Petagon: Rise of the Dragonlord is aimed at a particular audience. The developer understands that non-fantasy fans won’t be delving into this magical realm, lest one or two have recently watched Netflix’s Stranger Things and have subsequently been inspired to dip their toes in some Dungeons & Dragon-esque material.
With this in mind, Petagon plays up to all of the fantasy tropes one can imagine: hunching orcs, bow and arrow wielding elves, fire-breathing dragons, and a handsome hero and heroine. It does not venture into new territory; in fact it shamelessly, and quite happily, places both feet firmly in the safe zone, doing nothing new or noteworthy, but it does not have to.
Petagon: Rise of the Dragonlord is a point and click strategy game with heavy emphasis on RPG elements. Gameplay is rather simple. You can deploy heroes or troops onto the battlefield with a screen tap. Once positioned, your army will scatter about on their own accord, assaulting any nearby enemies or buildings. As the player you can make your presence felt by either clicking on a foe to command an attack, or hit a tab on the side of the screen to perform a special move or magical barrage. Taping the screen again mid fight adds further numbers to your army, if there are reserves available. This is the crux of the battles.
From the game’s global map you can choose a mission to undertake, or upgrade a hero or garrison with the gold scavenged from combat. Additional weapons may be added to a hero’s arsenal, along with the addition of pets, which are powerful aids in a conflict. Your foot soldiers are also improvable. Leveling up lancers, archers, and frost giants make a big difference in certain sticky situations. If you find yourself face to face with a flying adversary, you won’t want to be caught without a projectile unit.
Despite the game’s relatively lax play style, Petagon can become extremely addictive. Upon completion of a mission you will feel a mild form of gratification, which, in turn, will prompt you to play another round, and then another. When this happens the game’s problems begin to become apparent. Like the majority of free games on the app store, it suffers from the tried and tested free to play formula. In order to bring you this fantastical action, developer Orion Arts has employed an in-game commercial system. You will be offered a free gift, but wait, watch this video and that gift will be doubled. Would you like an ice giant on your team? Then watch this video. Half of your playtime will be spent watching ads for other games, seriously depleting the fun factor.
The narrative is also a constant interruption. I wanted to delve head first into this world and become consumed by the zany characters therein. However, after each short mission a dialogue box pops up, and keeps popping up, ruining the rhythm. After a few minutes I found myself furiously tapping the screen to be rid of the constant prattling. I desired to venture on more missions, yet the thought of dealing with more senseless dialogue forced me to take a respite. In the same vein as the ads and the story, you will also be hounded to post your achievements on Facebook. After performing a fairly menial feat the game would beg me to post it to my social media account. It pleads for advertisement in an utterly barefaced fashion.
Petagon: Rise of the Dragonlord is by no means a bad game; it can be a tremendous amount of fun. Nevertheless, the countless intervals you are forced to take prevents the fun from lasting very long.