Dragon Fire: Una’s Quest Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Dragon Fire: Una’s Quest
Release: October 5, 2010
Genre: Top-down Arcade Shooter
Developer: Debug Design Ltd
Available Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Requires iOS 3.0 or later)
Players: 1
MSRP: $0.99
ESRB Rating: Rated 9+ (Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence)

Dragon Fire: Una’s Quest is a top-down, retro-inspired arcade shooter that spans seven lands and 14 levels. Play the role of Una, a young dragon whose mother was killed by the Evil Queen Hydra. Hydra is attempting to kill off the other dragons to collect their knowledge sparks and rule the land; you must stop Hydra’s plans to rule all of Krytok!

Una’s Quest is from the same mold as other top-down arcade shooters. Una launches fireballs at regular intervals, so all you have to do is maneuver her around the level to destroy baddies and avoid enemy projectiles. The D-Pad interface has a light learning curve, but works well to control Una. One thumb will move Una left and right while the other controls forward and backward movement. This design is helpful and works significantly better than the Joystick option.

The ability of Una to grow multiple heads is cool. Once in a while, a numbered coin will drop from a dispatched enemy; you will grow the number of heads shown on the coin. I have upgraded to as many as six heads, each shooting their own fireball. Unfortunately, the game does not register damage from multiple fireballs simultaneously hitting the same enemy. This leads to the powerup being more aesthetic than practical, but notable nonetheless.

Sometimes when you start a new game, Una instantly dies and you are left confused at the Game Over screen. The only way to fix this is to select “Retry” on the Game Over screen; going back to the main menu and restarting a new game will only result in another instant death. This is incredibly annoying and unforgivable, especially when you expect consumers to pay for this product.

In addition, this game has all kinds of pause menu glitches. Enemy projectiles move in slow motion towards you. Some enemies still move around the screen, leaving a trail of projectiles. Una sometimes grows a second head while the game is paused, only to have it disappear when you resume play. Occasionally, the stage progresses even while you are paused; if you stay paused for several minutes (the length of a stage), you will unpause in front of the boss and die instantly. This happened to me on stage 5-2 and the ice dragon pwned me. There are several other bugs involving power-ups and minigames, but you get the point.

As you can tell, I am not impressed with this game and therefore cannot recommend it as a purchase. I believe developers should hold themselves to the highest level of quality control and ironically, Debug Design fails to do this.

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