Commuting Cognition: Drag’n’Boom

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

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Drag’n’Boom

Drag’n’Boom is a super cool action game with very little challenge.

You control your dragon catapult-style, by holding down on the screen to aim and releasing to propel it in that direction. Holding on the left side of the screen aims the dragon, while holding on the right side aims its fireball. Time slows down whenever you hold the screen, allowing you to make super cool multi-jump maneuvers while blasting down fire onto terrified knights.

Your only real goal is to reach the end of the level but you’re also encouraged to torch every knight and creature on your path to get an extra star at the end. Neither option is challenging in the least, to the point where it took me a few levels to understand whether there was a losing condition at all. Most of the time the knights just run around in terror and don’t really threaten you in any way; it’s unclear to me what makes them decide to attack you. If somehow you take damage, though, it’ll only chip off one of your five hearts, so you’ll never get close to dying. The difficulty curve is also barely a curve and more like a staircase with *really* long and short steps: it took something like 5 levels for a new enemy to be introduced, and they manage to be almost as non-threatening as the first.

Somewhat uniquely, the coins you collect function as experience points and nothing else, as there’s nothing to purchase as far as i can tell. Experience levels you up, and at certain level thresholds you unlock a new projectile that you can choose to equip. I only unlocked the second projectile but it was pretty different, a more slender fireball that is harder to hit with but bounces around, suggesting that each new unlock does affect gameplay somewhat significantly.

I have to imagine further levels do introduce some sort of challenge, but with the little time i had to play the game all i can praise is its great potential. Also, can we talk about how clever the name is?

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