Dragon’s Wake is a 2D story-driven platformer in pixel graphics. It is a beautiful and rather fast-paced narrative by Australian developer Stephen Ashby that utilises smart level design and textless, art-based storytelling beautifully.
Since there aren’t a lot of negative things to say about this game I am just going to go ahead and get it over with: Maybe this is a glitch on my machine or a bug that will be fixed in an update, but I can’t save my game. I had to play through it in one session and my coffee got cold, which is just inexcusable.
The game is a real gem on Steam, it is a great time, combining both flawless gameplay and a heartwarming story. You start out as a little dragon who can’t spit fire yet, can’t fly very far and whose only weapon is his bite. Soon you will discover that a dark dragonslayer knight has killed your family and a village of lizardlike goblins that are very eager to help you revenge your kind in return for the protection of their village.
The game mechanics are pure and while not being revolutionary as a whole, they are something new. The flying follows it’s very own rules. While more being like falling in style rather than flying – you know, like Captain Buzz Lightyear – you only take small leaps upwards to glide afterwards. This mechanic sets up both sections that will test your skill and sections that will hide the right angle to take the next hurdle and will have you puzzled on how to pass it.
The artwork in the game is not particularly stunning, but bundled with the whole piece of art that is this game, it is very meaningful and expresses the parts of story and the emotions that come with the different scenes very well. It absolutely gets the job done, but it by no means steals the show.
The game doesn’t let you wait, you – the dragon – are growing faster than Netflix did in 2010. A couple of levels into the game you have already doubled in size and are spraying fire like Michael Bay’s CGI-team. As fast as you are growing in size and power though, as fast the difficulty is going from grandma-friendly to blocking JJ Watt. (It’s the Superbowl week, so I felt I needed to put this in here.) While at the start you can heal yourself right back up with a simple bit your foes flash, soon come along fleshless skeleton warriors that can’t provide the same kind of protein boost, having you struggle for hitpoints quite a bit from time to time.
To sum it all up, I am going to take a little detour. I recently checked out one of my mates new flat and while I was doing that I checked out the Amazon Prime Video app he had installed on his TV. It was the first time I have seen Amazon Prime other than in an advertisment context and I was completely bummed out that the movie library in fact isn’t open but you still have to buy or rent individual movies even though you have the full subscription. What a drag. I mean, they are not even cheap either. It was really disappointing. Anyways, back on track, you could buy Dragon’s Wake three times for the same price as most of the movies are to buy there, and even if you just rented the movie, Dragon’s Wake would still be cheaper. What you get with Dragon’s wake is a beautiful, compelling story, underlined with good music and expressive artwork. It works flawlessly and will fill out an extended evening of sitting back, relaxing and having coffee.
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