In Short: Nintendo has finally made a typical linear, stage-based action RPG in the form of Dragalia Lost, and its deep storyline and striking beauty set it apart. The game is completely free to experience from beginning to end, though it has some optional purchases and a gacha system in place for acquiring new characters. The game’s soundtrack is done by Japanese pop star Daoko, and most of the storyline is skillfully voiced in English. The environments, characters and art are all highly detailed and extremely well-done. The game is available to download on the Play Store right now, and it’s up and running. As a caveat, make sure you have plenty of space free on your device before diving in; the initial download to play the tutorial is close to 2GB, and there are more downloads as you progress. You can always head into the options menu and batch-download everything, of course.
Background: Dragalia Lost was announced at a Nintendo Direct conference a while back, then went up for pre-registration last month. The game has followed what seems to be a fairly short development cycle. Fans can expect what is basically the most polished possible form of the typical mobile action RPG; you’ll build up your teams, level up characters and items, and move to different points on the map to check out story beats and take on levels. This sort of arrangement is extremely common, being seen in the likes of Star Ocean: Anamnesis, Kritika, and Bleach: Brave Souls, just to name a few of the many mobile games that employ such a format. Story-wise, the game centers on a young prince who must forge a pact with a dragon in order to save his kingdom, and in doing so, ends up entangled in a dark plot that spans dimensions.
Impact: The combat is all swipe and tap, and the game can be played with one hand. That is not, by any means, a bad thing. Move your finger to move your character in the chosen direction, or swipe fast to dodge. Tap the screen repeatedly to launch an attack combo, and tap on skills to use them. One of the unique things about this game is that there are a number of different dragons that you can junction to your characters, and each one has unique stat boosts and other perks. The real fun is in shapeshifting into those dragons in mid-battle, a mechanic that sees you steamrolling early enemies and bosses, but will grow into an integral tactical asset later in the game.