If you recall my Timing Hero review (and trust me, you don’t), you may feel yourself experiencing flashbacks; Why, Jesse Freeman’s Dragon Sweeper is merely Timing Hero all over again! Perhaps not as good, but they’re both a GameBoy-styled, timing-based Android RPG with fast gameplay. One could even say that in both of them, “Quick reflexes is the skill most needed to achieve victory, especially when you have to juggle between using your abilities between attacks.” See? I just pulled that text verbatim from said former critique, no editing involved! Shameless plugs aside, the long and short of it is that Dragon Sweeper is just a less-enjoyable iteration of what is becoming a somewhat tired formula.
This is probably the only Android game I’ve played that I could describe as “kinda buggy.” Sprites switch out at random, which made my wizard look strikingly like a burly Knight one screen adjacent; the game crashes quite frequently and there’s an odd buzzing that overpowers other sounds at points. I always heard “the beehive” -as I grew to call it- during the same parts of certain songs, so it may just be a severely misjudged composer’s choice. But bah, why let a few little quirks ruin an otherwise good game? Why, my favorite game is Thief 2, and in that one you can barely climb a ladder without having to re-install Windows.
No, the real issue with Dragon Sweeper is that it’s just boring. The story is thoughtless, by-the-numbers, and displayed with all the fervor of microwavable dinner heating instructions. Timing your attacks is too easy: a simple matter of watching a slider bounce back and forth between two sides of a meter and waiting to tap at the right notch, similar to, say, a golfing game. This mechanic would be a mere mini-game in most titles, but is the star of the show here, and ends up making the game feel repetitive. Prompts are slow to vanish, loading bars keep you from scrolling quickly through levels, and the score-based end goal lacks a feeling of strong progression or incentive. It was a game I felt like I had to play, not wanted to. That’s never good.
I appreciate the creator’s attempt in this title to implement roguelike elements, but they fall just as flat in practice. Islands are randomly generated, but always feel like they contain the same monsters. Even if they didn’t, each battle feels the same, so it’s so much dross whether or not you get to see a different, admittedly cute pixel art drawing while battling.
But really, I’m not saying don’t buy the game. It’s just a dollar, and it’s not like the developer is completely incompetent. It’s functionally similar to Timing Hero, with just a few more hiccups to hamper the experience. I will also say that I quite enjoyed the implementation of limited sight (like in old CRPGs where the player can only see as much as the character has explored), because as a means to padding out a game, it felt less artificial than similar methods. Jesse (the dev) will improve with time and money, and it’s clear that he at least tried with this title, so if you can’t afford giving one dollar to play a halfway decent, casual RPG, built by a young developer who’s clearly trying their darned best, why don’t you just sell that Galaxy 6s and buy a heart.
A boring but functional light RPG.