One of the most beautiful idle games you can get for Android or IOS, Adventure Quest Dragons has you starting off with a single dragon egg, and by the end of it, having your own Dragon Army.
The variety and quality of designs on display are amazing, and somehow manages to both break the traditional fantasy trappings, and also stick to traditional ground you are already familiar with. You have your standard Fire dragon, Ice dragon and such, but you also see many more you may not have even thought of. Such as Tyrath the Smoke dragon, Rivensylth the Fairy dragon, Terrorbyte the Clockwork dragon (my personal favorite) and Krumblor the……Cookie dragon…
Those are just some of the dragons available that I chose to show how varied and unexpected the designs get in this train your dragon game. Not to mention that every dragon is just dripping with personality (sometimes literally) and crafted with such love and attention to detail. And the puns, oh lord in a jar, how Artix Entertainment love their puns.
From a cute little egg to the ultimate destructive force
Adventure quest dragons is free to play and can be downloaded from the play store or ios. To begin with you are given Drakenor the Green dragon. Being an idle (clicker) game you merrily tap away at your cute little egg earning gems of their favorite variety. Once you earn a certain amount you can buy an upgrade that automatically earns you a small amount of gems per second. You can keep tapping to earn more gems to buy more upgrades to earn more gems to buy more upgrades. This is where the cookie clicker-esk mechanics come into it.
At any point, you can exit the app or just lock your phone and your dragons will keep earning gems while you are away. My second biggest gripe with the game (the first to come later) is that they will only continue to generate gems for six hours after you’ve closed the app. I’m guessing this is to balance out the end goal and to make the game more engaging, but it almost misses the entire point of an idle game. They’re meant to keep earning while you’re away so when you have a spare few minutes to jump into the game, you can spend your earned gems on upgrades to increase your income.
Limiting the generation time severely dampens the fun as it almost feels like a chore you have to remember to make the most efficient use of your time. It’s just another thing you have to remember when idle games are supposed to be forgotten so you can have an excited little moment of satisfaction when you DO remember to go back into it to see a giant pile of income you can spend on whatever you please.
But you heard me say this is probably in service to the end goal, and this is a very nice feature that helps to offset the six hour generation limit. Every dragon has their own unique story. This is reflected in every upgrade you can purchase for them, every upgrade to your upgrades, every unlock, milestone and piece of flavor text. You’ll come to find, for instance, that Drakenor is a total Princess addict (and lets be honest, who can blame him) but the character to these dragons runs so much deeper than that.
Character is key, dragon key(s)
Every single dragon has their own personalized list of upgrades, with literally hundreds of puns hidden throughout the game referencing everything from movies, to anime, to comics, to pretty much anything within the Geek culture. This game is made by a bunch of Nerds, and it is glorious.
And further to that, the very last upgrade for the dragons is unlocking a piece of their actual story. And piece by piece, you read through them and try to contain your grin. Each story upgrade is exponentially more expensive than the previous one and takes quite some work to unlock. It’s a nice little reward and gives the game some long term playability, which is a nice touch considering most idle games like this never really have an end goal.
The payment model is such that you are given one free dragon (Drakenor) and are able to purchase dragon keys to unlock more dragons or (permanent) premium upgrades. These can either be purchased directly, or you have a chance to earn one key per day via watching short ads through the app. This isn’t to intrusive as most of the dragons only cost 20 keys, and you can actually unlock a limited number of the keys in game with the regular gems you generate. The system is quite fair and you get a decent number of keys per dollar.
I also have to mention just how astounding the art and designs in this game are. Every dragon, from egg, to baby, to adult is beautifully drawn, with a slight amount of animation and effects to help them ‘breath’. Particularly my personal favorite, Terrorbytes‘ egg. A bundle of egg shaped parchment with clockwork blueprints scrawled across the pages lending it an absolutely beautiful aesthetic. You’ll be able to find one of the dragons that appeals to your specific Brainiac taste here somewhere.
But now we must come around to the, as promised, biggest problem with the game.
Bugs beat Dragons
This game is Buggy, Buggy with a capital ‘B’ because by my bio-fluid this game has some annoying issues. There is an in game achievement system as well as stat tracker that does things like record your total and session play time, let you go back and look over your unlocks and all the associated pun rewards (pun…wards?) and brings new upgrades up when you have matched certain criteria.
And oh how infuriating it is that this doesn’t work in the least. The total tracking time gets stuck from your first session, many of the achievements go missing and even worse, many of the upgrades you make the criteria for will simply not display, making it a serious road block to progress.
Still, worth carrying in your pocket
Despite the bugs, the art style is beautiful, the gameplay is addictive, the monetization is fair and there’s a lot of game to be had. It scratches that creative base building itch us Brainiacs know all to well and it does provide some sublime moments of satisfaction watching your dragons grow and your gems build up. Plus the humor is fantastic is that deliciously punny way that makes you groan, shake your head, and smile at the same time.
Now all that’s left for them to do is add a fusion mechanic so we can usher in the age of the Armoured Clockwork Lava Fairy dragons and their hoards of boss monster princesses.