu is short-tempered, reckless, and is not known for using his brain often. He is all about punching first, and punching even more later.

Having not had the chance to play as Grabbu yet, all I can comment on is his design. He is more of a lindwurm, with a snake-like body and two forelimbs. I also like how he almost a bit Viking-inspired, judging by his horns and fluffy shoulders, and his apparent love of a good glass of (root?) beer. Everything you need to know about his personality can be summed up by this clip:


The ‘rocks-for-brains’ earth type is a bit of a played out stereotype, but at least the devs seem to be leaning hard into it and making it fun.


Look at the fluffy curly tail!!

The Galacteon Draconis of Serenity, attuned to the element of ice.

Catchoo is easily stressed, anxious and scared of almost anything. All she wants is to stay in her comfort zone. She is beloved by all her siblings.

Catchoo, the fourth playable dragon, was just revealed and she is the most adorable of them all! She’s a little fur-covered dragon, with horns like a Bantha and a cozy little ruff around her neck. And she has the cutest name. Much like myself, Catchoo loves tea, a good blanket, and comfort foods. And unlike her siblings, she is not made for hand-to-hand combat, preferring to attack enemies with ice magic from afar. Her playstyle is drastically different than anything we’ve seen so far, so I’m excited to see how that impacts combat in the full game.

Catchoo’s playstyle focuses on ranged attacks.

The Sacaritis

A few Sacariti NPCs you will meet throughout the game.

Sacaritis are another race of small, salamander-like creatures that serve as caretakers for the dragons and the world of Sugria. Each playable dragon has a Sacariti companion, who have distinct personalities that play off of their respective dragons. Sinder, bottom left above, keeps Gedda moving in the right direction, while Saline, bottom right above, is a more polite bridge between Piccky and the other characters. Sacaritis take up residence in the game’s main city of Salamandria, which will be slowly rebuilt as you rescue them around the world.


The game is set on the sugar-coated lands of Sugria, with at least 10 sweet-themed areas ranging from a chocolate jungle, a syrup cave, and an ocean of flan. In this universe, sugar is the most powerful source of energy from which all life ultimately formed. The Galacteon Draconis — children of the origin dragon — have lived and grown on Sugria for eons, until the other races grow tired of serving them. With most of the dragon siblings imprisoned and The Cakes (their food and energy source) hidden away, it’s up to the last sibling, Gedda, to rescue his brothers and sisters and get the cake.

While I have some questions regarding the morality of playing somewhat deified dragons to fight off other races that are in revolt, the story has just the right amount of cheek and charm without feeling cheesy. The worldbuilding is well thought out while at the same time leaving enough for the player to fill in with their own imagination. All of the characters seen so far have distinct and interesting personalities. I want to give special props to the writing and dialogue; plenty of indie games try too hard to be witty with drawn-out, quippy dialogue that just ends up somewhat grating. Gedda Cake, however, strikes a wonderful balance of being charming without wasting the players’ time. And as a bonus, each individual character has their own adorable dialogue noises.

The underwater sections have cute glowing lollipops in the background.

Graphically, the game’s pixel art style is, for the most part, gorgeous and cohesive. The world is vibrant, with hints of sugary sweets like lollipops and strawberries scattered through the background. Characters have absolutely adorable designs and animations, like Gedda’s round little belly that jiggles when he walks. Fighting animations are dynamic; it feels like there’s a lot of weight and action behind the movements. But I’m not a fan of Piccky’s running animation. The way her tails curls under makes it look like she’s propelling herself along the ground with it. (Update 8/29/2022: The devs have let me know they’ve updated Piccky’s run animation based on this feedback, and it looks a lot better!) Overall, the game is a joy to look at, full of bright colors without being garish, and things like enemy elemental type and race are easily readable.

Piccky’s running animation just looks a bit off.

Some enemies, in particular these plants that shoot rocks at the player, blend in with the background too much and are difficult to see. I couldn’t count the number of times I ran right up on one without realizing it was there. There’s also some slight readability issues where some things like doors and log platforms look like background objects, but you do learn to spot and understand them quickly.

My last graphical complaint pertains to the game world: on a planet made entirely of sugar, with syrup mines and chocolate jungles, I would like to see the aesthetics lean more in the direction. We get some of that already, especially with the cupcakes you eat to restore health, the power pickups being cakes, and sugar cubes being the currency of the world. But I think the devs could push that further and create something even more unique. Occasional background trees could look like marshmallows or something, or we see some pink and blue cotton candy clouds. I don’t think it would even hurt to add more unnatural colors to some trees, rocks, grass, etc. Maybe future level design could provide more of this, but I don’t think it could hurt to inject more liquid sugar sweetness into these early levels.

Not making these crystal look like rock candy seems like a missed opportunity.

Gedda Cake‘s core gameplay mechanic is switching between characters, each with their own playstyles. This occurs quickly and smoothly once you get the hang of it, and by the end of the demo, swapping between the two available playable characters starts to feel very satisfying. The first two dragons are distinct enough in their mechanics that it’s generally clear when you need to switch, and the game takes advantage of both their playstyles. With six characters total in the full game, I hope the rest continue to be so distinct and useful.

Other main mechanics of the game include an elemental system and a day/night system. Each dragon is attuned to a specific element, as are Sugria’s many enemies. You need to play smart, swapping characters strategically as they are more or less effective against different elemental matchups. You’ll take double damage from a type you’re weak against, while also not being able to cause any damage yourself. Swapping characters is quick and easy enough that it blends smoothly with this elemental system, and it forces the player to not stick with only one dragon. This interplay really strengthens the core combat mechanics. The day/night system is simple enough, with the player able to fast forward time at rest points. The change is not simply a visual one, however. Tougher enemies (and sometimes even entire boss fights) show up at night.

Some enemies require you to switch characters to defeat them. Piccky can’t damage this monster when it’s covered in plant matter. Gedda can burn that off, but he then is susceptible to the creature’s water attacks.

My first playthrough of the demo was honestly a bit rough, especially at the beginning. Gedda has a playstyle that makes fighting enemies on small platforms difficult, given his tendency to thrust forward when he attacks. The earliest areas didn’t necessarily feel like they were made for him and the way he plays. Difficulty is a core part of this game anyway, but the beginning felt especially punishing. Things started to feel a lot smoother once I unlocked the second character. However, between trying out the demo and writing this article, the devs took in a lot of feedback and made some tweaks to these beginning areas. The difficultly curve felt much better to me on a second playthrough. This new version of the demo is live now, so I encourage anyone who had tried the game previously to give it a second look and see how it feels.

There are some minor polish issues, like hitboxes extending past platform boundaries which made me hit my head while jumped occasionally.

A few last points on how the game plays: one, it’s more difficult than I expected, given the cute aesthetic and theming. But that’s not a bad thing; for the most part, it felt fair, and most difficult situations could be overcome by slowing down and approaching the problem differently. There are three difficulty levels (I was playing on the normal difficulty), as well as extensive assist options for those that want or need it. The only real issue I had with difficulty in the end was that sometimes it was hard to see offscreen enemies, like the plants or the final boss, both of which fire projectiles at the player. Not being able to see where those projectiles were coming from was definitely frustrating. I also started the demo with keyboard controls which was a mistake on my part (as I play way more often with a controller), but controllers are well supported and the game felt much tighter once I swapped off of my keyboard. I had some issues with overall game polish, like Gedda hitting his head a lot while jumping, or platform hitboxes extending past corners. The level design can feel a bit claustrophobic, almost like there’s not quite enough room between floor and ceiling. The platforming overall was a weaker part of the game for me, but I don’t feel like it negatively impacted my experience in any extreme way.

Sometimes you don’t have a great idea of where projectiles are coming from. In boss fights especially, maybe some sort of directional indicator would be useful?

Finally, I do want to give special mention to the devs handling of the game so far. I’ve provided feedback about the demo on their Discord, and they are receptive and responsive. I’ve seen them already implementing suggested changes. I also appreciate that they went into the Kickstarter campaign with a fully playable demo and such well thought out lore and game mechanics. That really gave me confidence in backing their campaign (coming from someone who very rarely backs Kickstarter projects), even with the anticipated October 2025 delivery date. But hopefully that gives Flannel Bear Games plenty of time to flesh out this game and provide the polish it needs to really make it shine.

Gedda Cake is not a high-flying, fire-raining, dragon-riding kind of dragon video game. But it does have cute, lovable draconic characters packaged with a fun new spin on the metroidvania platformer. The amount of sugary sweet charm oozing from this game has me very excited for its eventual full release.

Wishlist the game or download the demo from the Gedda Cake Steam page. The Kickstarter campaign is live now thru August 11, 2022. Follow the game’s progress on Twitter, or check out their Discord to provide feedback and chat with the devs. Gedda Cake is currently slated to release in October 2025.

Cancelled Dragon Games: Dragons that never were

It’s no secret that games get cancelled all the time. In the indie development scene especially, it’s likely that more games never see the light of day than get released. And who knows how many games are started by AAA developers that we never hear anything about?

Our little niche of dragon-centric games is no exception to this, and since most new dragon titles are tackled by indie devs, we’re even less likely to see finished products. Steam is too full to count of dragon games that have been abandoned by their devs, but today I’m focusing on just a handful of the most interesting or high-profile games that have been thrown in the bin.


Our first entry is a weird one. The first mention of Emberfall I had seen was from Youtuber Velocci’s 2021 Upcoming Dragon Games video, though he only shows a tiny bit of development footage. Emberfall was apparently supposed to be some sort of multiplayer action-adventure RPG where humans and dragons were pitted against each other. It sounds like the game was to have crafting and survival mechanics, all set in a typical medieval fantasy setting.

Emberfall concept art. Courtesy of

The one dragon model I’ve seen looks great. A couple of artists‘ Artstation pages still have some models up, and judging from the rest of their portfolios, we may have seen some more dinosaur-inspired dragons had the game been finished. I don’t know how far in development this game got before its cancellation, but, at least at the time of Velocci’s aforementioned video, it was not yet in a playable state.

Sometime around late 2020 or early 2021, however, nearly all mention of Emberfall disappeared from the web. Their website, Discord server, and social media pages were all wiped from existence, and all that remains appears to be some bits of concept art and game models scattered around the internet.

Emberfall dragon concept art. Courtesy of

So what happened? The consensus seems to be problems with the team’s lead developer, according to user Sound on the Draconia discord:

In regards to Emberfall, what actually happened that the lead dev was admittedly fairly absent most of the time and not too great at giving us direction (The artists at least) so their second in command ended up filling that role and helping out the artists, giving pointers and helping us make better end products. Lead dev turned on this guy out of the blue, near christmas might I add, and nuked from from the discord and blocked them everywhere.

From there they got really scary, coming at us with ndas and essentially demanding invoices for all our work. Might I add for the entirety of our time there we were all unpaid 🙃 With promises of payment once the game started selling. Honestly it was bad enough to nearly give me an anxiety attack with how stressful that day was lmao

And get this, when they asked for the invoice regarding George, one of the designers and environmental artists the Lead accused them of their prices being too high (Despite him giving her lowered rates which they agreed on to begin with). So yes, the artists, including myself did leave with all our work

But it was because the lead dev wouldn’t pay the guy who arguably deserved it the most.

With so little info to go on, it’s hard to say how good or bad this game could have been, especially when the multiplayer survival genre is already so saturated. It’s always sad to see an indie game fall prey to development and personnel issues, but maybe some of the remaining artists and developers will take up Emberfall‘s mantle someday.

Monster Hunter Dreams

Entry two is a bit less of a game and more of an individual’s passion project. Twitter/Reddit user Bluerith was using the Playstation 4 game Dreams to develop a game set in the world of Monster Hunter, but using the monsters themselves as playable characters. The project was planned as a sort of PvE survival RPG type game, though it was obviously in its early stages and limited by the Dreams platform. The plan was to be able to fight both hunters and other monsters, with survival as a primary focus.

The models and animations were looking fantastic. The world of Monster Hunter contains a huge variety of monsters besides dragon-types, but we did get to see a playable Rathalos (a classic wyvern-looking monster) in addition to a Velocidrome (a smaller raptor-like monster). I personally would have bought a copy of Dreams just to mess around as some of my favorite Monster Hunter creatures.

Flying around a map as a Rathalos looks like so much fun!

Sadly, in May 2021, Bluerith announced on their Reddit profile that they had been contacted by Capcom to discontinue work on the project. It’s a shame, but always a risk that’s run when working on fan projects for existing IPs. Bluerith seemed to be making great use of the Dreams game development tools, and it sounds like they’ve moved on to developing in Unreal for future projects. I hope to see more dragon-centric games from them in the future!


Probably the most widely-known dragon game casualty is Scalebound, developed by Platinum Games (of Bayonetta fame) and published by Microsoft. Scalebound was going to be an action RPG focused on a young male protagonist named Drew, apparently somehow transported from our modern world to the world of Draconis (enter cliché dragon-themed world name), where he fights alongside his bonded dragon companion, Thuban.

Moment-to-moment gameplay focused on Drew, who used weapons and abilities to fight. He also had a weird dragon arm — a visualization of his bond to Thuban — which granted him additional abilities like scanning enemies for information, healing his dragon friend, or allowing him to transform into a humanoid dragon form for greater fighting abilities. Thuban himself was AI controlled, though Drew could issue him commands such as where to attack and move. Drew could also enter a “Dragon Link” mode where he could directly control Thuban from Drew’s first-person perspective, but which left him vulnerable to enemy attacks. You could ride Thuban to some degree, but that appears to have been the extent of player control over him. The bond between the characters meant that if one was killed, the other would die as well. Some sort of four-player cooperative online multiplayer was planned, though we unfortunately never got the full details on how that was to be implemented.

Drew could issue commands to Thuban, but he would act on his own as well. Courtesy of IGN.

What I found most interesting about Scalebound as I researched the game was how much the deeper gameplay systems focused on your dragon companion. The story focused on Drew, but he was meant to be a fairly static character gameplay-wise, outside of leveling up, getting new weapons, and so on. But the player didn’t really get many customization options for him. Most of that was left for your dragon. There were three types of dragons: “rex,” which was Thuban’s default mode; a quick-maneuvering aerial “wyvern;” and a four-legged, slower and stronger “tank” dragon. Throughout the game, you could upgrade and shift your dragon between these types, which would influence his growth and attributes. This was meant to allow you to create an entirely unique dragon, built around your own gameplay and aesthetic preferences, and one that could be continually adjusted as you played. Additionally, you could purchase armor to augment your dragon’s offensive and defensive capabilities. Hideki Kamiya, the game’s director, really wanted these mechanics to emphasize your growing bond with Thuban, saying: “…The more you invest in that dragon and in your relationship with that dragon, the more that dragon becomes yours.”

Dragon customization was meant to be robust and a major focus of the game. Courtesy of IGN.

This focus on the bond with your dragon got me more and more excited as I read about it. I didn’t follow Scalebound closely when it was originally shown off; the goofy, kind of cringey protagonist turned me off of it and I assumed the dragons were just an afterthought. But throughout the game, your bond with your dragon companion was meant to grow and change, and that would reflect in the gameplay. You could unlock joint attacks, and Thuban would become more friendly and helpful. You weren’t meant to even be able to ride him at the beginning; you needed to grow closer before he would let you on his back. You could gain additional skill points to level him up by healing him or assisting him in battle. Much like Trico in The Last Guardian, Thuban was supposed to be a truly independent character, one that might not always respond perfectly to your commands. In the bit of gameplay we got to see, Thuban would fight alongside you, but he would also venture ahead sometimes as you traversed the world, making him feel more like an independent companion in the world, as opposed to some mindless NPC trailing along behind you awaiting your every command.

While I paid no mind to Scalebound‘s cancellation at the time, now I feel mournful for what could have been. It definitely didn’t look perfect: most people didn’t like the protagonist, the little bit of dragon riding we saw looked rather slow and not very interesting, and I can’t see how multiplayer makes any sense given the focus of the story on this particular human character. But it may have brought a new perspective on dragons in games, and it seemed like Kamiya was intent on that result.

Microsoft canned the project in early 2017, with the reasoning later being stated that it may not deliver on players’ expectations. Platinum Games has said that the blame falls on both sides, and that they weren’t experienced enough to produce what they had envisioned. Maybe Microsoft demanded too much, or Platinum just had too broad of a scope. Either way, fans were furious at the time, and Kamiya has continued bringing the game up over the years. He said that he had always wanted to make a game with dragons as companions instead of enemies, and that Scalebound is the title in which I can finally realize my dream.” I hope that he can still achieve that dream one day, so that all of us dragon-loving gamers can experience it.

“It Came From The Skies” – Examining Raptros in War of the Monsters

Would it surprise you to hear that one of my favorite playable video game dragons can be found in a game that otherwise has nothing to do with them? It surprises me that so many dragon-centric games released since have failed to surpass this personal benchmark I’ve apparently set as to what makes a dragon enjoyable to play as. What did developer Incognito Entertainment (whose previous credentials only included a few PS2 titles in the Twisted Metal series) do right in their 2003 PlayStation 2 release of War of the Monsters that keeps me coming back years later?

Original PS2 cover (source)
Every level has a loading screen with a monster movie poster.

War of the Monsters is a 3D brawler love letter to mid-century monster flicks. In the aftermath of an alien invasion, radioactive green ooze seeps out of crashed flying saucers, mutating humans and animals into giant monsters. You take control of these monsters (or in some cases, colossal robots created by the government) to brawl it out in a series of open city environments, destroying whatever buildings or vehicles might be in your way. The game’s story mode culminates in a battle against the alien leader in the United States Capitol. All-in-all, it’s an incredibly enjoyable fighting game that leans hard into the campiness of 1950’s sci-fi films, to great effect.

Gameplay consists of several modes, including the story Adventure mode, single-player quick play, multiplayer, and unlockable minigames. You can fight with up to four monsters in a map, and multiplayer is two-person splitscreen. Minigames include a city destruction competition, dodgeball, and one where you launch your monsters off the tops of buildings to land on distant targets (the most fun part of this one being the King of the Hill mode in the case of a tie, where your goal is to be the last one standing on top of a towering skyscraper).

Disturbingly, humans on the ground end up as little blood splatters when stepped on or hit by attacks.

The ten playable monsters have mostly the same basic mechanics: a light and heavy attack, two special attacks (short and long-range), some sort of small-damage ranged attack, block, jump, climb, pickup/throw objects, etc. Each monster plays significantly differently, however. Some are faster climbers, some hit harder, some have a quicker rate of projectile firing. Even attacks and specials vary greatly between monsters; for example, Robo-47’s long range special is a homing missile, while Agamo rips off his own head to use as a melee or thrown weapon. Attacks can be chained together into different combos that are unique to each monster.

You have a stamina bar that is spent to perform attacks and specials, fire ranged attacks, and in a couple of special cases, fly (we’ll get to this shortly). Stamina can be refilled by hitting monsters with thrown objects, grabbing pickup orbs, or by just waiting a few seconds for it to recharge to the halfway point. Each time you fill your stamina bar fully (indicated by a second pink bar over the blue one) you’re granted another special attack chit. The stamina systems works well, forcing players to balance attacking with running away to gather energy refills or debris to throw, which encourages more interaction with the stages themselves instead of simply whaling on each other.

There’s 10 playable characters in the game with four skins each.

Extra characters and skins can be unlocked after earning tokens in Adventure mode, with each character having four skins to choose from. You can also unlock minigames this way. Adventure mode isn’t just good for getting tokens, however. Once Adventure mode is completed with a specific character, you’re treated to a short clip of that monster’s origin story, which feel straight out of a 50s monster movie. Preytor the giant mantis was the result of a science experiment gone wrong, and Kineticlops (a floating eyeball suspended in electricity) was a poor security guard mutated when an alien ship crashed into a power plant. Godzilla Togera the dinosaur rose irradiated from the sea as a result of another crashed ship. Although usually less than 30 seconds long, these clips add a nice extra sprinkling of creature feature flair.

One of the unique highlights of this game, especially when playing splitscreen multiplayer with friends, is the sheer amount of environmental interactions there are within each arena. There’s a total of 13 stages to fight in, ranging from an island airport to a nuclear power plant. Almost every building can be leveled (which will immediately kill any monster that happens to get caught underneath), debris can be picked up and thrown at enemies (often impaling them and stopping them in their tracks if it’s a sharp object), and most levels have some sort of unique set pieces that can be destroyed and used. One of my personal favorites is the flaming dragon head found in Gambler’s Gulch that will explode when it hits a monster.

Several levels can also be interacted with in more extreme ways. You can cause a nuclear meltdown at Atomic Island power plant, leveling most of the stage. There’s a volcano in Club Caldera that will send flaming rocks hurtling towards enemy monsters when someone triggers it. Tsunopolis has a flying saucer that causes a tsunami to flood the entire level when hit with a thrown object. And in a couple of levels, after enough destruction is wrought, earthquakes will trigger and leave gaping holes throughout most of the arena. The amount of environmental desecration one can cause provided endless hours of enjoyment when playing this game growing up.

War of the Monsters ranks as one of my favorite games to this day, and I’ll still pull it out from time to time. Usually, that desire to play is triggered by an urge to rain fire and destruction from the skies as a dragon, which brings us to the star of this article: Raptros.


Hands-down number one character in War of the Monsters for me is this bad boy: Raptros the dragon. One of only two monsters in the game capable of limited flight (the other being Preytor the mantis), playing as Raptros meant most friends I played against weren’t fully prepared for what was about to come.

Raptros skins
Raptros’ four available skins (source).

Raptros is one of the few characters not available to play as right off the bat and must be unlocked via tokens. His default skin is a reddish-brown, and other skins include a purple-and-green dragon, a fully green dragon, and a completely skeletal dragon. Raptros is also the only character without a clear origin story, as he has no origin video unlocked after beating Adventure mode, and no backstory is explained during the rest of the game (except for the implication on his level poster that he has prehistoric roots). Interestingly, according to The Cutting Room Floor, a placeholder video for the dragon character exists, but a finished origin clip was sadly never added. Raptros appears in Adventure mode when you’re pitted against a pair of them in the stage Century Airfield, an airport located somewhere in the Pacific.

In terms of basic mechanics, Raptros is pretty middle-of-the-pack, with medium damage and medium firing speed projectiles, and moderate pace climbing. He doesn’t hit especially hard, but you don’t pick him to play as a tanky character or a heavy hitter. As mentioned before, Raptros’ unique characteristic is his ability to take flight. Jumping with X, then pressing X again causes him to flap his wings and climb upwards. This requires a little bit of timing to keep him in the air, as another button press is required to for each flap, or you can hold X to glide. Each stroke of his wings drains his stamina bar slightly (you get approximately 20 wingbeats on a full bar, according to the War of the Monsters wiki), but sustained gliding doesn’t take any extra stamina.

With a bit of practice and enough height, Raptros can usually glide around an entire level. Each button press feels satisfyingly weighty, like you get a sense of each heavy wingbeat to keep your dragon airborne. He maneuvers quickly and easily when gliding, and I always get a slight giddy feeling whenever I bank sharply upwards to land after a dive.

One thing I really love about Raptros in this game is how he gets his entire body involved in most of his animations. His body undulates with every wingbeat, with his arms clawing the air. He smacks enemies with his wings, uses them to shield himself when blocking, and they even help him climb up the sides of buildings. He’s a well thought-out character that doesn’t just feel like a dragon skin slapped on another monster. His flight mechanics even differ from Preytor’s, as Raptros uses less stamina to flap and is capable of gliding farther. He spews a cone of fire from his mouth as a long-range breath attack, which sets enemies alight so they damage for several seconds afterwards.

While a bit of a cheese mechanic, Raptros’ fire breath combined with gliding is extremely effective.

Design-wise, Raptros is well executed. Pulling off a bipedal dragon successfully, without just making it look like Godzilla with wings, seems to be difficult in games. Like his name implies, he’s almost raptor-like, with a slightly hunched posture, making him feel more like a beast. His tail swings about as he moves, but not in a floppy, ragdolly, afterthought way that many video game dragons suffer from. Even his running animation has a bit of a dinosaur-esque strut.

I’m happy to see his wings extending from his shoulders and not further up the neck or down the sides. This helps to make his movements seem more realistic; you can feel the effort his wings exert on those shoulder muscles. You can see that the devs clearly thought about how the wings would be attached when looking at the bone connections on the skeletal skin. If I had to be nitpicky, I think the general modern consensus on dragon wings has the membranes to attach lower on the body, closer to the hips, instead of at the wing joints like we see in Raptros’ case. In theory, this gives the wing more surface area and makes flight a little more believable, but we see this slimmer style of wings in a lot of older games. Apart from being an aesthetic choice, I have to think that it’s just easier to implement in terms of animations and gameplay.

I’m impressed that Incognito Entertainment came out with such a great playable dragon on the PS2 and in a game like this. They really nailed Raptros’ design, animations, and fighting style to make him feel satisfying and totally unique to play as.

Overall, I think War of the Monsters holds up well today and is worth a visit if you haven’t played it before. It has aged a bit, and the controls and camera can feel a little on the clunky side. As fun as Raptros is to play, he does introduce a bit of a cheese element that can be frustrating to play against. But the game is especially enjoyable with friends, even just to stomp around a city destroying buildings and just generally causing mayhem. Or, if you’re just looking for a new dragon gameplay experience, checking out Raptros in War of the Monsters is well worth your time.

War of the Monsters was originally released on Playstation 2, but it has since become available digitally for Playstation 4.

Upcoming Dragon Games in 2022 and Beyond – Part II

You can read Part I of this article here.

Outside of Early Access titles, dragon loving gamers have quite the variety of games to look forward to over the next year or two. Similar to Part I of this article series, these games are all been developed by indie creators, and we’ve got a great mix of genres. Dragons play a more prominent role in some of these games than others, but they’re a main feature in some way or another in all of them.

I’m just going to give a brief overview here today, but I plan on giving each of these a more in-depth look in the future.

Announced Games

Dragon’s Hoard

Dragon’s Hoard is a “Multiplayer 3rd-person Action Adventure Game about helping your adopted Dragon get to their home in the sky.” Apparently, your dragon will grow with the size of your collected hoard, which is a unique twist on the usual dragon raising mechanics. You can ride your dragon once it is large enough, and other player-dragon interactions are planned. It is the project of a solo developer and will soon be launching on Kickstarter. I also want to make note of the dev’s desire to avoid monetization and NFTs/blockchain technology, which is a plus in my book.

You can ride your dragon once it’s large enough.

This is one of those projects where I’m curious to see how much of a role the dragons end up playing in terms of actual gameplay. The dev hopes to implement interactions like belly rubs and head petting, but I’d love to see more dragon-raising mechanics like feeding developed. There don’t seem to be many games focused on the raising aspect of dragons, and this could be a good potential one to fill that niche if the dev decides to move in that direction.

Dragon’s Hoard is slated to come to PC. Links below:

Dragon’s Hoard on Steam

Dragon’s Hoard on Twitter

Dragon Game Project

Dragon Game Project is a “3rd person RPG with team modes, and sandbox-like mode, where you can play as different creatures, such as dragons, wyverns, lizardmen and gryphons.” It is being developed by a small team in their spare time, but progress seems to be going well. Single and multiplayer modes are planned, including a team match mode. Their models and animations are lovingly hand-crafted, and I’m excited to watch this one develop.

Dragon Game Project has some of the smoothest animations and prettiest models on this list.

This is one of the better looking 3D ventures on this list, but it does sound like it might fall into the ‘mostly sandbox’ category that other currently in-development dragon games find themselves in. That’s not a huge problem, and seems to satisfy a good portion of dragon game lovers, but I wonder if this one will still miss the mark for me personally. I hope this team ends up delivering some robust and varied multiplayer content.

Dragon Game Project is planned for release on PC, Linux, and possibly Mac. Links below:

Dragon Game Project on Twitter

Dragon Game Project on Youtube

Gedda Cake

Gedda Cake, developed by Flannel Bear Games, is a “2D action-platformer about Dragons and Cakes” and it’s adorable! In this game, you can instantaneously swap between 6 dragon characters with different abilities to achieve your goal of rescuing the sweet land of Sugria and getting the cake. With a living world that changes with the time of day, it sounds like we can expect metroidvania elements as well.

Swapping between characters on the fly looks like it will create interesting, dynamic combat.

Although Gedda Cake doesn’t really fulfill any of my personal dragon game hopes and dreams, I’m a sucker for good pixel art, and this game has a great aesthetic. So far it looks like we’ve only seen two of the six playable dragons, and I’m itching to see the rest. There’s a lot of room in the dragon game market for a metroidvania or two. And since metroidvanias are so hot right now, maybe that will help it reach a wider audience, and we could see more games featuring dragons in the future?

There is currently a demo available on Steam. Gedda Cake is releasing on PC and Mac. Links below:

Gedda Cake on Steam

Gedda Cake Official Website

Gedda Cake on Twitter

Glyde the Dragon

Developed by Valefor Games, Glyde the Dragon is a 3D adventure/platformer that appears to draw a lot of inspiration from the Spyro series right off the bat. Glyde and his tiny companion Wing are setting out on an quest to combat a mysterious corruption spreading across their world. You’ll help other dragons, collect crystals, and fight baddies with more than 60 types of attacks and abilities, all within a vibrant living world.

Combat looks a bit hectic and probably more inspired by the “Legend of Spyro” series, or other combo-based action games.

As a lifelong Spyro (and 3D platformer collectathons in general) fan, I’m incredibly excited about this one. Glyde’s design is unique enough while still remaining slightly nostalgic, and I love the colorful, stylized world. Modern studios seem to have struggled with 3D platformers in recent years, so I’m anxious to see Glyde’s take on the genre and to get my own hands on the game to see how the somewhat chaotic-looking combat feels to play.

Glyde is releasing on PC only right now, but the devs hope for eventually console ports. A demo is expected to release in 2022, so keep an eye out for that. Links below:

Glyde the Dragon on Steam

Glyde the Dragon Official Website

Glyde the Dragon on Twitter

Glyde the Dragon on Facebook

Guild of Dragons

Currently live on Kickstarter until March 24, 2022 and already over 200% funded, Guild of Dragons is a “settlement-builder with dragon taming, exploration, and conquest.” It’s being developed by a husband and wife team, under construction since 2019, and is planned to launch into Early Access in 2023. In addition to the settlement building aspects, gameplay is planned to consist of trading, farming, mining, and crafting.

I’m curious to find out more about the role dragons play in this game, as it looks like flight may be locked to fast-travel only. It sounds like there may be a stronger focusing on the raising and taming aspects than Dragon’s Hoard earlier on this list. I have to say that the dragons I’ve seen so far are probably visually my least favorite out of any of these games I’ve talked about, with some questionable anatomy and design choices. But with the game in such an early state of development, hopefully the models will be more polished by the full release. I think this is a game that would benefit a lot from a more stylized aesthetic as opposed to trying to keep things looking semi-realistic.

One of the worst anatomy mistakes I commonly see is wings sprouting from the sides and not the shoulders.

Update 3/23/2022: The dev reached out to me to share a bit more info. Dragon flight won’t be limited to just fast-travel sequences; you’ll be able to fly on your dragon wherever you want. We talked a bit about the dragon models and overall aesthetic, and they emphasized that they’ve had one person working on all the models for the entire game. While the stylistic choices may not be entirely up my alley, I’m still just happy to see more dragons in games. I hope that the gameplay will set this one apart, even if the visuals might not.

Guild of Dragons will be launching initially on PC, with a Mac version to follow. Links below:

Guild of Dragons on Kickstarter

Guild of Dragons Official Website

Guild of Dragons on Twitter

Guild of Dragons on Instagram

Guild of Dragons on Facebook

Guild of Dragons on Youtube

Guild of Dragons Subreddit


This game wasn’t even on my radar until I was mostly done with this article and stumbled across it while going down a Youtube rabbit hole. Skyfear, developed by the 3-person Protaria Studios, hasn’t received much media attention, but it sounds like the devs have been hard at work. It draws a lot of inspiration from old-school arena shooters from the LAN party days, with customizable wyverns as your playable characters. A huge plus in my book, as someone who avoids most online play, is the ability to play and progress in singleplayer mode as well, against bots instead of other players.

Skyfear was initially slated for release in 2021, but it appears to have been pushed to 2022 back in November. However, the dev claims that the vast majority of the game’s content is finished, and that the delay is to polish up animations, audio, effects, and multiplayer AI. This is good news to me, as the animations in what little gameplay footage I can find look rather rough. I hope that the delay is enough to get the visuals to a more polished level, since it sounds like there is potential for interesting and diverse gameplay, with a large number of combinations of perks, magic, and abilities you can choose at the start of each match. Gameplay seems focused on speed and agility, and the devs have specified their dragons are based more on bats to accentuate that concept.

Skyfear is planned for release on PC, with possible Mac and Linux versions in the future. Links below:

Skyfear on Steam

Skyfear on Twitter

Further Out?

Project Dragon

Back in April 2021, rumors started coming out about a new game backed by Microsoft and developed by Hitman studio IO Interactive. Apparently dubbed Project Dragon, it’s rumored to be a medieval fantasy MMO. That’s about all we have to go on, but hopefully we’ll hear something else in 2022. It could go nowhere, it could end up having nothing to do with dragons, but the codename alone is enough to pique my interest.

So, that should pretty much cover everything we’ve got to look forward to over the next year or two! Do you know of any games I’ve missed, or are you working on your own project? Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or via email at if you have something to share!

Upcoming Dragon Games in 2022 and Beyond – Part I

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of in-development games that feature dragons I found while doing my initial research for this blog. Over the next couple of years, we can look forward to sandbox survival games, a 2D metroidvania, a 3D action platformer, and more. Everything on this list (that has been officially announced, at least) is being developed by indie creators: small teams or even solo devs. I’m sad to see a such a dearth of triple-A titles on the horizon (but maybe they’ll announce Spyro 4 soon, right guys…?), but indie devs hopefully have us in good hands for the meantime.

Part I of this article will focus on games that are, at the time of writing, available as Early Access titles. In Part II, I’ll take a brief look at other upcoming games that have been announced or are in Kickstarter status. I hope to give a more in-depth look into all of these as they reach a fully released state.

Part I – Early Access Games

Chronicles of Galdurvale

“Guide Amelia Moonglow, a wide-eyed hunter with incredible power, as she journeys from Middleland to the floating isles of Sky World. Explore the lands of Galdurvale, utilizing her mystical power to harness the elements and decimate her foes. Adventure and excitement await!

Chronicles of Galdurvale Steam page

Chronicles of Galdurvale is an upcoming third-person action adventure game being created by a solo dev under the name Luminous Games. The game promises dragon riding, difficult combat, puzzles, and crafting in a biome-diverse open world. Sounds like a lot coming from one person, doesn’t it? But with 15+ years of programming experience, developer Jen Huei Lee appears to be making steady progress. Development started back in 2018, and Chronicles was released into Early Access on Steam in September 2021. Things appear to have gone silent on Luminous Games’ social media pages since then, but according to a January 2022 post on their Discord channel, the dev relocated internationally after the EA launch and is back to working on the game full time. They seem to be responsive on Discord, which gives me hope that this project won’t be abandoned. The dev is still promising quarterly updates and aims for a full release sometime in 2022.

Combat involves a mix of melee and ranged fighting.

Currently, the EA demo starts from the beginning of the game’s storyline, with no access to your dragon mount. There is also a short free demo available that focuses solely on the dragonriding aspect of the game. Gameplay appears to be fairly standard third-person action adventure RPG fare, with action apparently focused on ground combat and exploration, and a smattering of environmental puzzles and sidequests. The dev claims inspirations such as the Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy and Diablo. Surprisingly, despite the similarities, the Drakan series appears to have not been on their radar prior to development beginning.

Looks like we can expect to see other dragons besides just the main character’s mount.

I like the design they’ve gone with for their dragon, but would have liked to see a unique model instead of a purchased asset. Maybe this will change before the full release. The blue and black color scheme is a nice change from the typical reddish browns we get with many playable dragons. The dragon gameplay at the moment, however, seems a bit floaty and unsatisfying, even when compared to something like Drakan. Much like in Drakan, I have my doubts as to how much gameplay time will be spent on dragonback. I hope that dragonriding makes its way into a large portion of the final game, with weighty animations and satisfying aerial combat, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Love the animation when flying straight, but turning looks odd when your dragon just pivots left and right with no banking or anything.

You can follow progress of the game on Luminous Games’ Twitter or Facebook.

Day of Dragons

To be honest, I debated a while on whether to put this game on this list, given its controversial history (which I won’t be delving into here as it has been covered many places). I am also coming into Day of Dragons with an outsider’s perspective, having not followed the original Kickstarter or the ensuing drama. So, before I get to talking about this game, I would just like to preface that you may want to do some research to know what to expect from this game in the future.

Day of Dragons is an online creature survival game set in a large, beautiful, sandbox open world with multiple biomes and distinct creatures. Rule the world as one of several dragon species, or play as an elemental.

-Day of Dragons Steam Page
Currently you can play as the flightless Acid Spitter drake, or the winged Shadow Scale.

Day of Dragons has been in Early Access on Steam since December 2019. It appears to have been in active development since then, but only two playable species are currently available (and only one of those is a flying dragon). This is the first venture by small indie developer Beawesome Games. The game’s Steam page FAQ states that they anticipated Day of Dragons being in Early Access for at least a year after its initial launch, and since it’s been a little over two years since then, with a relatively small amount of progress made, I don’t hold high hopes for this one reaching a full release anytime soon.

The Inferno Ravager, one of the upcoming playable species.

You start as a hatchling and grow over time, seeking resources to keep yourself alive. Current and planned features include a clan system, nesting, and further end-game content after growing to maturation. Overall, Day of Dragons seems to lean heavy on the sandbox side, except for the potential of deeper end-game content. I fear this one will perpetually end up in the same place most open-world multiplayer games developed by small indie studios end up: devoid of content and never finished.

The in-flight animations are gorgeous and well-executed.

On the good side of things, the flight mechanics are visually some of the best I’ve seen out of any of these Early Access games. The animations and designs of the current models are very pleasing, for the most part. However, I feel the need to point out something mentioned in several Steam reviews. Many of the current and planned models bear strong resemblances to several TV/movie dragons. The Shadow Scale has a striking similarity to the Night Fury from the How to Train Your Dragon series, and the upcoming Inferno Ravager appears very similar to the Game of Thrones dragons. And these are only a couple of examples. It’s disappointing to see such a lack of creative, unique designs in one of the few modern dragon games currently available.

I want to give Beawesome Games the benefit of the doubt that they are putting their all into developing Day of Dragons, but the consensus of the dragon game community seems to be against them on this. Only time will tell, but at the current rate of development, they have a lot of work ahead of them. Day of Dragons is available in Early Access for $19.99 USD.


“Create your dragon, customize it, level it. Explore the world of Draconia and unravel its story. Draconia is an MORPG where YOU play as the dragon!”

-Draconia Steam Page

The Draconia dev team describe their game as an “open-world dragon survival game with RPG elements,” and, so far, it looks pretty great. In active development since 2019, Draconia launched into Early Access on Steam in January 2022. Draconia already includes features such as character customization, hunting (with an interesting scent mechanic to find food and resources), hoard crafting, optional PvP, and more. Additional features like dens and nesting, as well as a clan system, are planned for the future.

The dragon models can look absolutely beautiful, with a wide array of customization options.

One of the most unique aspects of Draconia is the ability to play as one of six drastically different species of dragons (or a griffon). I can’t recall any other Eastern style dragons in video game outside of the Monster Hunter franchise, but you’ll be able to be one in this world. Each dragon species has a specific element (Eastern dragons are water, the Quetzalcoatl is light, etc.) and each has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to survival and combat. Currently, only two of these dragon species (the European Dragon and Lindworm) are available to play as, but the devs share frequent updates on their social media.

WIP Eastern Dragon flight animation as of March 2022.
You can get some gorgeous screenshots.

Once you have selected your species and customized your dragon, you start the game as a young dragon. The main gameplay loop is centered around leveling up your dragon, which is done through quests. Your dragon grows physically larger as your level increases. You’ll also need to hunt for resources like food and water to survive. Overall, the amount of content currently seems low for the asking price of $34.99 USD, and you have the typical EA issues like floaty controls and some rough animations. But the devs are actively churning out more content, and what is there is visually the best of these Early Access titles so far. If anything, it’s great for getting screenshots of your custom-designed dragons (and I highly recommend checking out the game’s Discord channel for examples). I look forward to watching this one develop further.

Draconia is aiming for a 2022 release date. Check out the game’s website for links to all their social media profiles.

My biggest concern after digging into these titles is that these are all fairly large-scale, ambitious projects for first time indie developers to take on. Are Day of Dragons and Draconia going to give us more interesting content than just a dragon-sized sandbox to play in? Honestly, I’m content to have that as a minimum for a modern-day dragon game, but I can’t help but to hope for more from a studio with more time and resources. But I’m still very excited to see what kind of state these games end up in when they fully release.

You can read Part II of this article here.

What Makes a Game a “Dragon Game”?

What does a game need to contain to be classified as a “dragon game”?  Does the protagonist need to be a dragon, or at least a dragon rider?  Does the gameplay need to focus entirely on controlling a dragon?  If so, does that require traditional mechanics like flight?  What about if dragons are mainly a feature in the story or worldbuilding, but with limited actual dragon gameplay?  What about games in which you just fight dragons?

These are all questions that flooded my head while doing initial research for this blog.  I ended up with a list of possible dragon games that was longer than I expected, but I struggled with classifying them, or even deciding which ones I wanted to talk about.  And dragon games run the gamut of genres, from flight sims to strategy games to platformers to visual novels.  What games even belong on a blog like this?

Dragon-Centric Games

To start, the primary focus of this blog is going to be to discuss games where dragons are central to the main gameplay mechanics.  This means games where you are in control of a dragon, in some capacity, for all of (or at the very least, the vast majority of) the game.  These are primarily games that satisfy that dragon power fantasy, where you can fly freely, fight with tooth, claw, and tail, and maybe cause some mayhem with fire or other breath attacks.  In other words, the games that really make you feel like a dragon, if you’ll pardon the cliché.

Even with that parameter in mind, a lot of genre-spanning games can fall into this category.  We have 2004’s I of the Dragon, a 3D roleplaying game where almost the entirety of the game is spent as a dragon.  There’s the Panzer Dragoon series, where (with the exception of Panzer Dragoon Saga) you ride a dragon on-rails shooter style.  Of course, there’s everyone’s favorite purple platformer mascot and his titular series, Spyro the Dragon.  Some of his games vary in the amount of time you spend playing as side characters or doing non-dragon related activities like skateboarding, but I don’t think anyone would argue that Spyro isn’t through-and-through a dragon game.  The Playstation 3 launch title Lair, despite its flaws, does a great job capturing the feeling of being a badass dragon rider in 3D aerial dogfighting action.

In “I of the Dragonyou play as a dragon for the majority of the game.

But then we get to games like Golden Treasure: The Great Green or Choice of the Dragon, a visual novel and text-based adventure game, respectively.  These games have you playing as a dragon the entire time, but you don’t control a character in the traditional sense.  Can these still make you feel like a dragon?  Will these satisfy that itch for someone looking for a true “dragon game”?

“Golden Treasure: The Great Green” features beautifully painted art in a visual novel style.

Dragon-Adjacent Games

This is the broader category of possible “dragon games”.  Here I’m talking about games where you may get a taste of being a dragon, but those segments of the game are broken up by other gameplay mechanics of varying quality.  These are the games where you get to feel like a total badass dragon sometimes, and are then met with immediate crushing disappointment when you are yanked out of the sky to control a clunky, awkward human on the ground.

Both games in the “Drakan” series mix aerial dragon segments with on-the-ground human-centric action.

Here we find games like the action-adventure Drakan: Order of the Flame and it’s sequal Drakan: The Ancients’ Gate.  Or maybe Divnity: Dragon Commander, where the bulk of the game is spent managing strategy elements, with the chance to control a dragon during RTS battles.  Certain JRPGs like the Breath of Fire series (image right) can be found here, with possibly some of the most gorgeous dragon designs in video games, which you only get to see occasionally in battle.

There’s plenty of great games I would place under this category, and plenty of stinkers, but the question still remains:  are these really *dragon* games?

Games That Happen to Have Dragons in Them

My final category addresses those games that maybe have dragons as a theme or as NPCs.  Maybe you have some sort of dragon companion, or maybe you just end up fighting dragons.  I would even put games like War of the Monsters here, a Playstation 2 3D fighting game that has one dragon character (who is super fun to play as, but needs to be unlocked and is only one on a roster of about a dozen.  I cover this a little more here.).  Or even Monster Hunter Stories, where some of your monsties may be dragons.  This is definitely the widest category, and the one I would say classifies a game as explicitly not a dragon game.  But, they could still be fun to take a look at in the future!

The “Monster Hunter” series has you fighting quite a few different dragons.
In “Little Dragons Café,” you raise a dragon and manage a café.
In “Rune Factory 4,” the dragon Ventuswill is a key NPC.
“Legend of Dragoon” has unique, insect-like dragon designs that are a central focus of the game’s worldbuilding.

So, maybe you’re hoping I’ll have an answer to the question of this article: what makes a game a dragon game?  Unfortunately, I think the answer is going to vary from person to person.  In my opinion, when I’ve got that itch for a dragon game, I want something where you get to control the dragon as much as you want, with unlimited free-flying, preferably 3D, and a with a mix of aerial and ground combat.  Other people may find more satisfaction with cute 2D platformers, or visual novels.  I’m looking forward to expanding my own dragon game horizons.

I think the perfect dragon game has yet to be made.  But in the meantime, I’m hoping to find what comes close, and find what’s out there that really scratches that itch for us dragon nerds.